At first I was pretty excited to watch the new Fox television series based on the Terminator films, which were originally conceived by James Cameron. Sadly, after the first few episodes, I wasn’t completely hooked and my enthusiasm waned a bit. I did, however, continue to watch the show through the entire first season. Then, the second season began and it seemed the show had finally found its voice and started to really come together.
The show continued for a second season and then, as we know, was canceled by Fox — which renewed the equally low rated Dollhouse instead. But even with the cancellation of the show, it may live on as a DVD movie which will, perhaps, answer some questions poised by the finale of the series. Fortunately, while you wait for the DVD movie to happen, or not happen, you can watch the entire second season on DVD or Blu-ray, which is what I’m going to talk about here.
The second season, set in the time after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, picks up where the first left off telling the story of Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), her son John “the future leader of mankind” (Thomas Dekker) and Cameron, the Terminator (Summer Glau) sent to protect him from other Terminators who want him dead. This season John and Sarah have decided to stop running, which occupied them during the first season, and are instead intent on stopping the birth of Skynet — the super computer that eventually destroys most of humanity.
With the help of Cameron, their Terminator protector, Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green), a soldier sent from the future, FBI agent James Ellison, once assigned to capture the Connors but instead has joined them, and Riley, a school friend of Johns’, they go up against the military and a shadow conspiracy from the future to stop the program that eventually becomes Skynet from being created.
That’s a lot of story packed into these 15 episodes but the show really manages to get back on track and provide many hours of entertainment. And, with the questions posed during the show about technology and humanity’s responsibilities towards it, even makes you think a bit. Just what you want from good sci-fi. Plus, there’s lots of action, gun fights, fist fights and Summer Glau kicking all sorts of ass, which doesn’t hurt either.
I was fortunate enough to review the Bu-ray version of the DVD set and the transfer is well done. In addition, the Blu-ray has a large number of bonus features on it. There are the usual offerings like deleted scenes, a gag reel and creator and actor commentaries. Also, there are quite a few ‘behind the scenes’ featurettes where you can see everything from the composition of the music to the storyboard process to the creation of prosthetics.
One feature of the Blu-ray that was particularly cool was the “Collision with the Future: Deconstructing the Hunter Killer Attack.” In this you can cycle through several videos on the making of key scenes that go into a Hunter Killer attack on the show. This provides quite a bit of insider knowledge on the filmmaking process. There’s also a pretty nice featurette about the choreography of fight scenes that Summer Glau’s Cameron is in. But really, I would probably watch Summer Glau do most anything, so perhaps I’m biased.
If you’re a fan of the original films, this series may leave something to be desired. The creators have pretty much always maintained that this show exists in a distinct timeline separate from the original films, so that allowed them to take some license with the storylines and characters. Still, if you’re a fan of action and sci-fi shows, you could do a lot worse than this one.
It may not be perfect but if you give the whole season a chance and watch it all the way through, you might find that it comes into its own at the end and gets quite good. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see these characters again and get more of the closure the series deserved. Until then, these DVDs are a great way to pass the time.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season is in stores now.