The Sarah Connor Chronicles could be a disaster, and not just because the title is really hard to say out loud. It’s from the creators of Terminator 3: The Rise of Machines, which is not exactly a selling point. The show is also trying to tap into a much loved sequel; it's sci-fi, and with sci-fi there are always die-hard fans who rightly or wrongly are invariably hard to please.
The role of Sarah Connor is also a very big and muscly one to fill – Linda Hamilton owned that character, you believed she could open up a can of whoop-ass at any moment. She said things like “I'll pump him full of this shit; I swear!” and you believed her. So can a series chronicling her life be any good, especially without the likes of Hamilton and Schwarzenegger?
The SCC starts off roughly where Terminator 2: Judgement Day left off. The audience finds Sarah and John Connor in 1999, where they are once again being pursued by Skynet agents (no free broadband package here).
Sick and tired of running, they decide to stay put in the future (2007) and fight in order to save the world and the inevitable Armageddon that is heading its way. With no Bruce about it’s up to the Connors, with a little help from a robotic friend, to stop Skynet.
Lena Headey steps in as Sarah Connor, a British actress who has proved her worth with films such as Mrs Dalloway and Aberdeen, not to mention her Hollywood breakthrough role as the anti-stay-at-home-Spartan-housewife in the critically acclaimed 300. She is a slightly different shade of Sarah but still a very dangerous and effective one. She says things like “Half an hour. One bag… plus the guns. I’ll make pancakes.” What’s not to love?
Thomas Dekker plays John Connor and Summer Glau plays Cameron – his little robotic future friend. It’s not long after they meet at his new high school that all hell breaks loose. The pilot as a whole is well acted, despite some really cheesy lines, and sets up the (well known, nearly worn out) story and indeed the series nicely.
The SCC is unlikely to be as popular as 24 or Heroes because it’s not as accessible and weirdly not everyone is into killer robots. For you Terminator fans out there, you’ll either hate it or tolerate it but it's well worth a watch or two. The budget is there for the big stunts and the acting capability of Headey is enough to drive the series.
Sarah Connor never said she would be back, but we’re strangely glad she is.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles aired in the US on 14th January and is coming soon to the UK on Virgin 1.
[story by Gemma Addy]