Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And now color me a bit baffled

As you can see in my last post, I was pretty impressed with the pilot for The Sarah Connor Chronicles that aired on Sunday. Last night's second episode, however, left me a little more mezzo on the whole affair and made me realize that I'm actually quite a lenient logic Nazi at times.

Here's the good:

  • I loved that they were confident enough to keep in the silent scene where the Hispanic chick sizes Cameron up. Nothing to do with the plot and no action--just a nice little slight comedy moment for the characters.
  • I love that Sarah knows when and how she dies (died?) and has to process this information, as well as the matter-of-factness with which Cameron tells her.
  • I love, love, love the fact that Cameron (obviously) is a badass, but Sarah is the one who manages to take out the Terminator (notice I say take out, not kill) near the beginning.
  • The introduction of others sent back to 2007--freedom fighters and Terminators--is an intriguing addition to the story.
  • The action sequences were still quite impressive.

Here's the mezzo/illogic:

  • After spending time in the pilot staying true to Terminator Rule #1 regarding time travel (i.e., that only living flesh can travel through time) by making the Terminator slice open his thigh in order to take out his gun, this episode pissed all over that by having the decapitated metallic head fly out of the time sphere into 2007 along with our heroes. Worse than that, it seems incredibly odd that, had a nearly intact Terminator been left in 1999, it would end up in a landfill instead of a military compound or some tech firm. I mean, come on, the entire plot of Terminator 2 is based on the fact that someone took the Terminator that Sarah Connor left crushed in the original movie--and all that was left of that one was a forearm and a few other small pieces. Even worse, with the reveal that there are already Terminators in 2007, it begs the question: Why even have the Terminator from 1999 come to 2007? What's the point? The silly explanations involved to make it work within the context of the Terminator world and even simply rational logic just feel like wasted effort for something that could have easily happened in another way. However...

...though my roommate was royally pissed off about this violation of Terminator rules to the point where he said he almost didn't want to watch anymore, I'm willing to give the show a pass. First off, there's always the possibility that they will be able to explain these inconsistencies in the Terminator mythology (as well as logic) in ways that will surprise me. Anything's possible, right?

But the more important reason for me: Everything that Bionic Woman got wrong, this show gets right. The characters are strong and clear. The writing is crisp and economical, while still allowing a little room for characters to breathe. There's girl power, but instead of being told about it or having it thrust in our faces in obvious ways, we simply see it happen when our two heroines kick ass. Because that's the story being told--there's no need for embellishment and hand-waving.

So... Where am I now?

Cautiously optimistic. I'm still not sure if this show has an of-the-week storyline or what those stories would entail. I feel like they've written themselves into a bit of a corner as far as the logic thing, at least where die hard Terminator fans are concerned. And I'd love to see them get away from having a Terminator in every episode, or really quick the Terminators are going to feel like the vampires in Buffy.

But I'll continue watching because in two episodes, Josh Friedman was able to do what Bionic Woman, Journeyman and others couldn't do for me this season: make me care about what happens to the characters.

See you next week.

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