At a time when many of our favorite programs are airing the last of their original programs in the wake of the writer’s strike, mid-season replacements are a welcoming reprieve to the start of reruns. Among the newcomers is Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.
I’ve seen the two terminator movies. While I liked them, they aren’t movies I watch over and over again. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’d seen either of them. As we sat down to watch Sarah Conner I began to wonder if I shouldn’t have broken out the DVDs of the movie and rewatched them so I’d be caught up for this series.
My fears were for nothing. The pilot, which picks up in 1999, fills in the details of the movie. For those who don’t remember, when another cyborg makes an attempt on her son’s life, Sarah broke out of the mental institute she was in and went in search of Miles Dyson, the inventor of the Skynet, the computer that controlled the machines that take over the world on Judgment Day, August 29, 1997. Although Skynet was destroyed, Sarah is accused of killing Miles.
The pilot starts out two years after judgment day. Computers haven’t taken over the world. Sarah and John are still laying low with aliases (using the last name Reese — like John’s father). But they are getting comfortable in their lives here. Sarah is engaged; John is fitting in at school. But this life is the calm before the storm.
A new cyborg has been sent after John. The war with the machines has not been prevented, just delayed. Skynet is built by someone else.
Sarah (Lena Headey), who has instilled the belief that ‘no one is ever safe’ into her son, must now grapple with the fact that she has not been able to stop the war from occurring. Does she continue to run – from the cyborgs, from the FBI – or does she stand and fight?
Thomas Dekker (Heroes‘ Zach) does an excellent job of portraying John as a 15-year-old with a lot on his mind. Not only is he dealing with the trials of youth, but he must bear the weight of being the world’s savior while living a life on the run. And did I mention that the cute girl at his new school that he thought liked him turned out to be another terminator, one sent to protect him?
It’s nice to see Firefly’s Summer Glau back in fighting action as Cameron, an updated cyborg and John’s protector. Not only can she kick butt, but she holds valuable information about the future. In fact, in the final scenes of the pilot she helps Sarah and John travel to September 2007 in an effort to once again destroy Skynet.
We’ll they succeed? Will the terminators find John now that he’s traveled eight years into the future? What about FBI agent James Ellison (Richard T. Jones), will he still be hunting Sarah? For that matter, is her fiancé Charlie (Rescue Me’s Dean Winters) still pining for Sarah?
I’m looking forward to finding out more. You can read a recap of this episode at Fox. The next episode airs tonight. Let’s just hope that Fox gives this show a fighting chance.