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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Season 1 (DVD)

Starring: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker & Summer Glau.

Rated: 15.

Story: Forget Terminator 3 ever happened. A few years after Terminator 2, Sarah Connor (Headey) and her teenage son, John (Dekker), take a jump through time to the present day. They're fugitives from the law and hunted by murderous cyborgs from the future who are intent on killing John before he grows up to lead resistance against Skynet - the computer system still destined to obliterate humanity with nuclear weapons.

Aided by Cameron, a re-programmed cyborg (Glau), Sarah and John attempt to prevent Skynet being created. This tends to involve moral dilemmas and explosives...

Comments: You're not going to get far with this if you haven't seen the first couple of Terminator movies. That said, if you haven't seen the first couple of Terminator movies, why not? Cyborgs, big fights, time travel and Linda Hamilton - the only thing missing is ninjas. Go watch them now.

The TV series is obviously working on a smaller budget, so involves fewer big fights and more tense situations and sneaking about. Thanks to some excellent editing and pacing this works well. Some of the attempts at lightening the mood aren't so great, though, with too many of the jokes centred around cyborgs not understanding human idioms and behaviour.

It would have been easy for The Sarah Connor Chronicles to follow a 'Terminator of the Week' formula but, thankfully, this is avoided. Each episode concentrates on a new lead in stopping Skynet, with the hunt for Sarah and John forming a backdrop to the whole series. The episodes are more self-contained than in Heroes but not as much as in Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately, this is sometimes unsatisfying, providing neither closure nor much overall plot advancement. Despite there only being nine episodes, they quickly blend together. There aren't any duffers but, then again, none really stand out.

All in all, this first season is definitely worth watching if you enjoyed the films. Whether there's enough going on for the show to maintain momentum through a full second season is another question.

Oh, and Lena Headey with an American accent is just wrong.

Conclusion: Good but is it going anywhere?

Explosions: Regular.
Tension: High.
Slightly clunky humour: Occasional.
Psycho cyborgs who just won't die: Frequent.
Ninjas: Not enough.

Rating: 4/5.


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