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Review and Thoughts: Terminator – the Sarah Conner Chronicles - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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January 14th, 2008


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03:02 pm - Review and Thoughts: Terminator – the Sarah Conner Chronicles
When I first heard about this show, I was exceedingly unimpressed. I've only seen the first of the Terminator movies, and found it enjoyable in a very 1980s disposable action picture fashion. The very idea of the 2nd film disturbed me - having the hulking Aryan villain from the first film become one of the heroes of the 2nd film seemed too close a reflection of the changing attitudes about fascism in the US. Also, given that the Terminators films seem like a far better choice for adaptation into a survival horror console game than a TV series, I was very dubious about the concept.

Also, the idea of a TV show where the female protagonist's primary claim to fame is being the mother of the (naturally male) messiah, did not sit particularly well with me. However, I heard several positive reviews and saw a preview which revealed that this time the robot ally was played by Summer Glau, who did such a marvelous job playing River Tam on Firefly. Also, not only is the writer's strike making worthwhile (or even watchable) TV even more difficult to find that it was before, I'm always willing to give an action show with a female protagonist a try. Of late, such shows have far too often been sexist crap like the new Bionic Woman, which I was pleased to hear was slipping badly in ratings, and I was hoping for something better.

I'm still dubious about the long, or even medium-term prospects of this show – killing Terminator-of-the-week seems a particularly dull formula, but I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was significantly less sexist than most TV, and especially than most action TV.

I still remember when I first saw Xena Warrior Princess, and then 2 years later the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and La Femme Nikita shows, I wondered if geeky action TV was finally growing up and overcoming many decades of media sexism. Then we had George Bush and September 11, and suddenly geek TV was back to being sexist crap like Heroes or utter crap like Stargate. Action shows with female protagonists have been relatively rare of late, but there have been a few fairly good ones like Blood Ties. Also, and equally positively, there have been shows like The Dresden Files and Burn Notice, which featured male protagonists, but which had a large number of competent, interesting and generally very positive female characters. Unfortunately, such shows rarely last more than one season. If you ever hear some right-wing jackass comment about how sexism is dead or at least no longer very important in the US, tell them to turn on TV and look at what they see there.

In any case, I've only watched the first episode, and I have no idea how it will play out over the next few, but it looks both more interesting and more positive than I expected.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:roniliquidity
Date:January 14th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
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A note on T2, I would say the protagonist is actually Sarah Connor. Due to her experience in the first movie she spent the intervening time becoming a paramilitary bad ass unseen since the likes of Ripley. I LOVE Linda Hamilton in 2T.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 15th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
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Agreed. It's a great, great movie.
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From:kalyx
Date:January 15th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
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Agreed. I love T2 for Linda Hamilton. So I definitely tuned into the show. I was very disappointed. She is such a "mom" on the show. I was constantly jumping up and yelling, "no, that's not what Sarah Connor would say/do". She wouldn't coddle John, she would tell him to buck up and act like the leader he was born to be. And what happened to the smart ass John Connor from the movie. He's grown up to be a thoughtful, quiet high school student? I don't think this John Connor would have broken Sarah out of the mental institute.

And now that John has a new terminator pet that is a girl, I must know whether she is fully functional. And what of the morality of sex with terminators? hmmm. I'm guessing these issues won't be addressed right away.

And I probably will miss it if they are since I doubt I'll tune in again. I'll just watch T2 again. :)
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From:mindstalk
Date:January 15th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
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What's wrong with Stargate? -- also, which Stargate?
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From:heron61
Date:January 16th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC)
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The first few years of the original wasn't really my sort of thing, but it had it's moments. After that, I thought it became pretty darn dubious. I gave the season premier introducing Ben Browder and Claudia Black a try, because I loved both of them on Farscape (and generally think Claudia Black is excellent), but was deeply unimpressed by Browder's complete reprise of John Crichton, as well as the generally cheesiness of the show.

Stargate Atlantis has everything going for it in terms of things I like, and I barely managed to watch one of the early episodes. From my PoV, it was almost as bad as Star Trek: Enterprise in terms of general lack of talent in both writing and acting.
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From:pompe
Date:January 15th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
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Joyous times, another movie spinoff series... ...but then I never understood the appeal of Buffy and I'd preferred the original Nikita movie had neither US remakes or TV series made.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 15th, 2008 10:51 am (UTC)
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Oh - and the Terminator _isn't_ the hero of the second movie. He may well be pressed into assisting the heroes, but at the least it's a very complex view of heroics.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:January 15th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)

speaking of TV

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The Law & Order franchises (and other police procedurals) are far more egalitarian about women's roles than any other show on TV curently. Men and women are featured side by side doing the same jobs and the women are just as tough, smart and competent as the men. There are also a high number of female characters on those shows as well.
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From:waterfire741
Date:January 16th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
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Personally, I thought it was pretty well done, particularly if you look at the bits where they've lost 7 years, and WHAT a seven years it was. Gods know I've watched worse bits. I've actually watched 5 minutes of "SCOTT BAIO IS 46 AND PREGNANT", for Cripes sake. And NO, I'm not proud.
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From:heron61
Date:January 16th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
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I watched the 2nd half of the premier and am more impressed with the show after seeing the 2nd hour than the first. They are making Sarah Connor exceptionally competent, which is both refreshing because that's rare in female characters, and because the sort of clear-headed competence they are giving her is fairly rare in action-tv protagonists of either gender - there's definitely a preponderance of bumblers and lucky idiots in most shows.
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From:waterfire741
Date:January 16th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
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very true, unfortunately. Sarah Connor's always been very competent, so at least they're carrying that over to TV

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