Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I somehow forgot to review the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, so I'll do both Seasons of The Sarah Connor Chronicles at once.

The premise behind the series should be familiar to everyone. Robots are sent back through time to kill John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance after SkyNet takes over the world. In the first two movies (I haven't seen any of the rest), robots known as Terminators are sent back to kill first Sarah Connor (so that John Connor wouldn't have been born), and then both Sarah and John.

Once you throw in time travel into the mix, plots become highly improbable and unless the writers are very very good, keeping consistency even within the TV series becomes very difficult. The first season focuses very much on Sarah Connor, played by Lena Heady, who manages to convey determination, but also looks too often as though she wishes she could be a soccer mom instead. Nearly every episode begins with a voice-over and some narration by Sarah, and we get a summation at the end as well. The problem was that the first season was almost all about flight and survival, with an occasional robot of the week or "possible-skynet" of the week. Nevertheless, the plots were believable and the characters were interesting, though John Connor just comes across too often as just another sullen teenager who doesn't do much of anything.

The second season complicated the plot somewhat, introducing more characters (yet another relatives of John, for instance), but felt very disjoint: episodes were frequently disconnected, and it seems as though the characters were often sent on wild chases that led nowhere, which is very frustrating. We are also led to believe that the main villain of the arc would be someone who would be dealt with, but the plot throws us for a loop that's not very believable, given the character's prior behavior. Towards the end of the season it looked like the writers finally found some courage (whether that was driven by the series cancellation), and started killing off major characters to lend a sense of devastation. The ending did seem very pat, however, so I'm not sure I was satisfied by the series.

Not recommended.
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