Saturday, 11 April 2009

Of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2

Ahhhh shit. It's season finale time. Bollocks. I'm getting increasingly busy but I'm aiming to keep on top of all these reviews. So whilst it's going to be fairly slow for a few weeks, in let's say 3-5 weeks I will be posting quite often. In fact today I'm aiming to do three reviews today (this is number one, followed by a film then Doctor Who). Plus then I have Red Dwarf to talk about (yay!). So here we go, whilst Pushing Daisies died last year I still haven't finished the Season, so this is the first proper season finale of the year that I will be reviewing (out of shows I'm not desperately trying to catch up on).

So Terminator. I ranked Terminator as my seventh favourite show of last year, and whilst it has definitely fumbled the ball over the second half of the season, it recovered greatly over the last six episodes. It won't be breaking into my top ten shows of 2009, unless Season 3 is made, which looking at the ratings is only going to happen if Fox DOESN'T want to make money (hahahaha). But on with the show.

Terminator is one of the better genre shows on television. Battlestar Galactica finished a few months ago meaning that Terminator was the only show on television wherein robots were a focal point, and it handled it pretty well. The show had some really, really strong episodes (in particular "Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today") however it also has some weak episodes. I'm not talking Heroes weak, but about half way through the season it becomes, quite frankly, boring. I reached a stage where I didn't give a crap and it became a bit like Heroes where I could miss an episode and not give a shit. Then in the last six episodes, the show comes back with a vengeance rocking it all the way to it's finale.

So why did it get boring? Well it was mostly a trilogy of episodes that occurred about midway through, all focusing on a single character. Now the show has an amazing number of awesome characters. John Connor, Cameron and Cromartie/John Henry (C/JH = Best BTW). However they focus on Sarah Connor, the title character and it just doesn't work. The show was weaker on both sides for a few episodes but it was these three where the show does fall apart. It's not because Lena Heady as Sarah Connor is a bad actress, it's just that the character isn't that interesting, at least not on the show. Plus she just generally works better in the background rather than up front. Which is a shame because the show is named after her so she does take the foreground quite often, but ahhh well the show recovered.

My favourite part of the show is definitely John Henry. John Henry was once a Terminator but is now hardwired into the internet and it is by far the most interesting the story that the show goes into. I wish that this story had taken up more screen time, but the characters that he interacts with aren't part of the core four characters which means that it's just a subplot in most episodes which builds to a semi-climax in the finale. I'm going to say Garret Dillahunt is one of the best actors working in television/film at the moment and I want to see him doing far more things (he was also No Country for Old Men showing a bit more of his pedigree).

Then there was the final 6 episodes death spree. They killed off FOUR main characters in five episodes. One had been building to that point for several episodes but it was still shocking. The second gets a two parter devoted to her character, gives a bit more depth and then leaves her fate open ended (I'm going to say dead). Another character comes back from an extended absence and dies and then there was Derek. It is quite possibly the ballsiest death I've ever seen outside of The Wire. He just dies, ten minutes into the episode. No mourning, no long drawn out potential he will die. It's over in a second but for the rest of the episode you expect it to be a fake out but it isn't (at least in most respects). I was stunned but I have to applaud the show for doing it.

Now the finale, I've literally only just seen it. I'm really quite happy with it. As a season finale goes it's really good. It leaves plenty of questions open for Season 3 and ends with an amazing twist that just left me smiling. The main problem is that there probably won't be an ending. We're not going to find out what happens unless a miracle happens and the show gets renewed. The other problem is that a movie can't be made because Terminator is already a movie and number four comes out in a few weeks. So unless the show wants to start becoming part of the main Terminator mythos it has to work pretty damn hard (although if a Sarah Connor Chronicles character shows up in T4 then there is more probability we'll get a third season. I really want a third season because the show ends with so many possibilities and sadly unlike Veronica Mars, Firefly, Arrested Development and Pushing Daisies we probably won't get any closure at all.

Overall the show is really good. The first eight episodes are some of the best genre television you'll probably ever see. Sadly after that the show takes a small decline (probably due to Cromartie's death) culminating in the Sarah's trilogy of episodes in episode 16. Then the final six episodes come back and redeem the show astonishingly well. There are so many great episodes, the four I recommended in my end of year wrap up and the last six make ten frankly amazing episodes. Sadly the three boring episodes drag it down a little and the other nine are only decent, not outstanding but make the show one of the strongest shows airing at the moment. Plus it's far better than the godawful T3. So it's 8.5/10 for the second season of Terminator, and probably it's last.

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