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February 29 2008

(SPOILER) Terminator Producers Talk. The budget is brought up and they talk about their plans for the future... but most importantly they explain why Summer's performance changed so drastically after the pilot episode.

Another article on related topics:
I am so glad that they came up and dispelled that silly rumor about the show being expensive. It was infuriating to see that repeated everywhere without any back-up. It simply didn't make any sense.

And that Canadian article does not give a source when saying that it has been picked up. Fox has not announced it so I'm think that is pure speculation being written as fact. Pretty shoddy reporting. And Terminator does not get 24 like numbers in the US. Maybe in Canada, but not in the US.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-02-29 04:42 ]
TamaraC, I agree that the Canadian article's implication that the next season is confirmed is highly suspect. I posted the URL mainly because it's relevant and focused on Summer Glau.
Yes, quite. It is not an expensive show. Mea culpa.
...Except for those future episodes, which they say are expensive.

It lost another million viewers on Monday. Wah! I'm hoping FOX stick with it.
A million ? So it's down to about 7 now ? That bodes unwell. Hope the two part ending isn't cliff-hangery just in case but if the network takes the DVR/download ratings into account, it might come back (they stuck by 'House' with those numbers but, crucially, 'House' was trending upwards as word-of-mouth spread).

Nearly every article that's talked about it being a smash hit mentions the 18 million opening ratings which as it turns out, was pretty much entirely down to the football lead in. They usually fail to mention it dropped to 10 the following week and has kept dropping every week since then. I'm gonna miss it if it goes (not 'Firefly' or 'Journeyman' miss it but it'll still leave a hole). Last week's with the ballet actually had me thinking how similar some of the themes were to 'Dollhouse' (and 'Dexter') and how much meat there is on the Cameron character/arc (and also how incredibly beautifully Summer moves, made me actually look forward to 'The Serving Girl' and sad that it's been back-burnered).

I don't buy the "different environments" answer for why Cameron acts differently (learning is learning, it's not something that just goes away because you moved house) but I really like the idea that it's a deliberate choice because Sarah expects Terminators to act a certain way and to act otherwise would be disturbing to her, that rings true for me, sounds like the sort of thing future-John might consider when he looks back through rose coloured glasses on the memory of his dead mother.
Saje - learning can go away when environments change. For example, some people with autism can experience stimulus over-selectivity where they learn the task in its entirety including all the irrelevant bits that most of us just filter out.

When they come to repeat the task, they may not be able to until everything is exactly the same again. If that situatiion can't be recreated, then they may have to learn the task all over again. If the environment changes a third time ...etc.

Perhaps Cameron's wiring is a little bit the same way?
I'm curious how the announcement of a new franchise of three Terminator movies starring Christian Bale as John Connor will affect The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I'd be disappointed if we end up with two separate storylines -- I know comic fans seem to be used to that with lots of different X-Men comics and whatever, but I personally find it all a bit mind-boggling.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how the movie announcement will affect the TV series? Could it actually adversely affect the renewal of the show?

[I haven't posted here in ages. Which is strange because I visit Whedonesque on a daily basis. *small wave to anyone who remembers me*]
dzr the transplanted sassanach, right ? ;)

I think it'll blow any continuity out of the window but I also think that's fine so long as they address it. We have "paradox allowed" time-travel already, once you have that anything [that's physically possible] goes I reckon and with a couple of lines explanation you almost can't be inconsistent WRT events that have occurred (that's if T:TSCC even carries on). Ideally they'd weave the two together in an intricate, rich narrative tapestry that makes sense fractally and from multiple angles/timelines but this is Hollywood we're talking about ;).

Perhaps Cameron's wiring is a little bit the same way?

Well, perhaps catalyst2 or perhaps she has a subroutine that wipes any learning she's accomplished based on an inbuilt GPS chip (for some mysterious reason ;), we can speculate in a lot of ways.

I think though that some are seeing Terminators as simple rule based computers when they're not, they have neural networks and all sorts of other advanced AI, it's not just a matter of "If in School X Then Act in Way Z ELSE Act Like a Big Old Robot From the Future" (even in another school she forgets how to be a girl) her programming adapts constantly (look at how she acts around Sarah as compared to how she acts around Reese or the way she backtracked in the pilot when she realises she'd caused Sarah to feel guilt).

And we see her do ballet in her own room (i.e. a different situation to the ballet class), why is that unaffected ? I like a good fan-wank as well as the next guy but there comes a point where you just have to say, "That's inconsistent (but it's not a big deal)" and carry on.
Hi Saje! I moved from Edinburgh to Cambridge since last I posted, so more a detransplanted sassanach now.

I must admit that when I read about the new Terminator movie franchise, with a very big star attached, my first thought was "Oh no, does this mean they'll kill T:TSCC?" I'm not really sure why they would, but someone (James Cameron?) presumably owns the rights to the characters and fictional universe, and they might worry that the show might somehow dilute the brand of the movies or something. I think I'm more worried about that than plot inconsistencies, although that will bug me too.
I would liked to have seen Cameron's behavior explained in the show, even if it's her explaining that she was following a script when she first met John and now she's on her own or something like that. It would make sense that she'd have to "interrogate" John to make certain he is who she thinks he is so it would be reasonable to think she was taught or programmed, how to act in that situation. After all, we never saw her interact with any other people at that school.

And Saje, I agree with you that there is a lot of potential in Cameron's arc, just as I always wanted April the robot to become a regular on Buffy (the similarity in character to Anya notwithstanding) as you can show the progress a character makes on the way to becoming "human". Cameron is clearly being shown as a machine, her refusal to help the suicide girl and leaving the Russians to die for example, so that they can show her changing as she grows. I expect we will see very soon (renewal permitting) Cameron actually helping someone without it being "her mission", maybe the show should be called "Terminator: The Cameron Phillips Chronicles"? Just as many said the rouge bionic woman was a far more interesting character than the title Bionic Woman I think that Cameron is way more interesting than Sarah Connor.
I agree that Cameron is the most interesting character on the show, and Summer's portrayal of her is wonderful. As for fanwanks, maybe when they traveled through time, it affected her wiring? Or maybe when she re-booted, if that came before they showed her at the new school?

Or once she'd made contact with John, Cameron no longer felt it was part of the mission. She was human enough with the ballet teacher and even smiled, IIRC, which could be because the mission called for it.

As far as the show losing a million, bad undoubtedly. But that was because Prison Break, which had been preceding it, was replaced by that reality show which uses lie detectors and asks contestants if they've ever cheated on their spouses and so on. Completely different kind of audience and there was no carry-over. If the suits realize that, which of course is a very big if, then it'll have less effect on their decision to renew.
dzr, since the movie(s) and TV show are being produced by the same people, I am assuming that they will work out all the kinks in continuity and stuff. Not that I really care. I'm a TV person. The movies don't interest me much.
TamaraC: I didn't know that. I know IMDb is a very imperfect resource for projects still in development, but searching on there for crew involved in both projects returns nothing.
dzr, The Halcyon Company, Warner Brothers and James Middleton (who was the exec producer/showrunner/everything for the TV show during the strike.

I believe there are several other crossover folks involved as well, but as you say, imdb is an imperfect resource.
I *think* I saw an interview with one of the SCC producers saying they will figure out how/if the new movie logic effects them when it comes to that bridge.

Personally -- and I think they'll go this way -- I would ignore future movies for the most part. As, seriously - this interview says they have a 4 year plan. What if the first movie in the planned trilogy destroys that plan out the gate? You're not making your own TV show then; you'd be constantly trying to change your story to suit somebody elses. Which is shitty.
...I am assuming that they will work out all the kinks in continuity and stuff.

Well, i'll believe that when I see it. As I say, IMO continuity really doesn't mean much in the T-verse and I suspect the creators see it that way too (if they do have them mesh up somehow that'd be great though).

I think I'm more worried about that than plot inconsistencies, although that will bug me too.

I actually quite like that the plot's fluid dzr. Normally it'd kill me to see glaring mistakes but once you accept the premise that the past can change then even the nature of the character's histories is malleable and that feels sort of suspenseful and exciting, like every action literally has the potential to change the world. Being "allowed" to not worry about it is quite liberating ;).

She was human enough with the ballet teacher and even smiled, IIRC, which could be because the mission called for it.

She's actually learning to be "human" again quite quickly (compare her first interaction in the girl's loo - quite robotic, to her with the dodgy guidance counsellor - weird but a passable human, to her faking it with the ballet teacher) and as I say there're any number of fan-wanks to "explain" her loss of humanity (as mentioned, my new favourite is as suggested in the interview that she deliberately acts like a Terminator to stay within Sarah's comfort zone).

The reset has always struck me as a contender BTW but a) she's robotic before it and b) she retains all her other memories afterwards (so now we have to posit some "resettable memory" and some permanent memory and that important information about integrating into target communities isn't important enough to go in the permanent store - we're multiplying entities like there's no tomorrow in other words ;).
My other personal theory was that acting human requires a vast amount of processing and while she was waiting at that school she could do it, now that she has to concentrate on the mission, protecting John, she has to focus on that and cannot spare the processor power to do both. Over time acting human will become more natural and not need the same resources. Clearly Skynet hasn't heard of Core2Duo chips.
"but most importantly they explain why Summer's performance changed so drastically after the pilot episode"

Interesting spin there poster - that is your opnion, that she changed drastically - I didn't think it did. I know many others who didn't see a problem with it. And after reading the article, the writers didn't really either.
Clearly Skynet hasn't heard of Core2Duo chips.

Ssshhhh !

(doom us all why dontcha ?)

Yeah, that's not a bad one either zz9 (maybe John's started overclocking her and that's why she's getting better at it ? No lewd comments about Front Side Buses please ;).

Seems odd to me that anyone could think she acts the same when she meets John in the first school (smiling, being animated, using slang etc.) as how she acts in the toilet in the new school (or even just when she walks through the metal detector), to me and nearly everyone on here, they're very different (read maybe 15 or 20 different fan-wanks on here, never read anyone claiming "There's nothing to explain, she doesn't change much". Until now Pumps, always good to have a "minority report" ;).
Maybe Cameron's problems will be addressed with the SP2 download?

I think the biggest problem is that SCC is based on a movie and the Terminators in that movie are more or less indestructible. Which is fine for a two hour chase movie but a big problem for a show that wants to run for seven years. Just how do you have an unbeatable killing machine fight another unbeatable killing machine week after week for seven years without getting boring or thinking up excuse after excuse why they escape/retreat? The scene where she killed the terminator by removing his CPu was lame, why did he just lie there and let her get a toolbox and open up his head?
I figured that it is very different situations. She had been given pretty clear instructions on what facade to use in the initial, semi-uncomplicated situation of making first contact, but that after that she has to start integrating lots of different behaviors, expectations, variables and priorities into her actions. How best to behave around specific humans to raise or lower their comfort level as needed for the situation, could definitely be one of the things she is doing along with prioritizing what is more important, a more human facade, or getting John and Sarah to take her seriously. Are they more likely to trust in her abilities if they are reminded that she is a machine or if she comes off as a human teenage girl?

Looking at it more metaphorically, it is like a person who has figured out the perfect fake persona for one part of their life, but when they are taken out of that situation, the facade comes down and a much less slick, assured person comes through. That person has to then find a new and much more complicated way of putting themselves across successfully. Of course I have not seen all the episodes, including one with dancing in it, so my perception might be totally off the mark.
Could be newcj. Seems like one or two casual lines could've cleared the whole thing up if it was intentional though (from the start I mean, obviously it was intentional that she change from episode 2 onwards but my feeling is that it was pretty much exclusively for meta-textual reasons). And wouldn't at least a natural tone of voice be something that's pretty much universally applicable ?

(or maybe she actually applied SP2 zz9 and, in time honoured tradition, it broke something ;)

The scene where she killed the terminator by removing his CPU was lame, why did he just lie there and let her get a toolbox and open up his head?

Yeah that scene seemed to rely on the T888 being "stunned" but of course, you can't stun a machine, that'd need them to have a brain that can slosh against the inside of their skull and cause unconsciousness. Their "brains" have always seemed pretty much solid state to me ;).

(also FWIW, continuity from T2 - as well as the body that walks to where its head is in T:TSCC - indicates that their CPU is actually in their chest, not their head. Maybe that's not his CPU though, AFAIK, we're only assuming that, it's never actually been stated - though the near reverence with which Cameron looks at it post removal indicates it's something very special/important, maybe where she considers a Terminator's soul to reside ?)
Saje, I'd assume that the CPU is in the head, so when the head went through the time portal the body became inert. From it's perspective the head ceased to exist for seven years and when the head was found by the side of the road it rebooted and I assume used wifi/Bluetooth or whatever Skynet uses to reactivate and remotely control the body to come find it. This also suggests the body has eyes/sonar/radar/whatever of its own to enable it to navigate.
Which leads me to wonder, if Terminators have wifi why didn't the head find another Terminator in 2007 to help it? We know there were at least two nearby.
My brain hurts. From now on in this show I'm just going to enjoy watching hot babe kicking crap out of people.

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