How do you turn one of 2008’s most highly rated series into 2009’s ash heap of a failure? Change it from what people want to see into something they obviously did not. The show would have been more aptly named, “The Chronically Depressed Chronicles”.
Why was it so popular at first? Hot mom Lena Headey wielding shotguns and taking names. Fetching Summer Glau as a terminator, throwing around the bad guys. The action was fast and fun. Mother and son John Connor actually liked each other, and together they were taking down Skynet.
After the world’s longest shark jumping, season two was everything the first season was not, and more. Less action, horrible morbid stories, budget-less “ship-trek” episodes, and nobody liked anybody. Even the addition of the Derek Reese character for some much needed testosterone was not enough.
Sarah and her son grew to totally dislike each other and every scene with them together was like waiting for your on-edge parents to argue. There were dislike triangles,… quadrangles even! In the future, all emotions are bad? Did not Michael Beign’s awesome Kyle Reese show us in the original Terminator how much heart a human can have?
Season 2 started off at about a 50/50 ratio of decent episodes versus lame. Then about half way through they totally went off their meds and it became some producer’s personal means of therapy. Entire episodes of self-important, slow paced, introspective, monotoned treatises on fate while other characters wandered around in pointless subplots.
The main plot went from “Stop Skynet!” to some convoluted, angst-filled talk fest that over the course of the season killed off one character after another. They introduced the fine female specimen Stephanie Jacobsen to spice up the boredom. It worked – for the first few episodes, until they even made her scenes excruciating.
You have to wonder how mankind ever wins because the show has been 90% running, losing, dying and being one step behind the machines. We even flash to the future for more interesting ways to make depressing story lines and deaths. This including a hapless crew sacrificing a nuclear sub only to watch the liquid metal terminator squirm away. That was (not ) satisfying.
I do not even know what the goal of this show was anymore, aside from teasing me with potential it never reaches. The world is doomed and now it cannot be stopped. John Connor is a jerk, Kyle Resse’s brother is growing less likable, other people from the future are jerks, and the machines have no end of units. Additionally, Sarah is under a cancer death sentence and the hottie terminator is a loose cannon. Zero fun.
Remember the days when time travel was something special? Well those days are gone. It seems everyone and their machine can strip off their clothes and span the time and space continuum. It might as well have been a high school exchange program for its frequency and apparent ease.
Is it even worth making a one sentence summary? Young future leader John Connor is an unlikeable jerk who along with his moody mom and a psycho terminator guide us through long stretches of boredom punctuated by action scenes of ever decreasing in satisfaction.
After a while, it just seemed like they were killing off characters because they did not know what else to do. The only ones who will miss this show are the makers of anti-depressants. The Chronically Depressed Chronicles indeed.