Tuesday, May 6, 2008

REMOTE TVictim # 2 : Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles

(This blog series is my take on various TV shows that I don't watch on a regular basis. I review just one episode, and will most likely not do so based on context or series "mythology." What you are about to read is rather shortsighted, often biased, and probably loopy. Please do not be offended if I diss your all-time favorite TV show at one point, or if I adore the ones you hate.)

My memories of the Terminator movie franchise can be summed up in this order:

Terminator - Michael Biehn rocks.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Linda Hamilton's arms: prosthetically-enhanced?

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - Nick Stahl can't be Michael Biehn's offspring!!!

Because I was then so focused on the actors, I missed the mythology of the whole thing. So hit me, Ahnuld. Last Saturday, a really bad cold and lethargic limbs prevented me from going anywhere, so I lay down to watch all three films, one after the other, on Star Movies. And I went, wow. Is that what it's all about? Strangely unsatisfied, I switched channels and found the TV series version: Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I decided to go the extra mile and see if the TV version will fill in the gaping holes left by the movie storylines.

This particular episode had Kyle Reese's brother Derek in it. With no effort, the scene I caught (I failed to tune in at the beginning), where Resistance fighters were supposedly caught and herded into a basement, and chained to the floor, tied in neatly with Kyle's story in Terminator I. Five seconds later, I got lost, as the scenes vacillate between Derek, lying injured on Sarah and John's couch, and the 2029 (?) Derek whispering bitter nothings to a guy who keeps saying, "It's my fault. I built Skynet." Cut to commercial...

It was an awfully excruciating experience to have a trilogy so fresh in my mind, so vivid in my awareness, come crashing down with a rude thud, as the characters, plot, even the effects go bouncing off in different directions. I find the actress who plays Sarah too be all wrong; I can't explain why. Thomas Dekker's John Connor looks ill at ease, like he was cast for his slight resemblance to daddy Kyle, and nothing else. And who did they replace Ahnuld with? Cameron Philips (the obvious reference to THE James Cameron is cheesy), a ballet dancing cyborg. It was all so contrived! I had more empathy with Jessica Alba in Dark Angel, though I find that series just as pretentious.

It will take some superhuman effort, but I'll have to wait until Terminator 4 slams into theatres in 2009. Christian Bale has reportedly been cast as an adult John Connor, and a yet unnamed actor will appear as Kyle, whom I miss so terribly. Maybe then I'll get my answers, and my revenge against the tv series producers that dreamt up the nightmare I just endured.

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