Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles box set review – a smart TV spin-off that matches the movies with inventive action scenes

  • Lena Headey’s sci-fi freedom-fighter tackles the killer robots with terminal violence and a nice line in dry, dark humour

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Thanks to the recent arrival of Terminator: Genysis, there are now more bad Terminator movies than good ones. At their best (the two James Cameron ones) they are well-sustained chases peppered with interesting ideas on robotics and time travel delivered on the hoof. This underrated TV spin-off, which ran from 2008-09, has the time to explore the more fascinating aspects in some depth, while still delivering Terminator-style action sequences on a small-screen budget.

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Sarah Connor is the Soul of the TERMINATOR Franchise

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[Originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of DEADLY Magazine] There is a scene 75 minutes into 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day,  in which James Cameron pinpoints the humanity amidst all the time travel, liquid metal and state-of-the-art special effects. Young John Connor (Edward Furlong) is bonding with the T-800 machine assigned to protect him (Arnold Schwarzenegger), by teaching him how to high five. The moment is designed to underscore the father/son dynamic between John and the Terminator, as well as provide a visual symbol of the hope for mankind – that we are able to co-exist alongside technology. And, if we’re reading even more deeply, that we can still master it.

A great deal of Terminator 2’s running time is devoted to the connection between John and Schwarzenegger’s T-800. However, it’s telling that the most poignant shot – the one that says the most about their relationship – is from the perspective of John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), as she observes from a distance. It turns the scene into one about a mother owning up to her mistakes, making choices and sacrifices for her son. The moment reminds us that this isn’t John’s story at all. It’s Sarah’s.

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