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November 15 2007

First Look: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. EW has a look at four promotional posters, 3 of which feature Summer Glau.

I don't remember seeing these posted here before, my apologies if they were!

It's the first time I've seen them. Well, I had seen one of them before. Really cool posters though.
These certainly are effective. And they're eerie too. Not to mention creepy.
Wow. Those are really good. Kudos to Fox.
Those're pretty cool, the first and third especially have a disturbing quality. When the third one loaded for me I could only see the top so it looked like the Summernator was just innocently sitting on a swing, then I scrolled down.

And the second and fourth are just very cool posters. Dunno if Lena Headey has been messed with photoshopically but if not, the woman's ripped, maybe not Linda Hamilton ripped but in the same vicinity.
Yikes. Those look.... great.
These look fantastic!
Hmm...I think the one of Summer's dismembered body and exposed breast is more than a little upsetting. And not in a good way.
yamsham, I'm with you. I was not fond of the "nekkid" Summer Glau dismembered body shot either. I'm no prude, but I just find the nakedness unneccessary.

The other three posters were pretty cool. But I am getting a bit weary of the women who are "ripped" look. Eat some food ladies and put on ten pounds. I don't want to see veins popping out on your arms. Ewwwwww!

No matter how cool the posters look, I still won't be tuning into Fox anytime soon. Fox can bite me.
I disagree. I find all the posters amazing. The third one made my jaw drop in awe. They have a very cool, very powerful feeling to them, and they'll definitely get the show some attention. I can't wait until January. I'm so excited for this show.
Anyone else get a Borg Queen vibe off that one poster?

No? Just me, then?

As for Summer not having clothes - why is that worse than Nekkid Arnie?

And Sarah has to be "ripped," as it's been put - this is supposed to be when she's on the run with John, so it's understandable she's in shape. Or does "ripped" have a different meaning I'm not aware of?

I've only seen Lena in one movie, a cute little piece called Imagine Me & You, opposite Piper Perabo. (And there's some Anthony guy in it...) I really love the movie and I think she's quite talented. I'll definitely try to catch a couple episodes of this.

Plus? This gives whole new meaning to River's "I can kill you with my brain."
Yeah, I also got a Borg Queen thing from it, exactly as in "First Contact" (for instance) where her head/shoulders are lowered into her body. Very cool, creepy effect.

Or does "ripped" have a different meaning I'm not aware of?

Hopefully not, I just meant it as in very toned and fit looking (the athletic kind of fit ;). It also doesn't mean unhealthily skinny to me either - you can't look athletic and unhealthy IMO, them's contradictin' terms.

There does seem to be a double standard about nakedness but I suspect with some merit. Naked women do more often seem to be about titillation than e.g. naked Arnie seemed. Maybe that's my perspective because naked Arnie didn't titillate me though ;).

(and if image 3 is designed to titillate then it might be disturbing in the bad way - you could maybe draw parallels between it and, e.g. the "Hostel II" posters people had such a strong reaction to, though of course, in this case, the Summernator doesn't need to be "dead" just because she's "dismembered")

Plus? This gives whole new meaning to River's "I can kill you with my brain."

OT but did anyone catch "Chuck" a couple of weeks back when Adam Baldwin's character is told to watch out for a very smart, unstable escaped weapons designer and he sarcastically replies "What's he gonna do, hurt me with his mind ?" - had to be a shout out I reckon ;).
So this show is about terminators and not the wacky adventures of Angel's son Connor and his new girlfriend Sarah?

I'm so disappointed.
Three out of the four posters? I do believe Fox understands precisely where the appeal of this show lies. :-)

The third one looks disturbing, yes, but honestly if they'd tried to put clothes on that partial body, it would just have looked weird.
I don't know anything about Terminator and don't plan to maybe that has something to do with it. But I think that the trend of dismembering female bodies in advertising is upsetting, problematic and has already been discussed at length (see: Diana Fuss...or even some of Joss's posts about Captivity for that matter). The fact that she is both dismembered AND naked is even creepier. Are we to be aroused by her mutilated body? Turned on by only her torso? Get off on the fact that she isn't a whole person?
These are awesome. C'mon people, she is playing a robot! Why do we have read into it stuff that simply isn't there?

[ edited by TamaraC on 2007-11-15 19:25 ]
TamaraC - Bizactly! They aren't advertising a dismemberment movie, or a porn movie, or a pornographic dismemberment movie. They are advertising a series based on the Terminator movies. Even if you've never watched the movies you (General "you") should be familiar enough with the concept to know that these are a "race" (For lack of a better term) of super-strong robots from the future, which are designed to pass for human.

Personally? The first one of Summer's face on the Terminator skull was a bit (Probably because I'd already been disturbed by the Borg Queen.)

I'd like to hear (read) Joss's thoughts on this, since Summer was one of his "people."
Why do we have read into it stuff that simply isn't there?

Isn't there to you TamaraC ;).

I'm not convinced myself BUT you can't deny that she's not just playing a robot, she's playing a robot that looks like a sexy young woman. That makes images of her naked and in pieces different to images of, for instance, Robbie the Robot "naked" and in pieces. Not that Robbie isn't hot mind you ... hmmm, that perspex head, those twirly ear things ... *cough* where was I ?

Personally I think the posters are making us think about the line between machine and human and what makes a person a person (which has been a theme of the films since T2) as well as just being cool, eye-catching, maybe somewhat disturbing images (see, they're only disturbing precisely because you don't just see a machine, you see a blur between the two).
Me three, for the Borg Queen echo on poster 3. Maybe it's intended as an homage. And yeah, there's a creepiness quotient, but for me it's the disappearing line between human and machine - I don't see her as a dismembered human, in that image, but rather a machine part (maybe it's the callback to that specific Borg Queen image that Saje mentions, that does it for me.) My reaction to the nudity is that that is some very well-placed hair in that shot.
I hear you's about a robot. But outside of the mythology of the show it's an image. And in a way, they ARE selling us a pornographic dismemberment movie, aren't they? I mean, if I don't know anything about Terminator (which I don't) I would be coming to the party expecting sexy torsos, right?

Couldn't the same argument be made about "Captivity"? Oh, it isn't's a scary movie! Maybe she even lives at the end. The bad guy dies. Everyone lives happily ever after. But the image on the poster remains. It is a text unto itself, and should be read as such. You might disagree with my reading, but I don't think the story is as important as you all are making it.

Anyway, a little friendly feminist debate never hurt anyone, right? :)
Of course they are going to play up the sexy young woman aspect. This is Fox. They want those 18-39 year old male eyeballs above all else.

I just don't get the dismemberment porn thing. Friendly feminist debates are all well in good. I was pretty gung-ho about the philosophical feminist debates 20 years ago in college. Now I tend to save my outrage for more important things like this.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2007-11-15 21:21 ]

[ edited by TamaraC on 2007-11-15 21:23 ]
Yes, Borg Queen is what I thought, too. But this was more disturbing... because of the weird creepy line between human and machine. Mostly because it was a half-naked Summer torn in half - which brings to mind the destruction of the Buffy-bot, which was in no way cool and pretty much an argument against this sort of cool/sexy/robotic/dismembered imagery.

The difference with the Borg Queen, it was just her head and shoulders. Whereas this poster wants you to see Summer's breasts and get off on it a little.
Not to worry yamsham, I got your back. Though I'm not particularly offended by any of these images (I just think the third one is a little ridiculous and poorly done), I agree with you that even something that one may see as "harmless" like these promotional images can stand apart from the related (in this case, filmic) text.

Sure, Hostel II and Captivity both bombed in theatres (thank goodness, IMHO) but plenty of other recent horror films, both originals and remakes, have performed quite well lately and FOX can't be blind to that. The addition of "Terminator" to the show's official title certainly carries a lot of weight but there are still plenty of folks out there who've not seen the films or don't know much, if any, of what the series is about (case in point, my girlfriend. I recently got her to watch the movies with me; she enjoyed them and was particularly titilated (winks at Sage) by the sight of naked Arnie, especially in T2 where he arguably looked his best).

Anyway, back on topic. These images of females appear to be the sort of thing that sells lately (not the only thing, mind you, strong sales of Buffy Season 8 as but one example) and they do deserve our critical attention.
Normally, I would be all "I kinda think too much is getting read into this"...but to lay out all the cards, IT'S FOX!.

To basically summarize, we got a big ole studio that has manage to get the rights to produce a TV series based on a highly lucrative movie franchise that a lot of people have a passing knowledge of. Not everyone, but a nice chunk of the population of the Western hemisphere. Mainly males in the magical 18-34 age bracket, who are both still in a hormonal prime and making enough dosh to be classified as a target market. Two of the main characters are being portrayed by talented and highly attractive women whose appearances and past roles can be used to lure in new viewers. So, as much as Fox will pontificate about what they tried to do with the ad has been proven time and again - and I will admit to being a willing victim - that physical beauty and glimpses of naked female flesh will sell product.

Of the 4 posters, I personally think #1 is the weakest because it is almost like a amateur porn fake in its attempt to graft Summer's face onto what I assume is supposed to be the endoskeleton of a Terminator robot model between the Arnie T-800/850 and the Kristanna Loken T-X (the skull isn't quite as complex as the T-X and it's not the metal cue ball the T-800/850 has). Reminds me more of an ad for I, Robot, honestly.

Posters #2-4 all are cool, though I will cop to some Borg Queen thoughts about #3. Really prefer Lena Hedley's version of "ripped" over Linda Hamilton's, since Hamilton was all wire and no insulation IMO. Though the folding buttstock pump-action is a nice nod to T2 ;D
Now I tend to save my outrage for more important things like this.

Mmm. But doesn't the way women and the female form are depicted in the media relate in any way to how women are treated in reality ? So, in the grand scheme, is one really more important than the other ? Cos the various points made about e.g. the "Captivity" advertising seemed to have some merit IMO. Still, horses/courses ;).

(truth be told though my "line" is probably much closer to yours TamaraC than to others in this particular instance)

And yeah BlueEyedBrigadier I agree about Linda Hamilton, I didn't find her sexy but she certainly looked potent. The image i've previously applied to her in T2 is "caged tiger" - she had a kind of fluid but "coiled" physicality that suited the part perfectly IMO. Lena Headey has struck more of a balance for me between machine-like single-minded "fitness-for-purpose" (in Sarah Connor's case protecting John and defeating Skynet) and looking good (presumably partly for that all important 18-34 males demo and partly from the pure practicalities of staying that "ripped" for 8 or 9 months of the year on an ongoing basis).
Normally, I would be all "I kinda think too much is getting read into this"...but to lay out all the cards, IT'S FOX!.

Which excuses it how exactly? Oh, right, it doesn't. In fact, it makes it worse. Because you're saying that it plays right into the horny teen male demographic... and it's still the depiction of the female form dismembered! Somehow because FOX is "doing its job" that makes it right? Hmmm, not so much.

Really prefer Lena Hedley's version of "ripped" over Linda Hamilton's, since Hamilton was all wire and no insulation IMO.

You missed the point of Sarah Connor in T2 becoming more like a Terminator? She wasn't supposed to be attractive (though why that must be part of the debate is beyond me), she was supposed to be tough, cold, ruthless - a machine.

Not surprisingly - since this is FOX - Lena Headey has struck a balance between machine-fit and traditionally-sexy, which sort of detracts from the character of Sarah Connor. At least James Cameron had the balls to make Linda Hamilton (his wife at the time, or at one time...) into the machine he needed - rather than FOX pandering to its slobbering teen male audience demographic.

Hence a more pretty Sarah and a dismembered, disfigured female terminator.
Saje, you are right. There is a line, a line that is at times undefinable and at times very very uh... definable. I just don't think these promo posters cross it. A couple of them are visually shocking (good marketing should really grab your attention and create discussion), but I still don't find them over that line.

I would be the first person disgusted if I thought this got anywhere near dismemberment porn. I find it much more borg-like as others have mentioned.

Different strokes, but I am getting these posters (especially the last one) and putting them up on my walls at work.
As for Summer not having clothes - why is that worse than Nekkid Arnie?

It's not worse than nekkid Arnie, I just don't see how it's necessary (other than to titilate some horny guys). And I never saw a poster with a nekkid Arnie, did you? Nekkid Arnie....ewwww.

Plus, I love the convenient 'covering of the boobs with the hair, ala Blue Lagoon, look. (LOL) I'm sorry, but I think that third poster is the pits.

As for my comment about being sick of the "ripped" look - I'm just tired of seeing overly skinny women all the time. I realize Sarah Connor needs to be buff, but couldn't she weigh about 10 pounds more and be buff?
Never said I was trying to excuse or gain acceptance for the outcome of the advertising, crossoverman. My comment about it being Fox was meant to convey that of the 4 major TV networks, I find Fox to be the most...blatant...about using physical beauty to sell product. ABC, NBC and CBS are all guilty as well, but Fox seems a bit more Type A about their desire to target horny males between the ages 18 and 34.

And honestly? I was aware that Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor was meant to be mirror to Arnie's Terminator (i.e. Sarah got colder and more machine-like as the T-800 got warmer and more human) as the film progressed. I was just noting that I will probably prefer Lena Hedley's iteration of Sarah Connor over Linda Hamilton's for both the piggish physical reasons and for the hopeful chance that the series will give viewers a mix of T1's compassionate Sarah and the "caged tiger" of T2. Linda Hamilton did a great job of conveying a hardened and driven Sarah Connor struggling to deal with an approaching apocalypse...but a multi-episode series would suffer from such a character, due a perceived loss of even the smallest trace of humanity.

Also, I agree that poster #3 is an attempt at titillation that backfires, as much as it calls on imagery from films like Star Trek: First Contact and Ghost in the Shell about the line between humanity and machinery when one pushes the boundaries enough. Poster #4 seems to be the least blatant about trying to use sexuality as a lure, in that you get a clothed and generally indistinct profile of Cameron...but it too probably oozes titillation.
1) Where is the poster of nekkid Arnie?

2) Where is the poster of nekkid Arnie dismembered at the rib cage?

3) Since when are topless men and topless women considered "the same"?

4) While the image is a direct rip/homage of the Borg Queen, it's different because:

A) the Borg Queen was more alien in many ways
B) the dismembered head part of the Borg Queen did not include her breasts
C) the Borg Queen's breasts were not exposed except for some well-placed long hair
D) the image of the Borg Queen was not invented to titillate
Well, well...I've incited such great debate! This is better than those silly Dems in Nevada.

Probably not much more to say on the matter, though. I think it is important to look at this image not only in and of itself but as one of MANY ads that dismembers female bodies while still trying to titilate. What does this erotic dismemberment say about our views of female sexuality and subjectivity? And I agree with Saje...if the images that surround us don't shape our views of women, if this is just a trivial point, then why do we invest so much in icons like Buffy?

I guess we can just agree to disagree. Personally, I like my sexy with all of its limbs. But I'm a gay what do I know?
If it means anything, these posters have little to do with the content of the show - at least the pilot. It's the the cover of a comic book - far more dramatic than what's inside. And I highly doubt that is Summer's body - would bet big dollars it's a photoshop of her face onto a model.

Seriously, if you want to protest how women are treated, try Saudi Arabia where women by law are officially beaten by men for being raped and jailed for just being in a car with a non-family male (nevermind that they aren't allow to drive or vote). Showing these posters in that country would get you a prison term.
Yep, very true, no dismemberment in the (pre-air) pilot. I wouldn't be too surprised if it's actually her body though, i'd bet the effects guys would have a full-body cast/scan of Summer for various Terminator damage prosthetics, visual effects etc. (presumably she'd just be in one of those suits they use for roto-scoping), why not use that if they have it handy ?

And yep, Saudi's not a great place for women. Seems to have got worse since I lived there briefly (in about 1980) when Western women at least were reasonably free to move around as they pleased though it was a good idea to dress modestly. Iran (post-revolution anyway, pre it was very liberal from the little I remember) was much worse, my Mum and sister both had to wear head-scarves and be covered to their ankles and wrists whenever we left the company compound. Which doesn't sound like much until you remember temperatures of 40-45 celsius weren't that unusual in Summer. Not really wrapping up weather ;).

(and obviously it was much worse for Muslim women since they were subject to the full extent of the Sharia - which even by Muslim standards was extreme under Khomeini, dunno how bad it is now)

Have to say though, barbaric though it undoubtedly is (by Western standards) Saudi was quite a safe place to walk around, leave doors unlocked etc. The threat of bits being lopped off clearly had a deterrent effect.
Ok. You win. Because women suffer real violence around the world, we should never criticize our media. In fact, I think we should start showing more violence against women in movies and TV. Maybe people will get their fill and the actual violence will decrease!
Was that me that won ? Cool, I didn't even enter and I won !

I never connected the "nekked" Summer poster with violence at all. She's clearly a robot being assembled. And I suppose that she would be assembled naked, she is, afterall, a human-looking cyborg. I just think they chose this poster to stir up adolescent hormones (oh who am I kidding? Adult hormones too.) rather than to "describe" their new show. (I highly doubt that there will be much (if any) naked Summer in the show. So why does she have to be naked in the poster?) I just wonder why they couldn't show her dressed with a new arm being assembled or something. It shows she's a robot AND it keeps her clothes on. Oh, that's right, it's all about how sex sells. (Sigh)

Bottom line: IMO, if the show had nudity a/o sexuality with regards to the terminator, then the poster would be fine. But after viewing all of the Terminator films I know that the Terminators were not sexual - they were robots sent on a mission (and that mission was not to show off their breasts). This poster just shows that Summer will be playing a robot/cyborg and that she has nice breasts (if they are hers). Is that necessary? No. Just selling sexuality. Maybe being a mother of two very young girls just has me that much more aware of how obnoxious the media is with pushing sex and sexuality.

[ edited by mongorules on 2007-11-16 20:38 ]
Well, hopefully if there is a scene with Summer's Terminator coming back in time, there will be some nekkid Summer action - there was for Arnie and Kristian Lokken in the films. In fact, all time travelers come back naked in the franchise.

But the image on the poster is different. If it's supposed to be a cyborg being assembled, it makes no sense. It doesn't necessarily suggest violence but it is the image of a dismembered woman. The fact she is a cyborg is not good enough - there is no such thing as a cyborg, but there is such a thing as women and violence against them.

This image is a classic use of nudity and violence to titillate young boys. And, yes, men. The first poster is enough to convey part human, part machine. The final poster is a classic Terminator image of a damaged cyborg.

But the third poster is objectionable. Not as objectionable as women being beaten or stoned to death in Saudi Arabia. Not as objectionable as real life violence - of course. But that doesn't make it right. It doesn't make the image okay.

Sarah Connor is a cinematic icon for being a tough, strong woman - as the second poster says "the mother of all destiny". Thematically, it's about a woman standing up to the destruction men create. The third poster image is the antithesis of that. Out of any kind of context, it cannot and should not be seen as "cool" and it should not be titillating. But it is and that's wrong.

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