Adapting a blockbuster film to television is a rare occurrence, and when it happens, it usually doesn’t work. Thankfully, the producers of “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” do not try to duplicate the special effects and roller-coaster action of the “Terminator” film series. That may sound like a bad thing, but the show, in its abbreviated first season, was a compelling, character-driven show, focusing on relationships over body counts.
At the heart of “Chronicles” is Sarah Connor herself, played by Lena Headey. She certainly has the presence to play Sarah, although she inevitably will draw comparisons to Linda Hamilton’s movie performances. In that vein, Headey’s Sarah is much more of carefully calculating, understated character, whereas Hamilton was more paranoid and slightly unhinged. Hopefully, Headey will explore the character more, showing more emotion and a little of that “crazy” side that had the character in a mental institution.
One can also hope that the show’s writers will end the gratuitous narration the Sarah character gives to bookend each episode. The “Terminator” series drips with irony. We don’t need to be hit over the head with it. Having Sarah explain the analogies or give context betrays the character. The writers and producers should trust the sophistication of the viewers to get it.
That said, there is plenty to like here. Thomas Dekker has grown into the character of John Connor, and in the new season, we should see the leader within begin to emerge. Summer Glau has found just the right “niche” to play Cameron, after a shaky start. She continues to get the best lines and adds a whole new dimension to the relationship between mother and son. The three main characters have chemistry and their interaction has gotten better as the storyline has progressed.
Beware! Spoilers follow! The new season has plenty of potential, with some nice storylines to follow and a cliffhanger to answer. We will learn of the fate of Cameron, a Terminator whose model has yet to be identified, and may yet hold some surprises. The new season will also answer lingering questions: why was Agent Ellison (Richard Jones) spared during Kester the Terminator’s massacre? Does he hold some significance in the future? Will Sarah get back “The Turk,” the computer that may be the precursor to Skynet? What role will Derek Reese (John’s future uncle) play? The future is yet to be told.