Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Show That Could Be

By Irma Arkus

I guess even Fox, one of the laziest, most erratic, irrational networks, run by what from outside can only be perceived as a bunch of mindless Murdock’s whipping boys-cum-accountants, every once in a while does something smart. Not intentionally, but merely by accident. Due to their frugal operations they had ordered x-amount of episodes for shows meant to fill in all the absentee schedule slots during second half of season – you know, the ones that appear after the shows we really love but cannot compete with “flavour of the month reality show” get cancelled. Soooooo…Their tight-fisted knee-jerk reaction means that suddenly they have stuff to air, despite the writers strike. Say hello to Sarah Connor Chronicles.

First peak at the ads for the show make it look like a River Tam Naked Android Adventures (Oh, Young Indiana Jones, eat your little whiny heart out for you can never be that sexy). Topless River Tam, little fighting machine / sliver of a ballerina, all “naked,” showing off her android skeleton. But hold on, cause we can give you the rest – the pilot!

What about the pilot for the show?

One has to keep in mind that pilot may or may not serve as a first episode of a show. Sometimes it can, but more than often it is a rough cut of a show, meant to give the critics and “executives” glimpse into the concept, showcasing their ideas / characters / storyline.
That being said, the pilot for Sara Connor Chronicles was a genuine letdown.

What was meant to be a premise of “real babe kicks ass and she’s paranoid of the androids” turns into – hey, it’s the chick from 300, and she looks tired, and she sounds kind of whiny and crazy, and that gun seems to be too heavy for her delicate little arms. Casting of Lena Headey seems to be disappointing all around. I expected the new Sarah Connor to be someone worthy of Linda Hamilton. I wanted a new Xena. I wanted someone with authority, a great sense of self, maybe even throw in some curves. Sarah Connor is supposed to be buff, tough, perceptive, smart survivalist, whose priority is to teach her kid everything about how to stay alive, and how to kill. Amongst regular people, she is a fierce predator and one pissed-off mommy. Instead, what we received is a little delicate Lena who looks like an exhausted drowning victim.

To top it off, there is the ridiculous premise of “schooling John Connor” in, of all places, the average American public school?! Not that I oppose public education in any way, but isn’t the whole point of John’s education to excel as much as he can under Sarah’s tutelage so he actually be prepared for the future? I guess not. After all, this show is probably meant to give us “Terminator in Smallville.” Oh no, what with Summer Glau, The Cutest Terminator Ever, little Connor will be all about broody teenage pains, sighing: “oh, let’s eat candy, and defeat the evil Teddy Bears.” Oh, wait, I’m confusing this with Kawaii Jenny. Still, the two shows don’t seem to be *that* far off.

OK. It’s cool that Summer Glau is back in a kicking-ass role. I personally like her fragile, waif-like physique turned into a deadly weapon. I loved it in Firefly, and I am surely going to enjoy it here. But the premise of another high-school adventure does not appeal to me.

Then there are the evil Terminators. Worst Terminators invented. There is a certain clumsiness, evil glares, Machiavellian plotting behind their eyes. These are not your regular faceless, focused, dreadful machines, whose job is extermination of one human boy. These are supposed to be assassins, not assinine teacher-impersonators.

What happens in the pilot?

Sarah Connor disappears from one mediocre life, one in which she is happy and engaged, only to end up in another small town, getting John enrolled in another mediocre school, where we meet Cameron (Summer Glau). John gets attacked in the open – I mean, a first generation Terminator (as in, a Swarzenegger model) just shows up out of the bloom, walks into a classroom pretending to be a substitute teacher and starts shooting everybody (did you hear that! “pretending”! When did the original Terminator “pretend” to be anything?), but Cameron saves him. Sarah, Cameron and John end up running away from Terminator, and eventually time-travel to 2007, where they are sighted as the “naked people in the middle of the street,” with footage of their naked bits plastered all over the evening news.

So, let’s summarize. The Terminators = lame. Sarah Connor = lame. John = lame. Summer Glau = coolest thing on this show. Plot = Kawaii Jenny.
Overall, you get really lucky Fox executives that have a show on their hands. But be afraid, very afraid, that if this show actually turns into something worthwhile, it just may be canceled and replaced by The Hills.

For previews of posters, click HERE