Monday, October 26, 2009

Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2

For many movies fan, especially of the Terminator series, the television series Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been a pleasant surprise. While going through some issues in their inaugural season due to the writers strike, Season 2 hit the screens with full force and thought provoking storylines, laced with not only scenes of the future but the impact of religion, specific to Christianity, on the lives of the characters and those around them in contemporary society. Likely more than any show on television, this theme flowed from one episode to another, leaving one to wonder, what the intent of the makers of this series is.

Episode one of Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 sets the foundation of a mesmerizing season with a powerful video type montage that drives the underlying Biblical concepts home. While many may take issue with this, there are just far too many images and comment on things like the Bible, Jesus, the Church, and more religious ideological concepts. This also includes the imagery of what appears to be more of an allegorical music video featuring a rocked up version of the old Peter Paul and Mary song, Samson and Delilah. In this montage we see the resurrection of one, and struggle of another who has issues with being a Messiah figure. As the program continues we begin to wonder, what role John Connor represents. At the end of episode one we see him much like Samson, complete with a hair cut.

As Season 2 of Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles progresses, we see this inner struggle within many characters. Each character struggles to come to some form of recognition of being the person they are meant to be. All along the way are reminders and questions as to how God has an impact on that person, and there are of course the questions as to the reality of God. The series seems to take the position that yes there are other outside influences around us, but we have some control over our own destinies. Of course with the struggle over the reality of God, we also see a struggle with the reality of Evil. This brings the viewer to the reality that Terminator 2, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is far more than just a conceptual television series based on a popular movie. In many ways it is a part of what Science Fiction was designed to do, raise questions not just on society, but the role of religion on the influence of that society.

Technically, the advances of the last 10 years have made it possible that a television series like this can carry on some of the same groundbreaking concepts expected in theatrical releases, and the high expectations of the early versions of the Terminator movies in their story telling abilities. I had quit following the terminator movie series because they didn’t seem to progress and the quality went down hill. This was especially true with the last movie in the series. While I was a fan of some of the aspects of the movie, I had rather low expectations of the television series. I have been more than pleasantly surprised and believe the fans of the series will be pleased. The only exception to this for me is that some of the actors seem to be dry in the portrayal of their roles. This certainly isn’t true for Lena Heady who plays the lead role of Sarah Connor; she plays as strong of a woman figure as has been portrayed in some time. There are also a few technical glitches in things like the editing process, but the directors keep the concept fairly tight. In some ways, especially from a stylistic perspective, this series reminds me of Smallville. I would only hope that attention to detail, while growing stronger as actors will allow the series to continue.

There are various twists and turns in Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2. There is enough to keep the viewer interested and strong enough to have one watching this season to want to go back and catch up on the shortened Season 1 if they haven’t seen it. The questions raised, especially related to religious and spiritual themes are interesting enough that a small group type of discussion would be quite enjoyable if one decided to take part in it. With episode titles like Samson and Delilah, Brothers of Nablus, Self Made Man, Today Is The Day, To The Lighthouse, and Adam Raised Cain, the process of even having some form of spiritual discussions is made easier.

I tend to be rather careful of drawing these types of religious or spiritual parallels in my movie reviews. While I think the parallels are often there, I think it is a good idea to make light mention of them and then have others look for them to discover them on their own. It seems though that this particular series is sticking them in our face to observe and think about. I kind of like that to be honest. While for some this may be a draw back to the series, for me, it is one of the things that helped me enjoy it far more than I thought I would.

I must also make mention that Warner Brothers did a great job with the packaging of this series. It is well laid out and one of the things I most look for in DVD purchases are quality special features. WB does a good job here as well, the only frustrating thing is I would have loved to have heard more technical and episodic commentary during the commentary. It seems as if it was fun for most of the actors involved, but more insight into the concepts desired within the storyline for example would have been nice.

If a fan of good science fiction, a rather riveting story line that causes one to think and draws parallels between science and spirituality, this is a rather good series, one good enough that I would have had no trouble purchasing. If a fan of Terminator, you won’t be disappointed, on the other hand, I don’t think many who enjoy good quality television will be disappointed. I wasn’t and was anxiously awaiting more of the same. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen as Fox has cancelled the series. That is too bad, this is a series that had a chance to grow, unfortunately we won’t see that happen.

On a scale of 1 – 10, for the 8 primary characters, minus the one who I have some difficulty trying to figure out, I give a satisfying and enjoyable 7.

To see the opening music montage of Samson and Delilah, just click on the following video, if the video don't appear, click on the link:

Samson and Delilah

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