Normally, I'd be putting in my third-episode verdict on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. However, I've just finished watching the third episode and it was sufficiently better than the first two to make me want to hold off until episode five.
The first episode was awful, even more awful than the pilot since the producers chose to wimpify Sarah Connor (spoilers) down from her already wimpy, anorexic state in the pilot. With actors with less acting talent than vacuum cleaners and a plot that was just daft and overly complicated, it left a lot to be desired, bar a nifty little twist towards the end.
Episode two was dull. The less said about it the better, other than it was trying to establish the post-twist set-up for the rest of the series.
Episode three, apart from the same pretension exhibited by the first two episodes as well as a fatal misunderstanding of history, was actually pretty smart and interesting. The show is obviously put together by fanboys who revere the first two Terminator movies and are at least willing to make an acknowledging nod in the direction of the inferior third, even while they massively undermine it (and the proposed sequel).
Terminator 2's underlying theme for Sarah Connor was that she had made herself into a human Terminator; the show continues this.
As you probably know, the original idea of James Cameron's for the Terminator was that it was an “infiltration unit”. This was back when it was going to be played by Lance Henricksen rather than Arnold Schwarzenegger - Arnie couldn't infiltrate a morgue. It was the scary idea of a random, unstoppable stranger whom you could pass unknowingly in a crowd and wouldn't stop chasing you until it killed you.
The theme for the Sarah Connor Chronicles is that Sarah is now making herself into this original vision and becoming an infiltration unit in an effort to stop the rise of Skynet.
There is of course more to the show than this, and it is managing to exhibit more of those nifty twists - as well as some plain daft ones. Exactly how the Terminators work, what the resistance is like and more is all being slowly constructed. But Lena Headey is still just plain awful, as is Summer Glau, I'm afraid. Nevertheless, it's sufficiently improved from that first episode that I'm going to stick with it for another couple at least.
PS It's finally using some of the music from Terminator 2. Hooray! It's using it incorrectly, but hey ho, you can't have everything.
- February 16, 2008: Fifth-episode verdict: Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles
My fifth-episode verdict on The Sarah Connor Chronicles