Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Having watched the first two episodes of Terminator: TSCC on Virgin One in the past couple of weeks, I have to say, I’m quite impressed. I always loved the first Terminator film. Unlike most people, it seems, I pretty much thought T2 was execrable (apart from Robert Patrick as the T-1000; he was superb). What, with the pathetic “Asta la vista” catchphrase, the bathetic “Now I know why humans cry” line and the “the future isn’t set” line from T1 spewed out over and over again, it seemed to me nothing more than great effects hacked into a brainless and pointless sequel.

And I am this much of a geek: T2 came out while I was at uni, and I had a whole epistolary debate going with my best friend (yes, a time before e-mail) about whether the timeline really worked. I drew diagrams and everything. The thrust being this: IT DOESN"T WORK. If they destroyed Skynet so that the terminators are never created, then they can’t come back and try to kill Sarah Connor, which means that she will never destroy Skynet, which means that they will exist and… Etc. The old, “What if you came back and killed your own grandfather” paradox. Except that T2 wasn’t smart enough to even consider the paradoxes it created (whereas the recent low budget but superb Primer revelled in such paradoxes). Admittedly, you could get around all of this with the staple SF “alternate timelines/universes/multiverse” fallback. But what ruined T2 was the fact that T1 didn’t have to rely on such nonsense. The whole point of T1 was that time looped; the guy sent back had an effect on the future but instead of changing it, partly caused it. I guess what really bugged me about T2, though, was that T1 was a pessimistic film, whereas T2 was post-Cold War, optimistic, “Hey, maybe we’re not all going to die in a nuclear (nucular) war after all” bilge and a product of its time.

Anyway… The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’d read mixed reviews and didn’t have high hopes. And I have no idea how they are going to develop it into a proper story arc that you would actually care about (you kind of know the outcome). And of course, the timeline is completely screwed now. But… I kinda like it. It feels a little like T1, somehow, with the old-style Terminators, lots of fisticuffs and low-budget special effects. Cromartie’s arm killing some worker and then the body coming to collect the metallic head, motorcycle helmet over grafted-victim’s head… It definitely felt like Arnie in T1. And it’s nice to see all the modern takes tying into T1, too - the “Network Camp” (the barcode on Kyle Reese’s arm in T1), the fact that terminators did look different in T1 (you see a different model of terminator in the future who burns Kyle’s photo of Sarah), and so on. (Although if Sarah is 33 as it said on a computer terminal and John is 15, then she was 17 for the events of T1… Hmm.)

Of course, it helps that Summer Glau is the Terminatrix (loved Serenity).

What do others think?


Hi Keith,

Haven’t seen the Sarah Conner Chronicles, but probably will someday. I love that stuff.

But the whole timeline, kill-your-own-father-and-you-won’t-be-born-and- therefore-can’t-kill-him-paradox is a bit depressing. It sort of takes the fun out of the whole timetravel idea. “What if…?”
But somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to recollect flipping through a book about the theory and concept of time. I vaguely remember it being something about NOT being a line. What used to be, followed by now, and after that the future - that’s our general idea of time, right? If memory serves me, this guy had a theory of it being more of a point instead of a line. Then, now, future happening at the same time. It would explain why some people claim to see ghosts or dead people. They’re just “slipping” through as it’s all happening now.

Ok, sorry, went a bit of topic there. I promise I’ll watch Sarah and Terminator.


I haven’t seen T:SCC, though I’ve heard good things about it.

But Keith, I’m guessing (from the flecks of white foam slowly forming at the sides of your mouth) that you haven’t seen T3? Now, there aren’t many things to recommend it, to be sure. But it does have two Very Good Qualities:

[1] It ‘fixes’ the timeline. Which is to say, the timeline problems in T2 actually don’t exist, if you allow T3 as well. Because…

[2] It has one of the most down endings ever seen in a mega-budget hollywood movie.

I wouldn’t recommend you pay for it, but if it’s ever on telly or you have a free rental from Blockbuster, you should watch it - if only to rehabilitate T2 in your mind :slight_smile:

Actually, I have seen T3; I have the DVD trilogy pack (sad, yes). And I quite like T3. The Guardian and Times both did features on T:SCC and both were utterly derogatory about T3 as though it were a big mistake and everyone hates it and tries to pretend it never happened; but I actually think it is a big improvement on T2. If you could transplant Robert Patrick from T2 and put him in place of Kristina Loken in T3 (not that she was bad - actually she was pretty good, but Robert Patrick was excellent) then it have been brilliant. What I liked about T3 was that it felt more in keeping with the spirit of T1 - apart from the knowing in-jokes, but I can live with that. The ending, as you say, was really downbeat, just like T1. And it fixed the timeline… Sort of. I had read that T:SCC ignores T3 and pretends it doesn’t happen, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sarah, John and the Summer Glau terminator leap from the '80s to 2007, and it turns out that in the interim, Sarah died of cancer in 2006, which seems to tie in with T3 nicely - so T:SCC seems to happen between T2 and T3 but in an alternate timeline where another terminator came back inbetween…

I take this stuff waaay too seriously.


Keith : Terminator :: me : Blade Runner

So I’ll say no more. :wink:

T:SCC I have watched and actually find it quite enjoying. The whole Terminator series violates time paradox so as long as you don’t focus on that oversight it is actually an entertaining story. The draw back of the movies for me was that the first one was the best because it was “darker” and actually seemed more frightening. When T2 came out it lost the horror aspect and became more of an “action” movie.

T3 was a mix but I did think the Girl was more frightening than the cop (ANd everyone loves the inflatable boobs).

The T Series seems more fitting for an action TV show and the TV Series falls in line well with that format. Although I am curious as to what model the Girl is in the TV Show…

I’m also enjoying T:SCC (after loving T1 and T2 and being more and less bored by T3). I think that the two female characters are well developed and supported by two actresses who can act accordingly (although I prefer Lena Headey, the kick ass mom). John’s character and actor are not so good, but well…

Now what really is letting me down is the new character on the block (appearing on ep. 6 – I’ll say no more because of spoilers) and the mixture of timelines that I think are not that great. I’m actually curious to watch the next two eps (the last ones from this season: n. 8 and 9) to see where the plot goes. I just hope they don’t damage the story. (Note: Next? BSG again! Alas, only in April.)

As to the time paradox, I’ll leave you with a nice quote dedicated to Keith (since we all know how much he LOVES Star Trek):

“Ever since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain, I swore I’d never let myself get caught in one of these Godforsaken paradoxes. The past is the future, the future is the past, it all gives me a headache.” – Janeway

Damnit! Just saw the last episode (ep 9). I won’t say too much, given that it doesn’t air in the UK until Thursday (I’m in Cornwall for two weeks with no access to Virgin 1, so I downloaded the last two episodes before I so I wouldn’t miss them). Arrgggh!!! Bring it back! Bloody writer’s strike! (Note to screenwriters: fully support you and all that, but bloody hell.)

Honestly, it wasn’t as good a last episode as I would have liked - though the Cromartie bits were as great as usual (he reminds me of an evil Peter Kraus) and I absolutely love Cameron (but then I always loved Summer Glau as River in Serenity, too, and the character isn’t 100 miles away…). See what you mean about the time paradoxes. For a start, John is 16 but also 24 elsewhere - assuming he ever returns to the 80s. If he doesn’t, then he would be much younger in the future. Moreover, Kyle being 8 in 2011 when John would be 27 then means that John must have been much older than him, when I always got the impression they were of a similar age from T1…

But really, who cares? The whole series has kept really well to the spirit of T1, and the references to the films have felt well integrated rather than cheap reminders that it’s part of a franchise. I just hope we get another series soon.

Battlestar Galactica is back on this Tuesday, but I don’t have Sky One (bastards that Sky are they took Sky One away from Virgin in the hopes of making everyone move over to sky, which completely screws anyone who rents and who therefore can’t really go ordering a whopping great satellite dish for someone else’s house). In other words, I now have to put my hands over my ears for six to eight months until the DVDs come out. Ugh.

And - given that Catherine Dent was in T:TSCC - when on earth is The Shield back on?

I’ve only got a few episodes of Season 4 of The Wire left on DVD, too, and I don’t know when Season 5 is out… Damn those Americans make good TV.


Yeah…but thats only because we gaveem autonomy :wink:

Actually I think it is all the cheap drugs, booze, absurdly high salaries and the close proximity to Vegas.


…a bit like Stockport, actually :neutral_face:


I think you and I might have differing concepts of what it means “to give”. I will grant you that the British Empire that existed at the time could have held on to the colony had it set its mind to do so, but there was a whole lot of bleeding that occurred before that side of the pond decided that we weren’t worth fighting for.

We now return to our regularly scheduled tom foolery.

Uhhh… Cromartie killing everyone to “The Man Comes Around”. Brilliant.

Just an attempt to bring this back on-topic…


Don’t know if anyone is interested but here is the blog of Josh Friedman the creator/producer (sometimes screenwriter) and a darn entertaining blogger. I read it and I’ve never even seen the TV show.