‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’: Season 1 DVD review

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This television spin-off of one of the most popular science fiction film series of all time was always going to be an event (imagine if Aliens went on a television route after the second film rather than the other sequels and dire AvP movies).

So it comes as somewhat of a relief that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is by no means a poor effort. Wisely joining the story after Terminator 2 (and behaving like 2003’s Rise Of The Machines never happened), the TV show tries admirably to echo its predecessors (removing bullets from bodies in empty garages, “Come with me if you want to live” and a throwaway “I’ll be back” in the second episode).

With McG’s Terminator 4 on the horizon (it can portend to be a “reboot”, but will inevitably continue in the trend of unnecessary sequels and remakes that will plague us next year) this is passable television, but it does prompt the question: what’s the point? With music attempting to ape Brad Fiedel’s memorable score (here reduced to just two iconic bars, but little more), there is as much reason to make a Terminator TV show as there was the ill-fated Bionic Woman remake. The English actress theme is continued here with 300‘s Lena Headey making a passable Sarah Connor (more so than Michelle Ryan’s recent stab at Jaime Sommers).

The major issue is that you can pretty much second guess every step: the central conceit is that the Connors have ported forward through time into the present day (2007) to evade the current strain of hunter killer T800’s and ensure that Skynet’s imminent creation will be forestalled. Summer Glau plays the protector Terminator (good to see that the technology has evolved to such a dramatic extent that the new breed of Terminators can get spots) and the trio get into all sorts of scrapes that involve John getting into seemingly mortal danger, only to be saved at the last minute by either mum or substitute girlfriend.

The skids were put under the first season’s planned run of 13 episodes with the writer’s strike, meaning we just get nine tranches, though a second season has recently been commissioned and the recent victory in the world of HD has ensured that this is a significant release on Blu-Ray much like the early days of DVD was for The Matrix. All in all, a nice try, though this autumn’s Season 2 seems quite unnecessary based on this showing. It should be noted, however, that this is a vastly inferior release to the Region 1 version in terms of extras.

Released on DVD and Blu-ray on 11th August 2008 by Warner Home Video.