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David Hines [userpic]

SCC: looking up

February 25th, 2008 (11:14 pm)
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Since half the folks on my flist seem to be geeking out over THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, I gave the show another look. (I ran screaming about halfway through the pilot, which I just found to be abysmal and boring. This means that it was worse than the pilot for the new KNIGHT RIDER -- I just fell asleep halfway through that one.) It's not a great show, but it's a heck of a lot better in the later episodes. Of the episodes I've seen, there has yet to be one that really works for me, but there have been several individual scenes that were nicely effective: Brian Austin Green's Derek Reese uneasily interacting with Summer Glau's good!Terminator as she calmly destroys one of the baddie machines; Sarah's ex-fiance's wife being nicely unstupid. The show still isn't firing on all cylinders, though, and even in the best of scenes something feels a little off behind the camera. I don't know if it's the editing, or the directing, or the cinematography, but it feels a little clumsy, a little... not quite there. The show needs to do a better job on guest casting; the ex-fiance's wife had a nicely-written speech, but the performance, though it started out fine, wobbled into the stodgy. (Dean Winters, who plays the ex-fiance, also annoys me: the guy was excellent as Ryan O'Reily on OZ, but he's got to loosen up a little here.)

Overall, I think the biggest problem the show will have to face is getting good individual stories out. The best TV series in speculative fiction have a simple premise that offers a wide variety of storytelling possibilities -- BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER's "High school is (literally) hell" may be the best high-concept premise in SFTV history, because as soon as you hear that pitch you realize, "Jeez, there's a zillion stories you can tell there." THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES will have a harder job turning out good stories week to week; it'd be all too easy to turn it into a game of dodge-Terminators-stomp-Terminators-rinse-lather-repeat.

Comments

Posted by: cmar_wingnut (cmar_wingnut)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)

I got through I think two eps, and lost interest. Not a good sign.

Posted by: madripoor_rose (madripoor_rose)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)

The show has some potential, I'm just not sure I trust the writers to realize it. What people keep coming back to in their reviews is that the writers are resisting the urge to turn Cameron into a 'superhero'. In two episodes there are people that need help, and Cameron doesn't step in to save them 'because she's the good robot'. It would break their cover, draw attention to the Connors in one, or it was outside the mission she was given by Sarah so it didn't occur to her. A robot actually acting like a robot. We usually get the Pinocchio plot of the robot longing to be human/actually already is human but isn't treated like one.

I'm afraid that fandom is reading too much into it and this is actually supposed to be telegraphing that Cameron is evil and will create Skynet herself or something.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)

Hey! Sorry, I got totally slammed with stuff this weekend -- didn't have a chance to call.

...and now I have to leave town again. :( Next time?

Have fun with jury duty. Hope it's nothing massive!

Posted by: trinfaneb (trinfaneb)
Posted at: February 27th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)

I find it heartening that TSCC is trying to develop its own mythology while still paying homage to the terminator films (includes T3 I believe) and not turning into a "terminator battle of the week show." This week's episode "The Demon Hand" was very strong (featuring Dr. Silberman). Can't wait to see more. Unless of course the idiots at Fox decide to cancel it...

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