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April 23 2008

Watcher weighs in on Sarah Connor Chronicles. Chicago Tribune's TV-blog critic gives a (mostly negative) assessment, but hopes for the best next season.

I generally agree with everything she said, most notably the bit about not being invested in the characters. I also feel it doesn't focus enough on Sarah's character when the show bills itself to be about her.
I think the title means she's narrating the story, not that the story is about her.
Even if it is about her, that doesn't mean she always has to be the focus. Ultimately John is the focus of the entire show, he's the sine qua non. Cameron is the thematic focus a lot of the time. I agree though that Sarah sometimes seems almost like part of the plot rather than a character in her own right (maybe because her character's drives and needs are utterly in line with the plot - i.e. protect John).

Some of the points I agree with (e.g. the voice-over is often a bit heavy handed IMO) but, gotta say, if she doesn't like time-travel stories then what's she doing watching this ? Time-travel is right at the heart of the Terminator universe.

Also, I think it'd get old very, very quickly if every week they had to somehow manufacture a fight between Cameron and yet another bad Terminator just because "robots fighting are [sic ?] cool".
For all its negative points (rehashing a tired franchise being the main one), the leads really make it worth while. Summer Glau, naturally, but Lena Headey is also brilliant, as is the actor who plays John's uncle (I forget his name, unfortunately). They basically carry the show, in my opinion. That said, it's great entertainment, and I'll be watching the next season.
It became background tv for me, in the same way Bones did. I half paid attention to it and it was harmless non-brain stimulating viewing. Though I was pleased to see the creepy lawyer from The 4440 guest on it. He's well ace.
I pretty much disagree with everything she said. I do like the characters - and the cast here is much better than on Bionic Woman. Sarah Connor is suitably tough and aloof, though she clearly loves her son. John is a little bit emo, but he's supposed to grow into the freedom fighter of the future - not automatically be The One. There is plenty of humour in the show - mostly in the character of Cameron, of course, but that was true of the films as well, the humour came from the Terminator trying to be human (in T2, at least). And the character of Derek Reese is fascinating (and hot) and there's some back story that will be interesting to find out abaout.

I'm not really getting her complaints about the stories being convoluted, though. The stories themselves are straightforward. Very little time bendy stuff is used, except for the increasingly confusing shifting future - but you don't need to understand that, it's part of the premise of the series/franchise.

And I do think the show is about Sarah Connor right now - torn between training her son and protecting him. I think this show is a great extension of the franchise and am happier about Season Two of this than the fourth film, actually.
I agree with her about John--I think it may be the writers' fault, not the actor's, so I'm hoping they can interesting him up next year. I also agree about the voice-overs, which are too heavy-handed for my taste as well.

But I like Lena Heady, I'm happy with the balance of episodic vs. arc, and I think Summer is absolutely riveting as Cameron. It's a must-watch for me.
I'm a bit fickle on this. I believe Cameron & Derek are the key role players right now. They have the most plots, twists, and turns of the previous season.

I agree with the lack of caring with John & Sarah Conner. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this show and am happy it's coming back, but those characters were lacking growth for me. They weren't human enough.

Sarah seems more of a robot than a mother. I know this is still from the burn of T2 effects, but there's more to having a son than raising & protecting him- she needs to love him in a way that he can understand. Genuine expressed affection is the lesson she needs to learn (that, & how to let go of her son). And I like the voice-overs, by the way. They just need more emotion in them and they'd be perfect.

I like John, but I don't like the teenager aspect. I think he's probably going to get a lot of the same grief that Dawn received in Buffy. I think the writers have him in a pigeon-hold of sorts- all of these protectors & leaders, but no one to lead. They're making him inferior, when these are the times when he needs to rise up and take command. Did anyone ever think that unless his mother died he wouldn't have the survival skills needed to become The One? If the writers don't let John step out of his box, we'll lose him for good.

And, yes, Derek (Brian Austin Green) is quite hot. :) I LOVE the banter between him and Cameron (Summer). It's the best part of the show!

Which needs to be fixed, actually, because they're not the central characters of the show, but the sidekicks.
If it wasn't for Summer Glau I wouldn't care enough to watch a second season. She was absolutely my favourite thing about Firefly/Serenity and she is excellent as Cameron.
I stopped watching the show for the same reasons the critic gives: gloominess and repetition (only to find out later they used one of my favorite songs in the last episode--D'oh!).

I'll probably watch an episode or two in the second season. Because some shows do improve after a disappointing first season.

The show had its problems which is not at all surprising considering they only had the showrunner on set for the first episode. I was surprised at how good it was despite this (and despite the futzing around with Cameron's humanity and/or lack thereof) and am really looking forward to the new season and finding out exactly what Josh Friedman's vision of the Terminator future is.
QuanticoMVP, it's sad that you stopped watching T:SCC mid-season. I agree that it was bleak in the beginning, but it definately started to bring on the fire hottness towards the end (hence the love for BAG & the developing relationship between Cameron & JOhn).

cabri, I too, cannot wait for Terminator's return. It will be the best fall yet!
If I was John Connor, I'd kick my mom's ass. I don't like his whining, his personality. Kick ass, like any teenager. Regardles what is or will be.

Love the show, hate how John Connor is over protected while he is the Messiah in the future. It's about time Cameron seduces him into action.
Must-watch for me too, and I liked it from the start. Summer's deadpan delivery is brilliant and she's giving us a fifth terminator conception (after Arnold bad, Arnold good, Patrick bad, Kristanna very bad). I hope they'll be taking her toward more unexpected half-human behaviors -- maybe Krusher's "seduces him into action" will be one of them.

On Mo Ryan, she's long been a friend to genre TV but was late coming to this series so I hope she likes it better next fall. If she's also on board from the start for Dollhouse, that's even more important.
Definitely think the show was/is improving, especially from the time Derek Reese showed up, and that was with no show runner, so no tweaking of the writing. The last couple of episodes had real emotional resonance. If the show had continued to repeat the "cool" robot fights though, as this tv critic wanted, I'd have been outta there.

Since the whole point of arc television is for a character to take a journey, I don't get the John criticism at all. He can't start as the hero, he has to work his way there. He's already starting to pull away from his mom and take chances, his relationship with Derek, and Cameron, is deepening and they did that in nine episodes. Plus, the FBI subplot is beginning to be compelling.

And then there's Summer, who's all kinds of wonderful.
You're right, shambleau. John can't have a middle without a beginning. I just hope they keep this in mind when they get into their 5 season (I'm hopeful).

I just don't want to see the Dawn failings again. I loved Dawn, but she didn't get what she needed as a character growth. True, she had some wonderful moments, but it wasn't enough to make people stop bashing the poor character/girl.
With you on the Dawn love, Korkster, but Dawn was more peripheral than John. I'm sure we'll see plenty of character growth next season.

Also, with Dawn, she had more strikes against her to begin with, and besides, there's a tipping point for some people with regards to a character. Then, their impression of him/her is set in stone. That was probably Dawn's "Get out, get out, get OUT!!!" speech. I'm not sure there's anything that could have been done after that as far as a part of the audience was concerned. I agree though, that some could have been won over with a better S7 arc.
I've really enjoyed the show so far. It's not the best thing on tv but it definitely seemed to improve with each episode. Can't wait to see how much it improves with the writers back from the strike.

I'm also a fan of Dawn's. The "get out, get out" thing was done too much with her and that is what seems to stick in most people's heads. I loved the whole Buffy/Dawn dynamic but was disappointed with how things between them seemed to not improve in s7. Too much going on for them to have really addressed that. I was hoping the whole final season that something about her being a key would help them in their battle or that Dawn would have more to do.
I agree with much of the article, but not all. It's worth watching for Summer and Brian Green was a huge surprise. I don't mind the "timey wimey" stuff. Dekker is a problem and it seems a lot of people here agree on that. BTW I totally agree with the article on all points about Bionic Woman.
He can't start as the hero, he has to work his way there.

Exactly shambleau. He's sixteen FFS !? Who's ready to save the world at that age ? The show is surely at least in part showing us John's journey from normal kid to heroic resistance leader so there has to be a journey there to begin with (and we've already seen him act with great presence of mind a couple of times e.g. after hearing about Reese, rather than running off emotionally distraught as many teenagers might, he goes and gets Charlie to come and save him).

Summer's the best thing in it IMO but Dekker's doing fine for now - when John needs to really step up if it turns out he doesn't have the screen presence to manage it then we can complain, for now he's meant to be a more or less normal kid which comes across well.
He's sixteen FFS !? Who's ready to save the world at that age ?

Nope, she wasn't ready and she even says so herself - she just had to get on with it, the same as John will.
She was more ready to save the world at that age than Mr. Emo.
Well, she did have superpowers - that has to qualify as a bunk-up in any saving the world situation.
Reading this article was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

How could one person be so wrong?

I totally disagree with every single thing she said.

Honestly, if the article didn't have the photo of the writer at the top of the page, I would have thought it had been written by a 13 year old school girl.
I don't need John to be heroic at this stage of the game & I understand the need for his character to have an arc, but I just find him to be kind of boring. I think it would help a lot if he were witty. After all, he's smart enough.
Here is what Josh Freidman said in an interview about John. "Last year John was still in denial and didn't want the problems of being a hero. This season will be his coming of age year. John will grow up and what will be interesting is that as the boy grows into a man, the less he'll need his mother."

So the arc is on track. A little more wit from him as he grows into his role would be appreciated though, I agree.

[ edited by shambleau on 2008-04-24 18:26 ]
Whatever happened to T2 bad boy John? How did he go from robbing ATMs to obeying every word his mother says? I don't hate his character, but I don't like him at all either. If it wasn't for the Glaubot, the show would be boring. But we do have a Glaubot, fortunately, so it stays interesting.
We’re getting rid of Summer Glau.

korkster's heart stops

Just kidding. In case anyone’s worried that we blew her up [in the first season finale], she’s coming back. In full force.

Don't do that!

ETA: Simon taught me some new tricks with quoting.

[ edited by korkster on 2008-04-24 21:59 ]

[ edited by korkster on 2008-04-24 21:59 ]

[ edited by korkster on 2008-04-24 22:00 ]

[ edited by Simon on 2008-04-24 22:10 ]

I don't think John does every thing his mother says and he was robbing ATM when his mother was in a mental hospital and he thought she was crazy. Also when in T2 did he not do what his mother said?

I think the character is appropiate within the context of the TV series.

[ edited by Zoic_Fan on 2008-04-24 22:08 ]
Zoic_Fan, I disagree with the critic too but I hoped her writing was thoughtful enough to interest the gang here. She takes genre TV seriously -- unlike, say, the critics at the NY Times. Let's hope she'll come around to T:SCC and be there for us when Dollhouse opens for business.
The FutureFox blog has combined bits and pieces from several blogs today regarding Josh's interview. I liked The Deadbolt asking if Summer will "still be the same, physically?" and Josh answering "Eventually". o.O I think it's a good thing she didn't burn the evil terminator in all his flesh. O.o
Cheers for that link cabri. Figured that Cameron would be disfigured for a while, hopefully not too long. Luckily she has her freezer o' "flesh" ;).

I'm slightly disappointed that they've basically just dropped the school suicide plot-line though, I thought that gave John something worthwhile to do outside "the mission" and it would've also been a great way to explore Cameron in a non-Sarah context. I had visions of her becoming a sort of inadvertent "Class Protector" ;).

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