Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

March 3rd, 2008 by Potato

I set out to get caught up on the new Terminator TV series after seeing some commercials for it that told me (a) it’s made it past the first few writer’s strike fill-in episodes, and (b) kinda actually decent looking. Trying to get caught up with “free episodes on CTV.ca” didn’t work: the episodes required activeX to watch, and even after firing up internet exploder to watch them, there were only two available, each split into 5 parts, not sorted in any logical order down the menu pane, and DRM’ed to boot. Thankfully, it was more convenient to get them via my bittorrent PVR (hey CTV: check out the CBC, which is awesome — ok, downloadable could bring perfection, but still, I’m proud of our public broadcaster.)

Anyhow, fully caught up and I’m happy with the show. The plot seems to chug along merrily enough, the actors all seem to do a decent job in their roles, and pretty much everything seems to fit well enough into the Terminator universe so as to not drive me crazy. It’s a worthwhile show to watch in a fairly sparse writers’ strike wasteland. Of course, I do have some minor nitpicks:

Sarah Connor doesn’t seem hard enough, but I suppose that’s ok because we’d probably get tired of watching ultra-intense “I’ve just escaped from a mental hospital and they shot me up with steroids in the ass every day” Sarah Connor. I thought it was a shame that Summer Glau has been typecast so early in her career, and there can’t be too many more roles out there for socially awkward human superweapon, but then Wayfare pointed out that being typecast into that role at least means she can go to SciFi cons for the rest of her life now and always have some kind of cult following, so I don’t feel too bad for her.

Spoiler alert!

Some of the physics of the show drive me a little nuts, and some of that crosses over from the movies. The Terminators are really incredibly tough killing machines with futuristic alloy armour plating. They’re really goddamned tough motherfuckers. Walking tanks. It’s what they were built to be… but they’re not invincible. I mean, sure, a 9 mm handgun or even a shotgun or assault rifle is not going to do a lot of damage, especially if the bullets are ricocheting off the armoured plates or their head… but they’ve also got a lot of actuators, joints, moving parts, and sensors that can’t possibly be as battle-hardened. The protagonists of the shows and movies love to pump bullets into Terminators, and I can’t believe in their minds that it’s something they do just to show how tough one is. So, really, the stupid things shouldn’t be completely impervious to bullets (and if they are, the resistance fighters should figure that out and stop carrying guns so they can run unencumbered). Every now and then, someone should get lucky and hit a soft spot. Maybe that doesn’t stop it, but you know, give it a glitch in a movement, a limp, a dead eye. At the very least, we did see an arm get torn off by a speeding truck, but I’d like a little more return for all the bullets shot at them than to just peel off skin.

The gimmick of the headless Terminator also really bothered me on a number of levels. First off, the idea of the head waking up and remotely controlling the body that’s lain dead for 8 years to come get it really didn’t jive with my understanding of how Terminators worked. Secondly, that head should have stayed in the past. The reason Sarah Connor couldn’t hold on to her wicked cool gun or clothes through the time jump was that nothing could go through the time portal that wasn’t wrapped in skin. The head, its skin burned off by the futuristic nuclear-powered electric discharge gun, was all metal and robotic. It ceased being a flesh-encased cyborg and thus should have been annihilated by the time transportation nudity bubble. That same time jump also didn’t seem to bug the other people in the world as much as it should have. Sure, with some good cosmetics middle-aged Sarah Connor might not look to have aged a day in 8 years, but John Connor disappeared at age 15. When he shows up again in Dixon’s life, Dixon doesn’t seem to think anything of John being the same age as he last saw him…

I was pleased to get a glimpse of how the skin gets grafted on to that endoskeleton, and doubly pleased to see in the flash-back to-the-future a glimpse of an early model Terminator with fake-ass rubber skin. That homage to Reese’s first speech about the unstoppable killing machine was exactly the kind of rewarding experience I had hoped the show would be… even if the robot prison was a lot more ghetto than I had thought even besieged SkyNet would settle for.

They also made a stupid error with the blood typing. Sarah, it is revealed, is 0-, the universal donor. “But this guy needs at least 3 units of his own type, AB-” John stands up and asks to be tested… but with a mother who’s O-, he can’t possibly be AB- without some serious genetic mutations going on.

One Response to “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”

  1. Wayfare Says:

    Go to bed! It’s 3:30 in the morning!