Thursday, February 21, 2008
She'll be back. Every week, presumably.
SPINOFF! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Virgin 1, 10.00pm
We're always, naturally, very excited by the unveiling of a new TV channel since it generally proposes a whole new selection of content for us to preview, mull over, and perhaps snark upon a little. That said, there's been something awfully low-key about Virgin 1 ever since its launch. While it had The Riches on its opening slate, which we quite enjoyed when we remembered to watch it, it didn't really have much else to shout about, unless you count aeons-old reruns of Star Trek or The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. We suspect, however, that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles might be the one to put it on the map. Or the EPG, whatever.
Fret not if you've never seen the movies, or if you saw them long ago and haven't really had cause to revisit them, since as long as you remember the basic premise (Sarah Connor is a slightly unhinged badass, John Connor is the saviour of mankind, there are a lot of evil machines and a handful of good ones), you'll be fine here. The series is set after the second movie, with Sarah and John trying to stay off the radar in order to stay alive, and finding it unsurprisingly difficult.
Apparently there were quite a lot of disparaging comments made in the press when the series debuted in America regarding the female leads' suitability for battle - Lena Headey, as Sarah, being fairly slim built, and Summer Glau, as John's futuristic protector, being roughly the same, but we thought they both acquitted themselves excellently with all the gun-totin' and severe violence, in this opening episode at least. (There was one moment where if you pause it Summer Glau kind of looks like a murderous Bratz doll, but then we challenge you to find us anyone who continuously and without fail looks flawless in a freeze frame). Thomas Dekker, fresh from allegedly departing Heroes under something of a cloud relating to his character's sexual orientation, and that's the absolute most we're saying on the matter without a lawyer present, is also excellent as John, so the casting director probably deserves to have a big celebratory muffin for his or her fine work. And maybe an extra-large cappuccino.
Given that we wouldn't particularly list "action" as our all-time favourite genre, we were surprised by how much we enjoyed the opening episode. What helps rather a lot is that it's thoroughly well-made in just about every important aspect, with the possible exception of one or two marginally iffy effects (but the strike rate of really good ones to slightly iffy ones is very high). Oh, and those of you who've read The Time Traveler's Wife (which is probably a good 98% of you by now, surely) and who remember one of the unfortunate side effects of time travelling will know what to look forward to near the end of the episode.