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Old 08-14-2007, 04:47 AM   #1
Ugly
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Arrow "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" pilot episode


Those maniacs, they went and made a pilot for a "Terminator" TV show. And, horrors, its going to be broadcast on FOX, the network that killed Firefly and slowly bled Futurama to death. However "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (or TERMINATOR: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as its called in the title graphic of the series pilot).

First thing's first: to buy into this show, you have to believe the Terminator universe is strong enough to hold together without Arnold as the star. If you don't think that's possible, then bail. No Arnold. Lotta Terminators, but no Arnold. Also, all the actors have been recast, too.

The pilot is an interesting yet somewhat schizophrenic of unoriginal hackwork, and some neat moments that work with the established Terminator rules, and even a huge, strange twist to that takes the Terminator storyline on its head. At its worst, it seems like a lower-budget remake of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (the slower, non-action-y parts of the film in the middle). At its best, it manages to make this universe and characters of the Terminator storyline live again. The pilot ain't great, but it could be a neat series if they can get into the mythology of the series.

Also, on the plus side, once the kinks are worked out we could get fairly cool show out of it. I mean, think about it, its The Fugitive .... with Terminators! Now that could work.

Summary and Major spoiler-eros follows. Major:

The pilot episode opens in one of the lamest ways - a horrifying action sequence that turns out to be a bad dream. This time its Sarah Connor imagining that her saviour-of-humanity-to-be John is gunned down by a Terminator (its not Arnold, but he looks like some unholy melding of Arnold and Robert Patrick. No foolin'.) And then, in Sarah’s dream, a nuke goes off and melts of the Terminator's skin off to the exo-skeleton. Cool shot, but I always hate being cheaped out on action-scenes but really dream-sequence bits (it worked in Aliens, though. That's it.) And so Sarah wakes up, startled, naturally, and sitting up straight as people do in TV and movies.

Anyway, the alive non-blowed up Sarah Connor (Lina Headly - the stay-at-home wife from 300) immediately grabs John and tells him they have to go on the run, as usual. Its September 1999, apparently 2 years after the events of Terminator 2 (even though that movie took place in 1993. Argh! Timeline shit NEVER matches in the Terminator series. And, trust me, it only gets worse). and they take off to another dusty desert school in the middle of nowhere.

There's a bit where Sarah's spurned and abandoned fiancée ends up talking to an FBI Agent who has been tracking Sarah Connor ever since her and her son blew up Cyberdyne 2 years ago. The pilot continually cuts back to the FBI agent, but none of his stuff really grabbed me. Suffice it to say, they're building up this character to be a major player in the series (I think).

At the new school, a classmate of John Connor (now calling himself John Reese) immediately makes with the small talk and seemingly flirts with him. This classmate is named Cameron (hah. Cute) and she's played River from Firefly/Serenity. More on her later.

More stuff happens, Sarah bitches out John as usual for being close to a computer (she has a habit of doing that if you've seen T2) and John heads back to school. The best scene of the whole pilot happens at the halfway point. River (I mean, Cameron) is sitting in class with John and a "subsitute teacher" storms into class and slams his briefcase down on the desk and proceeds to take attendance.

You have to appreciate the very Terminator-ish efficiency of the teacher's approach to finding John. Kill the teacher, take his place, read off attendance in class and when poor John says "Present" then BOOM!, slash open your leg, pull a gun that is stashed inside of your exo-skeleton and blow the little fucker away. Score one for Skynet.

Unfortunately, that doesn't quite work out as the Teacher-Terminator planned. River jumps up infront of Teacher-Terminator and takes about 5 bullets for John, and John books it out the window, with Teacher Terminator (his leg now ripped open revealing the exo-skeleton where he was stashing his handgun) running after him.

Naturally, since this is the best scene of the freakin pilot, about a few weeks ago at the TV Critics meeting they said they were going to edit and reshoot out the scene in the classroom because of Virgina Tech. So one of the biggest and best bits in the first show is probably going to go by the wayside. Dammnit. I recommend DLing the pilot episode just so you can watch this scene.

Anyway, John is running outside the school while Teacher-Terminator is knocking over busses to get to him. (nice touch) and Teacher-Terminator eventually gets John in his Robo-sights and then BLAM, Teacher-Terminator is run over by a truck.

The truck door opens up and its River, or more accurately, River-nator, and she drops the "Come with me if you want to live" line on him. Are these robots programmed with that line into their heads or what? So John goes with her.

More things happen - the FBI guy shows up and frowns, River-Nator and John go to grab Sarah, and there's alot of the sound-alike identity impersonation that you get alot in Terminator. At one point, Sarah is willing to blow her own brains out to protect her son, so that show she plays for keeps. Anyhoo, it ends up with River-Nator and Teacher-Terminator having a smash-through-the-walls throwdown in the middle of a house. We've seen it before, but but the rock-em-sock-em-robots scene a staple of the Terminator series and its always means decent mayhem. Decent, not epic. There's no T-1000 stabbing Arnold through the back as he crawls away, or Arnold smashing the TX through a bathroom stall, but this one is neat.

There's a scene in a parking garage (remember that from T2?) where River-nator is digging bullets out of her body (remember something like that from T2 as well?) Annoyingly, Sarah takes all this terminator-ness very much in stride and seems to buddy-up with River-nator fairly quickly. (but she does tell it to "Go to hell"). There's also a scene of John crying, once again, how he can't be some future-tastic leader cause he's only a 16 year old kid. (damn he does that alot) Somehow they end up at the house of Miles Dyson (the creator of Skynet from T2 who blew himself up) and speak to his widow. This scene really felt like they were aping Terminator 2 here, badly. I half expected River-nator to rip off her arm-skin and say "Listen to me very carefully" (instead she flashes machine-blue eyes at Dyson's widow. Lame.) But it ends with another appearance by Teacher-Terminator, and there's a funny quick shot of him giving a very Terminator-ish head-tilt before he's run over by a truck (Again) and then blown up. This guy takes alot of abuse, always fun.

The bit near the end gets really strange, and I can half understand why they did it. Basically, River-nator leads them to a bank, proceeds to "rob" the place (She says "Please," though, very polite for a Terminator), takes Sarah and John to the vault, opens up the safety deposit boxes, builds a freakin time machine in about 30 seconds flat, and transports them from 1999 to the year 2007.

No, really. 1999 to 2007. 30 seconds. Maybe less.

Oh, and right before all this happens the Teacher-Nator is ripping down the door to the vault but Sarah literally blows its head off with a nuclear-reactor type gun. At least the show is trying to entertain us.

Then we get one of the most interesting time-sphere appearances in the Terminator series so far. In all the movies, the blue time-sphere has opened up in isolated spots. Not so in the Sarah Connor show. Here it opens up right in the middle of a freakin' L.A. freeway in the middle of the night and causes cars to go flying out of the way. Crazy shit, actually.

So, as the show ends, Sarah and John and River-Nator (sorry, Cameron the good female Terminator) are holed up in 2007 and ready to stockpile weapons to take out Skynet, once and for all. For good this time. No foolin'. And, in Sarah’s last words of the episode, “They’ll keep coming for him, trying to kill him, and until that day, its going to be a goddamned dogfight.” (you can say “Goddamned” on network TV now? Cool!)

Reading an interview on IGN with the series creator (Josh Freidman, writer of War of the Worlds), transporting John and Sarah to the year 2007 makes the show "Terminator 3" and T3 that came out a few years ago never happens. Freidman called T3 as an "alternate timeline" to T2. Basically, this show reset-buttons the everlovin' fuck out of Terminator 3: Rise Of the Machines. (if John isn't around to run into Kathrine Brewster and The Arnold-model in T3, that movie doesn't happen. Of course, then Skynet should show up anyway but .... argh, the timeline glitches in the Terminator-verse are headache inducing). So, yeah, Terminator 3? Fuggetaboutit!! This Sarah Connor show is the real sequel to T2.

The time-jump does kind of work, I mean, if the show was set in the late-90s then you'd know the plot - John and Sarah stay on the lamb, Sarah eventually dies of leukemia and John keeps running until Terminator 3 happens. Pretty anti-climatic way for a show to play out. Also, one wonders if they time-jumped the characters from '99 to '07 just so they could use iPods and shit like that. (think about it, they basically missed the rise and fall of Britney Spears, how will they adjust?!)

While the pilot ep may not be so hot (and, lets face it, which pilot episodes really are truly awesome? Aside from LOST, that is.) there is mucho potential in this show. First off, there's tons of shots of people walking really fast carrying alot of big guns and firepower - a Terminator staple (Gotta love the classics) and moments that recall the series. If they had Odo doing shapeshifting on Deep Space Nine in the mid-to-late-90s, they can easily throw a T-1000-ish shapeshifter Terminator into the mix. (even though the writers said they want to avoid Terminator-Of-The-Week episodes and storylines, I wanna see Little Old Lady Terminators and crazy shit like that) Why is River-nator so damn personable when she first meets John? So has River-nator been kicking around since the 60s or has she been time-jumping all over the place? (she does have the ablity to make time-machines and all)

The actors are all fine to interesting. Lena Headley really has to hold the show together but she does it well. She says she's never seen a Terminator movie, but I'll be damned if she isn't doing Linda Hamilton, right down the super-intense stare. Summer Glau is, well, if you've ever seen Firefly/Serenity then there was either Crazy-Crying-Jag-River or Deadly-Stone-Cold-Killer-River. She's the latter in this one. But the girl has ranges o hopefully she'll get a chance to show it. She's somewhat different before the Terminator-reveal, but as soon as she's revealed she's poker-faced (mostly) the whole time. . The John Connor kid (played by the Cheerleaders’ buddy on Heroes) is same old whiny John Connor, but that's the character. And Teacher-Terminator does a pretty decent job of playing the Arnold/Robert Patrick style-Terminator. (even though he does arch his eyebrows while talking to Sarah. Terminators don't emote! Well, usually.) And he even makes a funny saying "Class dismissed." after trying to shoot John in the middle of school. And he gets progressively more beaten up as the show progresses, very much like Arnold in T2.

Hopefully they cull the good ideas from the Terminator storyline and don't rehash it. They seriously have to not rely on casting hulking-steroid-dudes as Terminators. We've seen it, we've seen it better, so go different. Cameron's original storyline for the 1st movie was more in-line with the T-1000 - an everyday guy who is a killer robot. Do that.

As I said in opening, its The Fugitive ... with Terminators! Not bad if they give it a shot. Considering how they basically blew through alot of the plot structure of Terminator 2 in the pilot episode, there's nowhere to go but up. Not a great pilot, but interesting enough and it'll be neat to see the mythos expanded (however the complete reset-buttoning of T3 is a tad irksome). Friedman says he doesn't want it to be a chase show, and he doesn't want it to be Terminator-Of-the-Week show, so lets see what we get.

However, its on FOX so it'll be canned and it'll probably only appeal to a small number of Terminator geeks as the audience anyway. I predict it'll make a nice "Complete Series DVD boxset" in the future.

So either wait until Jan. to see it on FOX or go and use the internets to torrent it. Have fun!

Favourite line of the show:
(Sarah telling John to pack up his shit and leave for their new home.)
"Half an hour. One bag. Plus the guns. I'll make pancakes."
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:49 AM   #2
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are you looking for a proofreader?

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:51 AM   #3
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Let me speak for 90% of the free world...

Oh brother.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:55 AM   #4
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even allowing for a conversational tone (e.g. allowing the word "And" to begin a sentence, or allowing casual spellings, such as "Lotta"), my head hurts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly
Those maniacs, they went and made a pilot for a "Terminator" TV show. And, horrors, its going to be broadcast on FOX, the network that killed Firefly and slowly bled Futurama to death. However "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (or TERMINATOR: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as its called in the title graphic of the series pilot).
no mention of Arrested Development? Also, the last bunch of words is not a sentence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly
First thing's first: to buy into this show, you have to believe the Terminator universe is strong enough to hold together without Arnold as the star. If you don't think that's possible, then bail. No Arnold. Lotta Terminators, but no Arnold. Also, all the actors have been recast, too.
I don't believe "thing's" needs to be possessive. Starting a sentence with "also" and ending it with "too" is redundant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly
The pilot is an interesting yet somewhat schizophrenic of unoriginal hackwork, and some neat moments that work with the established Terminator rules, and even a huge, strange twist to that takes the Terminator storyline on its head.

first part of the sentence is missing a noun, second part of the sentence is missing a verb, i think... i gotta bail, this hurts my head

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wHATcOLOR
are you looking for a proofreader?
twiwgts.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:56 AM   #6
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maybe you can take over? i had to bail

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:10 AM   #7
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they don't pay me enough for this, man.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:12 AM   #8
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oh fine, Ill be the first to go geek.

Im glad that they at least got the one main thing about the entire Terminator Universe... It don't function without Sarah. Fuck John, it's always been Sarah's story and she is the one who should be leading the resistance.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:20 AM   #9
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the pilot is alright, but I'm waiting to see where the show will go. if you can't get over the recasting of the actors then you won't get into it. But River as a Terminator is pretty cool, and it hits all the right notes in the series, geek-wise.

The jump from 1999 to 2007 is pretty freakin random, though.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly
However "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (or TERMINATOR: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as its called in the title graphic of the series pilot).
good point

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:26 AM   #11
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oh, pish-posh, I've been boozing and watching TV since 5 PM and its 4 AM now.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:27 AM   #12
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it's

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:28 AM   #13
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your point being?

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:34 AM   #14
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do you want to be a journalist

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:37 AM   #15
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I like the fact that they're regarding T3 as a different timeline. The less said about that movie the better.

That said, this still doesn't sound like all that good of an idea. It seems like they're trying to play closer to Cameron's world than T3 did, but ripping off the first two movies piecemeal isn't the way to go about it. Then again, even if they branch out a little bit there's still gonna be problems. I don't see how the show can work without terminators being a major part of the action...but I also don't see how its going to tie in all that well with the mythos if new terminators are showing up every other episode and all the characters are jumping around through time. I don't see how you can maintain the balance.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:39 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ugly
your point being?
Jesus Christ, use the fucking language correctly.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke de Spa
do you want to be a journalist
the number of magazine articles, books and the like I've read lately with spelling and/or grammatical errors is ASTOUNDING.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:42 AM   #18
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i've stopped reading stuff.co.nz because the copyediting is seemingly nonexistent

well. and the content is increasingly garbage sensationalism

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:18 AM   #19
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T3 was cool. I wanna have sex with Claire Danes. the ending was cool and dark.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:19 AM   #20
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claire danes was really hot in starduest. the entire terminator classic is good but not great.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:26 AM   #21
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starting a sentence with "and" technically isn't sound but i do it all the time. (so do a lot of proffessional writers, i believe) it seems to have a greater effect at times, y'know. i wouldnt do it in a school essay or anything but. yeah.

anyway. i'm relaly disappointed to hear the direction they're taking that series. i thought it'd be about the personal struggles about sarah and john on the road. not fucking more terminators coming in and convoluting the cannon. but i guess you could never get a tv exec to pass a terminator without robots and shit.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:27 AM   #22
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WHERE IS SARAH CONNOR

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Connor
anyway. i'm relaly disappointed to hear the direction they're taking that series. i thought it'd be about the personal struggles about sarah and john on the road. not fucking more terminators coming in and convoluting the cannon. but i guess you could never get a tv exec to pass a terminator without robots and shit.
that would be terribly boring.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:58 PM   #24
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could be.

but i'd think being the mom of a "chosen one" and on the run from feds and having to crisscross aroudn the country would be a good basis for a show

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:22 PM   #25
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well, that's been done - The Fugitive.

Basically, the show would be: dysfuncitonal, paranoid mother and son run around the country, looking for a safe haven while rambling off mythological, end-times prophecies, constantly looking over their shoulders for killer robot machines AND . . .




















Nothing happens.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:22 PM   #26
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But I get what you're saying. It just would never fly.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:44 PM   #27
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I only watched it because Summer Glau was in it.

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:52 PM   #28
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Sounds more like an Incredible Hulk set-up than Fugitive

Sarah, John, and Good Terminator roam from place to place

Start to settle in somewhere, make some friends

Bad Terminator shows up, minor property damage/bad stuntwork ensues

Cue sad music over montage of our heroes setting out on the road again

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:59 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly
schizophrenic of unoriginal hackwork
gold.











also, i stopped reading here

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:40 PM   #30
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before my inner eye i saw a terminator kill that german singer sarah connor, who is possibly one of the worst things to ever come out of germany, in a slow and very painful way. i think i'd watch that more than once...

 
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