Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1

Summer Glau does her best impression of that Bush song, Machine Head.

So, as people who’ve known me for a while will attest to, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is often cited as being my favorite movie of all time.

It has all of the elements I most enjoy about fiction: Time travel, post-apocalyptic futures, a strong hero saving people less-strong than he/she/it, a seemingly-unbeatable antagonist, noticeable character development, and a complete lack of a romantic subplot.

(No, seriously, why did the US version of Godzilla have a romantic subplot? Godzilla is the absolute LAST movie that should have people falling in love. Stop it, Hollywood! Stop forcing every movie to have romance!)

If you ask me, the first Terminator movie is just okay. I appreciate it more for setting up T2 than anything. And as I cited immediately after seeing it, I felt Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was basically just a high-budget fanfic remake of T2. Terminator Salvation was the closest we’ve gotten to a movie that lives up to T2 (which it does not), until now.

John Connor: Thomas Dekker vs. Edward Furlong

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles continues the story in 1999, two years after Terminator 2 ends. Sarah Connor (going by the name Sarah Reese) has been proposed to by her most recent boyfriend, Charlie Dixon. Fearing getting stuck in one place for too long, Sarah takes her teenage son John and they bolt. They find a new home and John is enrolled in a new school where John meets a pretty new girl, Cameron. On the second day of school, one of John’s teachers is replaced by substitute, Cromartie, which turns out to be a Terminator (Cyberdyne Systems Model T-888, or just “Triple-Eight” for short). After exiting through the classroom window, John is running for his life, when suddenly he’s saved by the pretty girl, Cameron in a stolen truck. She hits the Triple Eight, pulls up to John, opens the door, and says the first thing that made me totally mark out:

“Come with me if you want to live.”

Summer Glau as Cameron Phillips, the new “protecting” Terminator

This is the line that Kyle Reese first said to Sarah Connor in T1, as well as the line the T-800 said to Sarah in T2 while she was escaping the Pescadaro mental institute. To immediately introduce this line into the series showed that the producers did their homework.

Or that they were just also fans of the franchise. Which would also explain why they named the new character “Cameron,” after the creator of the franchise, James Cameron.

Turns out that Cameron is a Terminator (though her model number is not given), and she’s been sent back by John in 2027 to protect John in 1999, as well as warn him of the upcoming Judgment Day, which has now been pushed back to 2011. Through a series of crazy mishaps, the trio of heros get time-travel’d to 2007, where they need to begin their lives anew. And completely stopped T3 from ever happening, which was completely welcome.

Sarah Connor: Lena Headly vs. Linda Hamilton

I ended up marathoning through the entire first season in one night (which kept me up ’til 3am), and it was well worth the lack of sleep for all of the complexities and layers that got added. Each episode truly was like its own individual movie with an overarching plot.

I very much enjoyed the first season, and I’m looking forward to watching season two. If you dug the first two Terminator movies, then definitely watch them again and check out this series. And if you’ve never watched anything Terminator, I still think it’s worth giving the first few episodes a shot, and see if it’s for you.