Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV Series 2008–2009) Poster

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Most underrated show, best TV ever
artdev9910 August 2009
I admit I was skeptical when I saw the promos for Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. I was prepared to not like the show.

Fortunately I gave it some time to develop itself and find its way. Dumping the T3 time line was brilliant because, as someone who has seen all the Terminator movies..T3 was junk.

Some people seem disappointed because TSCC is not one long constant chase like the movies. They are misguided and unsophisticated. One could not sustain that kind of tension over a TV season. Instead, what we have in TSCC is actual plot lines and character development! Thomas Dekker appeared ineffectual early on until the viewer realizes that we are watching a 15 yr old boy who thought he had escaped the horror of the machines for good, only to find "they are back". He is fearful, and feels incapable of leading an army. Some people criticize that portrayal. Yet, how should a 15 yr old feel in that situation? Exactly like that.

As the series progresses we see John Connor progress and become more like the leader he will some day be. One could make the comparison to Greek tragedy and the concept of fatalism where the hero can embrace his fate or try to avoid it. He begins to take chances and use initiative. This is quite entertaining to watch once the viewer begins to understand the process.

Frankly the show is wonderful. It exists on so many levels. And, to dismiss this as merely an action and explosion show is incorrect. This show is first and foremost about people. And, the interactions between cast members are refreshingly real. All the cast members give wonderful performances, even down to the lesser players. Summer Glau, a principal, is fantastic. She supplies just the right recipe of killer instinct and "ingenue" as an infiltrator terminator and the balance keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat as they watch the "machine" take on human behavior..but perhaps, not quite.

I have never purchased a TV show on DVD before and seldom have I purchased movies. But, I have purchased TSCC season 1 and have preordered the season 2 DVD. If anything, rewatching episodes, allows one to appreciate the series even more. With each reviewing, subtleties and nuances are revealed that were overlooked on first view. Try it yourself. Cue in on Hedley's one on one scenes with Dekker. They have an excellent rapport. You will see a single mom who is tightly bonded to her son and torn between the need to protect the child she loves and fostering the development of the leader of the resistance. Watch the subtle interactions between the principals when they share a scene, small glances, expressions and body language are so wonderfully communicative. The camera work takes you right into the Connors kitchen to sit among the Connors and observe the family's interaction. By the end of the first season, you will think you actually *know* the Connors.

Some here, complain that the TV show is not "like the movies". Celebrate that. This TV series blows the movies away. Because, it is the story that counts not the special effects. T3 and T4 are especially over shadowed by the excellence of TSCC

I have never gone out of my way like this to defend, of all things, a TV show for heaven's sake but, this show richly deserves the legions of fans it has created.

If this show goes away, we may never see TV this good again.
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Best show Fox ever had......period
nailz-DX4 August 2009
The Terminator films were awesome, mostly the first two films. In the first it was about a woman who fought for survival but it was much more than that, it was a possible disastrous future, a warning that we as man might be treading the wrong path in regards to technology.

Terminator is just fiction but it still makes you think. Terminator 2 was much the same film as the original but now the destroyer becomes the protector, the heroes just run from a threat they aren't sure how to destroy then they do.....

Sarah Connor Chronicles was a totally different show than it's film parents, It stayed mostly in one place and they rarely ever just ran. At the shows core there was a strong drama around a son and mother and this machine in their midst. Sarah Connor is a complex woman who suffered much in life but still manages to make time for family, she fumbles sometimes in that role but that's what makes her so great.

Some people might blast the show for it's effects or it's action or goofy dialog, I think these were the shows strongest points. TSCC wasn't perfect but it was much better than anything else on Fox. I honestly dare anyone to watch every single episode that aired and see the story that unfolds and tell me that this show has nothing to offer because I would put my money on Terminator over anything else on TV not just Fox. I say that because frankly I'm tired of "Reality TV" and I'm sick of ads for things I care little about, I didn't pay for cable just to be bombarded with BS.......

Anyways, Fox has since canceled the show in favor of Dollhouse, WTF? I look at that news like this, Fox are a group of complete idiots when it comes to TV anymore but...at least the show had a chance and lasted two seasons, most shows don't even get that..... Bravo Fox for killing another show and angering millions of fans.
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Left hanging
Jason7 August 2009
It's a GREAT pity this show has been canceled just as it was really gathering momentum. I found Season One a little hard to get into but season two had me chained to my chair every Friday night (last episode screened on Fox in Australia last night - 07AUG2009).

In Season Two the characters began to really develop and the interplay between them was becoming more and more intriguing. Apart from the three main actors, who are now excelling in their roles, the support cast is equally strong.

The story lines were developing faster and kept you guessing where the show would lead, with a twist every now and then taking it in an unexpected direction. The Season Two finale was excellent and gave the impression Season Three would open up a new swathe of story lines and begin to answer some of the lingering questions from the first two series.

This show is a winner with a great (and attractive!) cast and great story lines - which it makes it so hard to understand the shortsighted approach Fox has taken. It has plenty of legs in it and is begging for someone with some business nous to pick it up for a third, fourth and maybe fifth season! I remember how years ago Buffy was in trouble after only it's 2nd or 3rd season, yet someone was fortunately smart enough to realize the huge fan base that had developed and it went on to run for 7 seasons (and also spin-off Angel) - no doubt lining some executives pockets rather nicely.

TSCC is another one of those shows that has struck a chord with it's viewers and developed a loyal fan base which continues to grow as more and more people discover it.

One can only hope those smart executives are still out there.
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This show is UNDERRATED -- Definitely Great TV
ThomasJeff10 March 2009
I read all the bad reviews, and watched all the episodes. Trust me, the people giving it bad reviews watched only the pilot or two episodes and gave up too quickly. The show evolves and gets much better than the first few episodes. The plots are exciting, much more than Fringe (which can be disgusting and predictable) or even Dollhouse (which can be too unrealistic), two shows that I also really like this season.

I'll tell you something, I never bought a DVD for a TV show in my life, this is the first time and I've watched every popular show imaginable. This show has great plots, dialogue, and layered meanings and themes hidden within the show. If you liked any of the terminator films, you'll absolutely love this show. If you like any scifi or action TV shows, you'll definitely love this show. Just don't expect it to be like the Terminator movies with humongous budgets and explosions (yet it has quite a lot in each episode).

The Terminators portrayed in the series are amazing. The evil terminator seems so robotic and yet its ability to trick humans is wonderful. The complexities of the terminator characters are very entertaining.

Summer Glau is probably the BEST terminator ever. I love Arnold but she really makes the terminator seem realistic (why would a genius AI infiltrating humans send a bodybuilder? They'd send a little girl!!!).

The AI development storyline for Skynet is intense, alluding to chess was a great idea.

Sarah Connor played by Lena Headey, is very realistic. A very imperfect but tough woman who is on the verge of insanity--yet still tries to behave like a mother. She goes through some tough struggles.

John Connor sucked in the first few episodes, I'm sorry, but resistance are not "laid back, mellow, irrational, teenage delinquents"-- Don't worry though the character evolves into a fearsome resistance leader and engineer. He also struggles with trying to be a normal person and accepting his destiny (quite realistic).

Cromartie, the terminator who tries to kill John, played by Garret Dillahunt is an excellent actor (you probably seen him in Last House on the Left).

Important: The season finale of the second season was probably one of the best season finales I have ever seen in any TV show. It's definitely worth every penny, I really think you will be entertained, especially if you loved Terminator films.
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Go Cameron! It's your built day!...
Chalice_Of_Evil8 August 2008
Despite what some others have said, the series with the too-long name DOESN'T "crap all over the movies" it was spun off from. It actually *builds* upon what has come before and expands the universe that was set up in the first two films (having the good sense to pretend as if the dismal T3 never happened). No, it's not quite like the movies, but that's a *good* thing (since this IS a series, and thus it requires story arcs that can play out over the course of a whole season).

As the infamous Sarah Connor, Lena Headey does one hell of a job picking up where Linda Hamilton left off. She might not be exactly like the movies' interpretation, nor should she be. This is a reinterpretation of Sarah Connor, and Lena gives it her all, doing the character justice. She fits the role well, is believable and manages to perfectly balance Sarah's toughness and leadership role with that of a protective mother who'll do anything to keep her son alive. She's edgy, she's intense, she kicks major butt, but also conveys Sarah's vulnerability (not to mention the weight of the world that she carries on her shoulders) in a nicely nuanced performance. Her portrayal of Sarah Connor makes you believe in this tough-as-nails mother and you're on her side every step of the way. I feel a bit sorry for Lena, though - the fact that she has to deliver those pesky voice-overs each episode (as well as a ridiculously long "Previously, on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles..." at the start of each episode. Surely they could've shortened it to just simply "Previously..."). The voice-overs do wear a bit thin eventually (especially when Sarah's referencing something totally obscure), but then sometimes they're extremely relevant to the story and thus their inclusion is justified.

"Isn't there some guy? Some guy who's meant to save the world or something?" I hear you ask. Ah yes, John Connor. As the future leader of the human resistance in the war against Skynet, one might not have expected him to be so...emo. Thankfully, though, he's not TOO heavy on the angst. He's actually a damn sight better than both the whiny interpretations of the character that have come before. While he *does* still whine on occasion, he's much more accepting of his destiny than we've previously seen. It's great to see him learn and grow, as his mother trains him and teaches him life lessons in Not Getting The Human Race Slaughtered. Thomas Dekker admirably portrays the troubled young John, and his interaction with his mother is what keeps the series grounded. They have their ups and downs, but what comes across most clearly is how much they care for each other and that they would quite literally move heaven and earth to keep the other one safe. It's one of the strongest mother/son relationships in a series that I've seen a good long while. The excellent chemistry between the two actors is immediately evident, and it's because of this that their interaction on screen comes across as so believable.

As John's other female protector in the series, the multi-skilled chameleon, Summer Glau, proves to be the series' greatest asset. She brings considerable emotion and depth to what is...essentially...a robot. "What's a robot doing, showing emotion and depth?" you may ask. Good question. They explain this within the first two episodes. Cameron Phillips (her first name obviously being a nod to the creator of the franchise, while her last name may well be acknowledging the tool used to put her together on her 'built day' - the Phillips head screwdriver) is more than just a machine. We saw in T2 that Arnie was capable of "learning" things that John taught him, and this time around they've taken it a step further. Not only is she capable of eating chips and picking up lingo (her favourite phrase being "That's a tight present."), but she's also far better at remaining inconspicuous - when attending high school with John - than big old Arnie could have ever been. That's not to say that she doesn't come off as slightly odd to those around her. Almost everyone notices there's something a little 'off' about Cameron, but it's not enough to blow hers and John's cover as siblings.

Summer Glau continues to impress and show off her incredible range, bringing so much more to this role than one might expect. Just with her eyes alone, she conveys SO much. Her deadpan delivery of lines is what oftentimes provides the most laughs in the series, while her relationship with both mother and son taps into the heart of the series. Here we're presented with this machine...but what if there were more to it than that? Whilst she's regarded as one of the "heroes" of the series, Cameron never lets you forget what she was built for. Equal parts chilling and heroic, Cameron is an integral part of the show.

The series shows great potential with its story lines and looks to be expanding the universe even further in Season 2. The first season (which was tragically cut short by the writers' strike) showed a lot of promise and will hopefully only get better as the series continues. If you are willing to accept the fact that this is a different animal to the movies, you should be able to sit back and enjoy.
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Does what T3 failed to do.
Alex Anderson17 August 2007
First of all I would like to begin by stating that I actually enjoyed Terminator 3. I know that there are a lot of haters out there but I do not count myself as one of them. I enjoyed the movie for what it was. However, as a die-hard Terminator fan I believe "enjoyable" is an underachievement for a franchise as great as the Terminator series. Terminators 1 and 2 were classics, and the third instalment fell a little short.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles however evokes a feeling which was strangely lacking in T3. Excitement. The idea of ignoring the events of the third movie, which this series seems to be running with, seems a wise move. I enjoyed every moment of the pilot immensely.

Although a little sceptical before I watched the pilot, Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker are cast well as Sarah and John Connor. Initially I didn't believe either had the right look or attitude to play characters portrayed so well by Linda Hamilton and a young Edward Furlong. However I was gladly mistaken. Headly does Sarah Conner almost as well as Hamilton, a high praise if there ever was one, and Dekker plays the reluctant leader with credibility. I see both actors growing into their roles more with each new episode. The main highlight in my opinion was Summer Glau in her role as Cameron. She portrays her character with a grace and beautifully understated performance which is refreshing, and more believable and engaging than Kristanna Loken's performance in T3.

All and all, the pilot was a great beginning to the series with some nice surprises and a lot of action. It may have a few teething problems as all new shows do, but with a little bit of polish before it airs it will be a very strong beginning of a new journey for this classic franchise. Lets hope Fox shows some common sense for once and holds onto this one.
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Simply Amazing
destinys_wing4 March 2009
This show is brilliant. The writers and cast have all done an amazing job in creating their view of the Terminator series. It is like an on going 5/5 star movie. Amazing effects, plot and actors!!! It contains all the elements of great entertainment- action, romance, drama, psychological insight and a bit of comedy even!! If you want to start watching it now, I recommend to buy the first season and watch it all and the previous episodes of season 2 because this show is deep and has much character background and development to truly understand and love it.

Definitely worth watching!!!
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Best Terminator advancement since Terminator 2!
frobin-jojo5 August 2012
This show is the best story advancement of the Terminator franchise since Cameron's Terminator 2 in terms of quality and plot development.

The plot of this series is set after the events of Terminator 2.

Most of all Summer Glau is the sexiest and most mysterious Terminator ever and Lena Headey really cool as Sarah Connor. Also Shirley Manson as Terminator with very mysterious mission and loyalties are so thrilling interesting ... but we will never know ... too bad!

I love the plot and the development of the Terminator story in this show.

And it's really a shame that the show got canceled (and Fox preferred the lame Joss Wheadon show Dollplay instead).
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Great Show..stop the canceling!
shawnzulma13 March 2009
This show has taken some weird turns but overall is still one of the better sci-fi shows on prime time. When I heard this show was danger of being canceled I almost flipped. They are going to far with the canceling. Just because a show doesn't rate in the ever changing top 5 doesn't mean it's not a hit with the fans. I do enjoy Camerons strange terminator antics and John I-am-tired-of-trying-to-be-a-future-hero attitude. Sarah holds this all together with her stubbornness and relentless pursuit of trying to stop judgment day. Now it does get a little to unbelievable with Sarah's flashbacks and delusions of Kyle. Also the fact that there is a little bit of sexual attraction implied at John with Cameron is strange. But none the less a great show.
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First impressions from the pilot
evilcritic24 July 2007
I had a chance to catch this pilot yesterday and being a die-hard T2 fan i was very impressed.

Firstly the pilot does dissolve the continuity of T3 almost instantly, yet does it in a way that shows exactly how that film could have been better (for the record, I did enjoy T3 tho). Headey does a first rate job as Sarah, capturing the "weight-of-the-world" angle of the character extremely well despite looking at least ten years too young for the part. Dekker does a decent job as John but is given very little to do in the pilot, that is somewhat counteracted however by hints of what's to come for the character - a look into exactly what sort of life he has in store as far as the real world goes. Summer Glau meanwhile steals the show as Cameron (terrible in-joke with that name by the way), playing the new Terminator as oddly lovable yet traditionally stone-faced simultaneously and even managed to deliver the classic line "Come with me if you want to live" in a matter befitting a good old fashioned cheer.

The storyline is very good if a tad more traditionally sci-fi than we're used to with this franchise - going to so far as to include actual time travel. Although it's a stretch to include this, it doesn't feel particularly forced and works rather well as the device for setting up a series (as well as clearing up the chronology finally, should T3 ever be worked into the continuity again). It is also worthy of note that the pilot i saw included the scenes now stated as being rewritten for the premiere in January (the school shootout). A great sequence in the pilot i saw, I don't think their alteration will really hurt the finished pilot too much.

A first rate pilot for what i hope will be an extremely good series.
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someone up there hates us
willygordon7897 September 2010
An absolute gem of a show, I cant run down any, not one of the actors and their characters, the show had me from the first. The plot twists are way beyond the movies, and in my opinion, make it even better than them. The emotions are shown even when they are trying to be super tough and hold it in, Humans being Humans. The twist with weaver being a cyborg who is AGAINST skynet is great, (although I'm guessing she has (had) her own plans for the human race) All I can think of about the cancellation is, The people who make these decisions must live in a tiny little bubble of their own and not interact with us mere mortals, they haven't got a scooby about what is decent and whats not. Their absurd idea that its good to show half a series and then break for close to 6 months, then return expecting to pick up the fans where they left off is an example of their idiocy. This show, flashforward, Battlestar Galactica, even Farscape all had fans watching avidly and a lot more that could be done with them, yet the looneys are in charge so we are ignored all the time. I have visions of "V" and Caprica and perhaps even Stargate Universe being cut off at their peak. Maybe they are trying to convert us to sugar coated day time telly addicts. NEVER GONNA HAPPEN
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A fantastic start to a show with great potential
antony-112 August 2007
You know when you sit down and watch something new, and it grabs you, surprises you and entertains you? Well it doesn't happen all the time, but this show did that with me.

With a big franchise, and some very big shoes to fill (i.e. Linda Hamilton's) the show and its cast have quite a big battle on their hands. But for the most part the show's pilot does justice to the franchise, and forges ahead with a new direction, extremely well.

The pilot wears its Terminator heart on its sleeve, with lots of Terminator action, but it sufficiently sets up stories so that the show can run for many seasons exploring the Terminator universe while not having to resort to robot-of-the-week.

Lena Headey has a tough job taking on such an iconic role, and I couldn't help but compare her to Linda Hamilton (and to miss Hamilton at times). But she showed some great potential, and in some moments I thought "this actress is going to be cool". I have faith she will do well and turn the role into something that is her own.

Give the show a chance, this one can really go somewhere. If FOX doesn't cancel it that is.
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The Terminator + Terminator 2 + The Sarah Connor Chronicles
i SkyWalKing18 July 2013
Let me just get this out of the way before I start praising the series. No, this series is NOT perfect and there are definitely certain elements that could have been done better... that said, it still definitely falls into my top 10 favorite series of all time.... somewhere in the mix.

It is a shame that this show was broadcast on FOX. Fox network is one of, if not the dirtiest networks in the business. I believe one of the reasons this show may have been cancelled is due to some "touchy" subject matter that perhaps the network overlooked and regretted.

This series is clearly under-rated. I believe the people giving this show negative reviews are either A) not fans of sci-fi to begin with B) only watched the Terminator movies for the "action" C) didn't really give the show a chance...or a variation of reasons that fall along those lines.

This is by FAR the better story-line to follow T2, rather than what T3 and Salvation brought. The story is in-depth, the acting is fantastic for the most part, and each episode is quite suspenseful. Where T3 seemed unnecessary, this series adds to the franchise rather than detract or milk from it. There is so much that you just can't fit into a 2 hour movie that a series like this allows. If you are happy with the movies on their own then that is fine, but for people who wanted more, this show fills that void.

(Summer Glau) Cameron Phillips, is probably my favourite Terminator of all time, for various reasons (as weird as that may sound to some). I think she plays the role perfectly. I may or may not have a slight bias because she is such a delight to look at, but it's more than that. She is very convincing in her role. Very cold, calm, calculated and quite mysterious. Someone also mentioned in a previous review that it makes more sense for them to send back a petite girl rather an obvious body-builder type. True. She draws you into her character and there are layers of depth to her that you just could not get from Arnold or a 2 hour movie even. I personally fell in love with her character.

(Lena heady)as Sarah Connor does an amazing job as well. I really have no complaints regarding her performance. She stays true to her character.

(Thomas Dekker) does a decent job at playing John Connor. His character starts off a bit weary (most likely intended), and is pretty unlikeable throughout the first season. His stupidity and naive approach to certain situations will frustrate the hell out of you (again intended i am sure)and may even make you dislike his character, but by the time the series starts to wind down, his character is finally coming to form and he starts to grow on you. He starts to look more like the John Connor of the resistance rather than a naive stubborn little boy.

(Shirley Manson)as Catherine Weaver is another performance that stands out in my opinion. She comes off so cold, so disconnected from certain aspects yet so calculated in regards to other aspects. It is always suspenseful when she is on screen because her character is very unpredictable and at times erratic. She plays her role very well. - The rest of the cast does a fairly convincing job as well, especially most of the other machines.

The story lines are fairly complex and they touch up on many subjects. It is truly a shame that a great show like this would get cancelled so soon because the possibilities were endless. Symbolism, UFOs, corporations, conspiracies, AI, social and moral issues and so on. The character development is great, story telling is great and the entertainment value is absolutely there. I couldn't stop watching once I got started. I ran through the series in a matter of a few days.

I also feel that regardless of the unfortunate cancellation of the show, it somehow manages to come to a fairly satisfying end. Yes it opens up a whole new can of worms, but it does not leave you feeling cheated or left hanging. It was a great way to wrap up such a brilliant approach to the franchise, considering they got cut short. They tie up most loose ends and avoid any major plot holes. Which is one of the most important qualities a sci-fi needs to have.

I should also note that although i am a sci-fi junkie, I am NOT a fan of action. I tend to zone out to action scenes or action driven plots. I find WAY too many holes in action scenes in general because they are always done way over the top and completely unbelievable. Doesn't mean i shy away from materials that are action oriented, but they need to make sense. To the zombies complaining about the show having "little action" and being boring, there are plenty of venues for you to turn to receive your dose of mind-numbing, dumbed down action flicks/shows. But this series brings a LOT more to the table than that and was not intended for you. To the people saying there's TOO much action, i can understand their distaste for action as I just mentioned, but I have to respectfully disagree. I thought the show kept the action to a minimum and was part of the reason I was able to stick with the series to begin with...and am i glad i did.

Don't let the negative reviews fool you, ESPECIALLY if you are a fan of the first 2 movies or sci-fi in general. You will be pleasantly surprised. This is a fantastic series.
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Could have been a great show. But it's not.
SyberianStorm22 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I usually don't write reviews online, but Terminator is one of my favorite franchises out there and this series not being as good as it could have been, irks me enough to write one.

Simply because, this show could have been great. Really great. Unfortunately, it's not. I don't really know why, since there are tons and tons of source material to work with, good and bad.

Season one was quite decent. It was basically a plot hole fest, but an entertaining one at that. Full of inconsistencies (like Cromartie's metal head successfully making a time travel, Cameron's changes in behavior, etc., I could go on, many have already pointed them out), but nonetheless, there were enough action scenes and plot events that kept the pace and managed to not lose the viewer's attention. The... "jokes" stung in here and there were dumb, but at least made you laugh, because they seemed so uncharacteristic (think "class dismissed").

Season two started decently, not faultless, of course, but there were a few episodes that were entertaining to watch, even by themselves (for instance, episode 1, 5 and 12). Then it dove into empty, useless drama with lots of sulking and little meaningful conversation. Starting from episode thirteen, it was a real pain to watch, everything dragged on, nothing worthwhile happened. The problem is not the drama itself, the problem is trying to turn an action based concept into drama alone, with nothing to make it move forward. Characters just walk into a room, they talk about something, then head into another room, talk again, and that's it. And even when they talk, they say basically nothing. A few examples:

Jesse: What does different mean? Derek: Different means different.

Cameron: I don't know what I was going to do. John: What do you mean you don't know what you were gonna do? Since when do you not know what you're going to do. Cameron: I don't know.

It's nonsense. When people talk on screen, they should say things that make sense. They should reveal previously unknown information about themselves, the plot, or something that makes the whole thing go forward. That's what talk is for. If you don't have that, you won't understand what's going on, it will become boring and silly after the first sentence.

Many have criticized the acting of the series. Well, we don't get to see the same level of acting we saw in the feature films, that's for sure. But I think that's a lot more because of the badly written plot and dialogue than the inability of the actors. Lena Headey is no Linda Hamilton, but I don't think she couldn't play Sarah Connor more rough, if the way the story was written would allow it. Thomas Dekker could play John Connor a lot more characteristically, but again, if you're given a dumb set-up and plot with dumb dialogue, you can't make it all turn out well. Summer Glau plays Cameron faultlessly, as faultless as the plot allows. She could be a very interesting character in her own right, but she is also given dumb, "freakish" lines and things to do on the screen (not to mention being the series resident eye-candy). The same could be said about the rest of the cast. They could do better, were they allowed.

After having examined the outside, let's dig a little deeper and see about the inside. Here I experience more major problems with the concept.

The original message of Terminator is long lost. That human beings should not hurt and destroy each other. They should not spew hatred, because it can lead to the eventual creation of a sentience that would want to annihilate them all (Skynet). That humans should learn to trust each other, to work together, to shape their destinies for the better (there is no fate but what we make). And even a soulless Terminator could learn how important that was. Sarah Connor, who hated that machine, could learn to trust it. You get the idea.

Here, you don't get even a glimpse of that. More people die in one single episode than in the feature films altogether. Like it was that meaningless. And you see the main bunch constantly telling each other off, threaten each other, then run off in distrust. John matures somewhat along the progress of the show, but eventually, I couldn't say he is all the better now than he was at the beginning. Just different. The others are the same as they started. Cameron, who has one of the "most advanced learning computers" in her head, hasn't learned a single damn thing since the start. Instead of settling differences and talking things through straight, the characters say nothing to each other, don't answer questions, just sulk and act emo and depressed. If that is to make the series serious... well, it doesn't. Saying coherent things, overcoming obstacles and fighting off weaknesses through sacrifice would make it serious.

Just a little character development and wits would do the trick. Like with Cameron's malfunction, they could've stuck her chip in an interface and tried to repair the damage that way. Could have been an interesting insight to her "mind". Or leading things in a way that Derek eventually starts trusting Cameron. Or Sarah and John could learn to rely on each other more. You could write a long list (or try Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita to see how it should be done; it's an excellent cyborg story, with the main heroine strangely resembling Cameron/Glau)

Anyway, if you're pondering on to see the show or not, I'd say give it a go. It has a few good moments that are fun to watch by themselves. But it's definitely not the kind of thing you pick for a weekend-long movie marathon.
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My Initial Review...
Bello-413 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
First let me say this. I enjoy Terminator and didn't hate the pilot episode. I don't worship it, but I enjoy it as much as most fans. When I heard that Terminator was coming to television as a weekly series I was instantly curious of the storyline and quality as the movies and mythos are such that a series is a very tall order. Well if I had to phrase things then I'd say that the pilot, while good, fell several inches short of being tall.

First the cast. Lena Headley and Thomas Dekker are good enough as Sarah and John Connor. I've got no trouble with them. Lena Headley brings a believable routine of life but also caution to Sarah. While Thomas Dekker brings a believable portrayal of John having moved from T2's almost enjoying the excitement to years later the weight of his predestined life overbearing him. The reluctant hero as they'd say. I love Summer Glau, I'm an avid fan, and think that she's an interesting choice to actually be a terminator. Understanding that terminators likely come in different shapes and sizes to avoid being instantly singled out, I still can't be bias and so I feel that she's perhaps to small against the beefy bad terminator played by Owain Yeoman the way she's thrown around like a doll. I also had trouble with how she acts to human, not enough monotone in my opinion, to make you initially curious. Regardless of how advance she may be she needs to deepen her voice and no longer apologize like she did to John in the pilot for "lieing" to him. She lied in order to get close to him, it's what she does. However I remain open minded, and knowing her range of abilities as an actress from Firefly and Serenity, I'm more than willing to give her a chance, cause it was only the pilot episode and I gave that same chance to Sarah Michelle Gellar, whom I had never heard of before, as Buffy Summers and Katherine Heigl in Roswell whom I thought would just be T&A after a few episodes, and Shiri Appleby also in Roswell whom I had only ever seen before in two episodes of Xena Warrior Princess!

Owain Yeoman I don't like. He needs to be more cold, more machine. Right now he's trying to hard. Robert Patrick as the T-1000 exuded both those attributes in spades while having a lot more wicked fun. He needs to take some lessons and get some memorable lines of which I only heard one while he was shooting up the school.

Understand me when I say I did like the pilot overall. It could have been better, but hey it's only the pilot episode. I already do like how the writers and producers acknowledge that they intend to stay away from the terminator of the week, meaning we'll see other stories and developments. I also like how Summer as Cameron Phillips uses her computerized brain as much as her indisputable brawn. And this time around, it looks as if future John Connor has sent back what could amount to caches of materials that can be used in their fight and flight in future episodes. As the series develops it'll be interesting to watch how things coalesce and what the writers can come up with. Let's just hope that they can stay original, stay away from the mundane, and that the fans are willing to give this show a chance and not savage it because it may not be T2 in quality on a weekly basis.

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Okay, but....
Henry Tjernlund23 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
First, I admit I've seen only the first hour of this show. I was prepared to completely hate it. It turns out that it wasn't so bad. The mother character is okay. Not as tough as the Sarah in the movies. Not as smart either.

About Summer Glau, well, what can one say, an intelligent athletic babe acrobatically kicking butt is always a joy to watch. But why did she start acting so mechanical once her true nature was revealed? Did her 'emotion chip' get damaged or something? Anyway I'll blame that on the writers.

The effects are pretty good for a television show. A TV show does not have the effects budget of a Hollywood movie. The TV evil terminators do seem a little dumber and less effective than the ones in movies.

But here is what I don't like, and strongly so. I also found this as the main flaw of the third Terminator movie. And that is the John Conner character. In the T2 movie John was an aggressive, strong character, if not just a little screwed up. But he recovered from surprise quickly and took reasonably intelligent and decisive action when needed. But the John in this new series, like the T3 movie, is a wimp by comparison. In the one scene in the series opener where he is chased into a parking lot by the evil terminator, he shows no tactical thinking. He stupidly glances over the top of a car and gives his position away. Then he cowers down like a frightened bunny until he is cornered and has to be saved by the others. Wait! Wasn't he supposed to be being trained from birth for this kind of thing? He shows not the slightest hint of inner strength. This character is not the resourceful, hardened, military genius of the first two movies.

All in all, it was fun to watch. There were some reasonably well thought out twists, but unless the writers quickly fix the male damsel-in-distress John character, then I don't see the series lasting. Maybe the writers intend to show him developing, but starting him out as so completely useless is a mistake.
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Sometimes I wanted the machines to win...
BBBrown21 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I sat through every single episode of this now canceled series. Although well outside the targeted 18-49 year old graphic, I've been a sci-fi and Terminator movie fan for decades. This show thrilled on several levels but disappointed on many, many more. In the end, I found it simply depressing.

Often, I would find myself almost rooting for the machines rather than the human "heros and heroines" with their rationalizing any action necessary -- including murder -- as justified to save JC (John Connor). In doing so, they often seemed to mimic the survival plans and actions of the artificial intelligence against whom they were fighting. This dark side of "any means necessary" to justify deplorable actions as the only way insure the survival of the human race is epitomized in "24", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and, to a large extent, the previous U.S. administration. Do we really have to sink to the level of our enemy in order to win?

I do not and have never subscribed to this view and found this series less and less entertaining each time it was presented, often tuning out in disgust at scenes/dialogs of many episodes, especially those depicting the physical and psychological abuse and torture of suspected Skynet workers/collaborators. Each of the lead characters demonstrated an unrelenting coldness with only the briefest signs of sensitivity as to what they were doing, not only to each other but to innocents caught in the crossfire. Rarely did any of the lead characters show any sense/signs of a truly moral center.

If these are the kind of people and actions needed to insure the survival of the human race, one must wonder if we even deserve to continue as the dominant life-form on this planet. I won't miss this series.
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Does what T3 failed to do.
mcwattersm29 August 2008
When Terminator 3 came out, it was good. Lots of people enjoyed it. I watched season one of TSSC and was blown away. Thomas Dekker's portrayal of John Conner is spot on, Brian Austin Green, is actually great. Summer Glau is a great replacement for Arny, Lena Headey does a great job.

I was talking to a friend about Terminator series, he was telling me he had never seen them. So I told him about them and how T3 sucked. One day we watched T3, and it didn't suck. After that I re watched TSSC and, compared to this series it sucked.

I recommend this to everyone who liked the Terminator series.
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Pilot gives mixed feelings
Ben Nicholson30 March 2008
With a series as epic as Terminator it will be hard for the TV-series to live up to the standard set by the first two movies. That said it does a good job.

Ill start with Summer Glau, because she is by far the best and most interesting character. Shes the best actress and portrays the emotionless and unstoppable Terminator very well. I was worried in her first scene, but she definitely has turned into the beginnings of a great character.

Lena Headey as Sarah Connor... is nothing like the original Sarah, but she plays a hardheaded and brave (if foolhardy) mother pretty well. Other than that i cant say much at this time, shes not bad, not at all... but shes yet to prove herself.

My big problem is with Thomas Dekker. I cant stand his teenager noncy bull. Its like he is out of a scene from High School Musical, all his acting stinks of teenage rebel, and not in the interesting way, in the way that makes you want to throttle him. The writers made the mistake of trying to use him to appeal to the 14 - 16 crowd, and it kinda ruins the show.

Im hoping in later episodes he will man up, mature up, and act like the hero hes supposed to be. Right now hes just a moody child, which i don't think is logical to the story due to his upbringing.

Other points: The bad-ass terminator sent to kill them... seemed a bit too bad-ass. Its better when they have no emotions, this guy is just arrogant. Which adds to the clichéd feel. Other than that hes okay.

Though it starts off like T3, its definitely not the same story. Ill be interested to see how it moves on.

Plot holes due to time travel are a given. They were rife in the original series, and they are here. They are obvious if you look for them, but honestly it doesn't ruin the show. Maybe some questions will be answered later... but its not necessary.

So there's my views. Good potential so long as they don't pander to kids, and focus on the fact that its a grown-ups series.
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Fantastic series, far exceeding the low expectations of the pilot
therealcromar1 April 2008
For those who saw the original pilot, leaked quite some time ago, you may have experienced a level of disappointment in terms of the quality of the show. I thought the pilot was uninspired, but at least entertaining. I supported the show and looked forward to it mostly out of loyalty to Firefly alum Summer Glau, who was excellent even in the pilot. The writing was poor with numerous logic errors, silly lines, and a simple rehashed plot taken directly from T2, but with less special effects. I admittedly did not have high hopes for a long running Terminator series.

Oh, but, was I delighted when the show started! Immediately from the first regular episode I realized the quality of the writing had absolutely skyrocketed. The plot took a huge twist into new territory, unexplored by previous films. Thank god it didn't devolve into silly "terminator of the week" robot fighting nonsense. Even the acting had improved! Lena Headey is very tough and very believable as Linda Hamilton's old character Sarah Connor. Thomas Dekker is much less annoying (no Anakin Skywalker wannabe here) as an adult playing an angsty teenager, and playing it well. His character is actually important and plays a real role in the plot, as opposed to a VIP to be hidden in a basement.

Supporting roles in the characters of James Ellison and Charley Dixon are also very well played and compelling. Best way to make a sympathetic, heroic character without giving him hardly any screen time or lines: make him an EMT! Seriously, though, Dean Winters does a great job with the small amount of screen time he is given. I'm sure he will be a fan favorite. Richard T. Jones takes the Ellison role, originally written as the generic "good guy cop who figures it all out" guy, and expands and layers it into something much more interesting. Can't say enough for how much these guys contribute, with their few key scenes.

The quality of the show continued to improve throughout the series. At about the halfway point we get a new regular character, played by Brian Austin Green. If you haven't read spoilers yet on his character, don't! He is fantastic and really adds to the dynamic between the characters. He gets a handful of truly mesmerizing key scenes, especially in the season finale, which cannot be missed. We also get a new (old?) character played by Garret Dillahunt. Again, don't want to give anything away here: watch the show! Overall my opinion of this show is that it is quite excellent and cannot be missed. Watch the pilot but do not be deterred by the errors and other problems. Watch the first season all the way through to the finale and be blown away. I can't say enough for the writers and actors for their work on this great piece of TV.
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Forced myself to watch entire season: Regretted it immediately
Shaneskies Bruckey28 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was very excited to discover that the SCC's were coming to New Zealand television. Having been a big fan of T1/T2 and even T3 I thought this show couldn't possibly fail, so I went to a friend's house and watched the entire season in 1 day. After watching the pilot I was worried, but sometimes pilots are bad so I gave it a chance. It got worse. Things went downhill fast, plots began to make little sense, acting appeared paper thin and scripting looked like they had been done by someone who writes as bad as me.

Problems with the show: Although it has been stated MANY times by other people, I think the biggest point I can make is how horrible the writing is. In situations where most people would be running for their life, it seems the characters have time to stop and chat quite calmly about lives lessons e.g. (SPOLIER) When John and Sarah are trying to escape the fallout shelter in the army truck, Sarah has time to give John a lesson on driving a "stick" shift. If that had been the "movie Sarah Connor" she would have pushed John the hell out of the drivers seat and put the pedal to the metal.

This brings me to my next point: The resemblance between the movie characters and TV show.

It is very hard to tell if we are even watching the same franchise. Although I hate to use the word, John has gone from a bad-ass kid who doesn't take no s*** from no one, to a typical teenage "emo". Don't even get me started on soccer mum Sarah.

The plot is horrible, characters never seem to stay in...well... character, special effects aren't good (although I will admit they had a low budget, so not a lot to work with), cheesy lines that terminators wouldn't say "class dismissed"???, terminators suffering from storm trooper syndrome (unloading clip after clip and hitting air), even the fight scenes are disappointing, and of course the writers are too PC to have John fire a gun in any scene....

In my opinion, it shouldn't have been done.

If you like trashy shows that make high amounts of drama out of relationships e.g. Grey's Anatomy, Dawson's Creek, Men in Trees then you will love this.

If you are a T1/T2 fan, love action, deep/solid story lines, strong characters and original ideas, then do yourself a favor and change the channel, because you will just be disappointed.

I could go on forever about how bad this series is, I even hear it got approved for a second season. All I can say is that standards will be low for T4.
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Wrong actors; no plot; no suspense; idiotic, incompetent, obsolete Terminators; nothing at all like the Terminator movies.
Navaros12 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This series is nothing whatsoever like the excellent first two Terminator movies The third was an abomination, and one thing this show does *right* is to pretend that abomination does not exist. The problem is, just like the third movie, this TV series *also* should not exist since it cannot come anywhere close to matching the first two movies on any level whatsoever.

The Sarah Connor actress in this show is very wholesome, and very skinny. She is *nothing* at all like what the Sarah Connor role *demands*, which is a tough, strong, masculine woman. It's not that the actress in the TV show is a bad actress persay, but rather, she is terrible in the Sarah Connor role because she doesn't have the aggressive inner spirit to pull it off, nor the body to pull it off. The movie Sarah was an intimidating force of nature. The movie Sarah survived by tramping herself out to a different man every week. The TV show Sarah is a gentle, loving, abstinent woman who you'd expect to spend all her time in the kitchen baking free brownies for all the neighborhood kids out of the goodness of her tender loving heart. Which would be fine for a show that calls for a woman like that, but for *Sarah Connor*, that is just horrible casting.

John Connor in T2 was a mis-behaved, foul-mouthed (who swears every second word!) rebel who was always up to no good for the sake of his own personal enjoyment. In this show, John Connor is a mild-mannered, clean-cut, very well-behaved, selfless, fine upstanding young gentleman who would never ever *think* to say a bad word, or even a slightly-unkind word, much less actually *say* one on the show. I can't blame the actor for this, it's not *his* fault that the crap the writers/producers saddled him with is *completely* inappropriate for the John Connor role. Despite knowing John is in grave danger, they put John in school in this show. I guess when you are running for your life constantly as evil machines from the future stalk you, the best place to be is in school! Whereas in T2 (before he knows he's being stalked) he'd rather be hacking ATMs and spending all the money on arcade games rather than in school.

The Protector Terminator in this show is a small girl named Cameron. I initially thought this would be a horrible idea, but surprisingly, she is played by a really good actress who pulls of the Terminator demeanor perfectly and is the next-best thing to Arnie. Unfortunately, since she is the *only* good main aspect of this show, that is not enough to save it. Her character is also all over the map due to bad direction (not the actress's fault). In her first scene she is a normal girl, then in her second scene she is suddenly an emotionless Terminator again. And she keeps switching between the two polar opposites out of the blue. It makes no sense whatsoever. Her great performance is tarnished by terrible, schizophrenic directing.

The evil Terminators in this show are very stupid & very incompetent. In the movies the Terminators are established as very-scary, highly-proficient killing machines right away. This is *key* to having suspense. The TV show utterly *destroys* any potential suspense immediately. In his very first scene, the bad Terminator pretends to be John's teacher. A few seconds into this scene, this Terminator becomes a blithering idiot who blows his cover for no reason and pulls a handgun on John from a distance of a few feet away. He easily could have maintained his cover and killed John right in his very first scene, by making the class read a book and then sneaking up behind John while his head was buried in a book. But obviously Terminators in this show are not supposed to have any intelligence, unlike that deviously cunning T1000 from T2. Then when you move past the "*idiotic* Terminator issue", you run smack dab right into the "*incompetent* Terminator issue". Why did the evil Terminator bring a piddley, inefficient handgun to take out John with? He could easily have had any weapon he wanted, including a RPG or automatic weapon that would be sure to get the job done. I guess that point straddles the line between stupidity/incompetence. But for a surefire example of *outright* incompetence, there is *no reason* why a highly advanced robot being from the future would *miss* his target with a handgun. The Terminator fires dozens of shots at John, all of which miss for no reason other than the Terminator can't aim (Ie: there was no third-party interference whatsoever interfering with his shots). Even modern technology *today* in real-life can create AI that aims weapons perfectly. For an advanced Cyborg from decades into the future to have such terrible aim as demonstrated in this show is nothing short of ludicrous.

As if the idiotic & incompetent Terminators weren't bad enough, this show adds insult to injury by providing *downgraded* Terminators that are much worse than the T1000 from T2. The T1000 from T2 could assume the body of any person he touches. He could literally be *anyone*, and you never knew if it was him or not. This kept you on the edge of your seat, in constant suspense. The T1000 could also re-assemble himself under almost any circumstances. All that is really great - but *none* of that is in the TV series. Instead, the TV series has them sending back 800 series models as the evil Terminators. They can't change form, they can't turn their limbs into liquid metal. They can't do anything, other than provide generic baddies with no sense of danger to them.

In the end, this might have been okay if it were a fan-made series about the Terminator universe. As a serious Terminator production, it fails epically.
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Unbelievable bullcrap
markus-kakko22 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As a Terminator based story this series is complete nonsense. Seems like the writers haven't seen any of the three Terminator films, all important and less important things have been thrown to trash and trend killers came up with fancy new ones. Few things that really bother me are: 1. Time traveling, I mean WTF? now it's possible to jump around in time like it's nothing, original terminator films make it clear that it's irreversible when you travel. And that metal-head that just flew through that "portal" that's not supposed to happen, nothing dead can pass through that. Terminator 3 movie's incidents have been passed.

2. The female terminator, fembot. What the hell is wrong with her, at the beginning of Pilot episode she acts like a normal girl and as soon as John notices that she is a terminator she starts to act like a retard, why can't she still act like normal girl even if the others know that she's a fembot that is just plain stupid. Most of the time she just stands around with eyes wide and mouth open looking like a mentally retarded.

3. Sarah Connor and John Connor, what happened to them? Writers forgot about Sarah's toughness and turned her into a soccer-mom, she is slim girly like and looks like she's never been in a fight. John is now just a whining bitch who turns to his mommy, IIRC he dropped out of school after incidents in the T2 movie, why is he now again in school? Also it now seems that his biggest worry is that he can't stay in school.

4. Evil terminator, seems like he couldn't hit a lake with his guns even if he were standing in bottom of it and how can he lose a fight to a fembot that is half his size, fembot doesn't even have any special abilities like the T-X had in T3.

I gave 2 stars because this is a disgrace to The Terminator movie series. If this had nothing to do with terminator, except the robots from the future this could be watchable or even entertaining. Now this is just annoying.
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Excellent show, we want more!
davesgotacat26 February 2008
I have always been a big fan of the films and was delighted to hear about the TV adaptation, I thought if it was done well it would be great but I didn't expect (or hope) it would be this good.

I considered that Lena Headey was an odd choice for the role of Sarah Connor although after seeing her other work I had no doubt she could pull it off. As good (and iconic) as Linda Hamilton was in her movie (albeit mostly in Terminator 2) Lena has made this character her own and excels in showing Sarah's strengths and vulnerabilities. The rest of the cast is excellent too, I liked Summer Glau's performance in Firefly were she played a character with all of her emotions on show to now playing a terminator with nothing showing, a nice switch for her and superbly done.

I was surprised by some of the vitriol raised by fans of the films. The three movies always left me wanting more and now we are getting it. The writing is very good, they are doing some intelligent story lines with the terminators.

This is on my must-buy on DVD list, cannot wait for that to come out.

More please!
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Eh, not so great
carolynne_fitzpatrick6 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
(My post contains spoilers! Do Not Read if you have not seen the entire season!) It's obvious within the first 15 minutes of the pilot of this show who the real star is – not the whiny brat Thomas Dekker who half-heartedly plays the revolutionary hero who is supposed to save the world and certainly not the usually talented Lena Headey who plays an illogical soccer mom who wants to be tough but just can't quite pull it off. The star of this show is clearly Summer Glau, who plays Cameron, the female Terminator. Summer amazed us in Firefly, as the mentally-disturbed and highly intelligent reader, River. And here she takes her talent one step further, becoming a machine who actually wants to convey human emotion on some level. She is superb! The guest stars this show managed to snag also increased the show's potential in my mind: Brian Austin Green (I'm a biased 90210 fan, but he was terrific in this role) and Garret Dillahut (amazing in Deadwood and Life). These two actors and Summer "bring it" where the others fall short. This show had a lot of potential, but I find myself struggling to watch it – and I certainly don't give it any mindshare. (I learned this the hard way with Lost.) I watch it to support Summer Glau, the Firefly Alum (same reason I watch Chuck, for Adam Baldwin), and because I also REALLY WANT Garret Dillahut to become the next leading actor in Hollywood. (He was so good in Deadwood, he played two different characters.) Dialogue was trite, and Sarah Connor's monologues in the beginning of each episode set the tone that this was show was also ignoring the hard-willed and inspirational Sarah Connor that Linda Hamilton depicted. If I wanted to watch a soccer mom and her whiny teen, I'll just visit my neighborhood Target store, thank you. Part of me cheered when Summer Glau blew up at the end of the season finale. Thank God, I thought, I don't really have to watch this show anymore. Bottom line: There was potential for a great show and it just missed the mark. Some of the actors did the best they could with the script (and did a fantastic job working with such an inconsistent, rambling plot) and other actors just became whiny alter-egos of the characters they were SUPPOSED to be. If you're a fan of the Terminator series, it might be a let down. If you're a Summer Glau fan, you'll be amazed once again – but her outstanding performance may not be enough to keep you tuning in. No matter what, I definitely wouldn't waste money on buying the season. Let's see if the second season could be any worse.
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