Last week, the first two episodes of Dexter‘s season two were leaked, months ahead of their planned transmission date. Now, the opening episode of the third season of Weeds has been leaked, but, more interestingly, episode one of the Terminator spin-off, The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Thanks to all of you who mailed in, and thanks particularly to Cedric, who sent in his thoughts on the episode:
“There’s always a danger with the bringing such an iconic film franchise as Terminator to the small screen, that’s you’ll somehow scale it down from epic to something snack-size.
But having seen the opening episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, some concerns have been dismissed, while others have been raised.
The story is a continuation of Terminator 2. The events take place in 1999, two years on. Sarah and John are living an understandably nomadic existence, in constant fear of killer robots out of time.
After a predictable Terminator/Holocaust nightmare to grab the audience’s attention, we’re introduced to the edict-driven Sarah and her now more mature son. Lena Headley, seen recently as Queen Gorgo, pulls off the lead role impressively, and provides some depth to what in the films is a pretty reactive character. Thomas Dekker as John, isn’t like either actor that played this role previously, but seems comfortable as the teenager whose life was ruined by his mother, time travel and future history.
Having set the scene they move on to a new town, pursued by FBI Agent James Ellison. When he appeared I got very concerned that this show might become a modern equivalent of the Incredible Hulk, but without Bixby. But thankfully the plot rapidly twisted away from this, with John’s first day at his new school. In it he’s hit on by an implausibly mature Summer Glau, and attacked by a relief teacher with an automatic pistol hidden under the skin of his right leg. It’s not long before we get to hear the ‘come with me if you want to live!’, but Summer Glau delivers it without a hint of Austrian.
We then get to enjoy some Terminator on Terminator action, and she gets to do some of the excellent physical work that she demonstrated in Firefly, and its movie spin-off Serenity.
Having recreated the Status Quo of protectors and protagonists from T2, the story then goes off at a tangent as they realise that their previous efforts to change the future have failed. Their answer, and a big weakness of the show’s potential, is that we know from T3 that they don’t succeed. But despite this they set off, with a neat journey through time using Terminator technology to 2007, conveniently, to find the origins of Skynet and stop it before things get toasty in 2014.
I’m not sure how well this storyline fits with the movies. I suspect it doesn’t, but it’s pulled off with reasonable aplomb. Effects-wise the prosthetics are at least as good as the movies, although they’ve so far resisted the budget blowing option of polymorphic Terminators. The three seen in the pilot appear like Arnie’s T-101 Terminator, although Summer Glau’s designation is obviously a more compact design.
From a plot perspective the proceedings are efficient and not excessively convoluted, and given the writers’ credentials this is to be expected. Josh Friedman wrote the storyline of Chain Reaction, and screenplays for both War of the Worlds and The Black Dahlia. None of these are amazing, but they’re workman like scripts.
The other creative force at work here is the wonderfully named, David Nutter. His track record is long and jolly impressive. Among other things he directed episodes for 21 Jump Street, The Commish, Space Above and Beyond, The X-Files, Millennium, Roswell, Dark Angel, Band of Brothers, The West Wing, ER, Smallville, Nip/Tuck and The Sopranos.
That’s a big list, but in there are at least half a dozen pilot shows, which appear to be his speciality as a TV director. For this show he’s also credited as a producer, which is something his also did for Smallville, Roswell and The X-Files.
So what do I think? Not sure, I need to see more. As with many pilots this is a strong start, but those people involved in a pilot aren’t often the ones that make the rest of the series. It looks slated for a 13 episode opening season, and I hope it doesn’t suffer the pre-emptive chop and associated indignity that’s befallen Drive and other shows recently”.
Sadly, we’re yet to see the show ourselves, so mail over your thoughts if you’ve seen any clips and let us know what you think…