By Marco Chacon
Oct 02, 2009 06:10 PM EST

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season Two Blu-ray Review

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season Two Blu-ray Review
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TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES was not a perfect show…it could be overly maudlin, a bit inconsistent in terms of acting, and for some viewers, painfully slow. It was “also smart”, paid appropriate homage to the mythology it came from, and for the most part, really understood what it was trying to do in a way that distinguishes good science fiction from great science fiction.  The acting was top notch, with Thomas Dekker (John Connor) developing more presence in the second season.

There are very, very few science fiction shows that wouldn't benefit from a much bigger budget and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES was definitely one that could have been as big as the money behind it.  Certainly, they were not shy about taking on challenges with their looks into the future world and their liquid metal, T-1000, which had taken the 90's multi-million-dollar-budget movie to bring to life.

The second season follows Sarah and John along with friendly terminator, Cameron, through their 4-D war.  It introduces several new characters (including the friend/love-interest for John whom, despite paying a great deal of screen time to, was not for me). The show's ending was barely sufficient to satisfy me; it really did ask for a third season, and I wish it had gotten one because I would have liked to see what would have happened after the final scene.

It is also noteworthy that while due to the conceit of time travel, the show can kill off characters and still have them around; but while that makes a minuscule use of that, it feels more legitimate than possibly Star Trek, where time travel changes everything, and ultimately, nothing (until the latest movie where it is used for a reboot).

The interesting thing about TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is that it accomplishes what the Terminator movies 3 and (especially) 4 couldn't; it approximates the intelligence behind the show as well as keeps the action.  I'm well aware that the makers of T3 and T4 were fans – there is no doubt, and it would be presumptuous to say they "didn't understand" the franchise. I am sure they felt they understood it as well as anyone.  However, those shows lacked the feel of the vision James Cameron had, but I believe TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES actually gets it.  As the series moves into conspiracy territory, it loses some of the focus that the original had; but the idea that the characters are returning from different time lines feels creepy...and real.  We can see that the war is changing things in everyone's future, but they don't know how.  People coming back may have reasons not to tell the truth.

The paranoia around the three dots (a symbol that may be ultra meaningful or purely meaningless) felt right to me; when TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES broke from the action-after-action chase-scene sequences that made up the first two movies, and now the second two), it had to go somewhere.  Moving into the question of what fighting an adversary from the future might be like seems logical to me, and they handled it expertly.

The sound is excellent, and the video is ultra-crisp on Blu Ray.  The extras are good.  First, there is the discussion.  The director and crew talk about how they made some of the decisions, especially the ones at the end of the show; and that is exactly what you want from a director's commentary -- a window into the thinking behind the show.  I was especially interested in a point where Summer's character wanted to change her lines to imply she had a closeness with the future John Connor, but the director's wouldn't let her.

I wish they would have said why they didn't, but it was interesting to see how an actor could argue with a show's creator. However, I think it would've been better if Summer got her way. There is a fascinating story-board that is a battle between two terminators where one of the actresses is a “real” contortionist -- when Summer Glau bends her like a broken robot, it isn't a model – it is really her.

I think I was more disturbed by watching the making of it, than the show itself because I had assumed it was a special effect.

Over all, the package is first rate; and in my opinion, the Blu-ray editions are fitting for a show and deserved a better rating than it received.

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