Review: Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2×1

In a time loop

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, Fox

In the UK: Virgin1 at some point

It’s back. Woo hoo? Not exactly. I’m almost getting tired of repeating myself* but by the looks of it, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, apart from having the most needlessly long, pretentious title of all TV shows, is pretty much the same as it was last season so that’s what I’m going to have to do.

All the same, there are enough new wrinkles in the set-up that it’s worth having a brief chat about the second season and whether it’s worth joining if you’ve not seen it before.

To keep it brief, here are the basic problems with the show that seem to be the same as before

  1. The acting is almost universally awful. Garret Dillahunt is the only one there who seems to know what he’s doing and he got one whole line in this episode. WTF? Give him all the lines, for heaven’s sake
  2. The baddies aren’t threatening enough. Terminators are being put out of action as though the heroes are merely rebooting Windows
  3. The action’s pretty lame. The budget and ambition aren’t quite there to put in any decent set-pieces
  4. There’s nothing really new here. It’s like so much fan fic in which every single element of the movies gets re-used in ‘homage’, but nothing is ever really added to the basic parameters of the show. They even wanted to have Kyle in it, but eventually balked at the impossibility of that and went for his brother, Derek, instead

So that aside, accepting that not every director is James Cameron, a TV show is a different beast from a film and when you’re playing to fans, ‘homages’ are what they want, is there much to be liked about the new season of Terminator: TSCC?

A few things. But only a few.

  1. John’s going to have some (cute) human love interest (or is she human? You never know in these things).
  2. The lead singer of Garbage, Shirley Manson, is playing a new character, an evil Scottish high-tech CEO, who initially seems about as pretentious and interesting as block of wood Lena Headey’s Sarah Connor. But she turns out to be a whole lot more interesting by the end of the first episode. What’s even more interesting is that despite the fact this is her first acting role and is (deliberately) wooden, she’s actually better than most of the original cast
  3. Erm.

Otherwise, it’s pretty average to just above average stuff. Nothing is very exceptional, the writing’s quite poor and bar a few good ideas here and there, it’s pretty much there to fill up the schedule between eight and nine o’clock and nothing more. It’s action eye candy of a very ordinary kind.

So, without wishing to repeat myself again, too much, if you like a bit of live action Terminator fan fic, this’ll do fine, if you’ve had a couple of beers; otherwise, steer clear.

You can see some clips and promos over here.

* The sound of my own voice is so alluring, I’m not quite there yet


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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