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With the new year all rung in, I thought it was time to fire up the blog and start talking about science fiction on television again. Happy new year!

But why stick with TV? A number of things happened last year that forced me to think more broadly about science fiction. I attended the Clarion West program here in Seattle, where I made a whole lot of new friends in the scifi community. I went to the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, where I made even more friends in the scifi community. Most of these people are fiction writers. All of them blew my mind. I’m reading more. I took a class with Nancy Kress. I have a broader knowledge of scifi trends.

So last year, the reboot of the classic 80s hit “V” was launched. I didn’t watch it then because I have this habit of wanting to watch something from the very beginning – in this case, I wanted to watch the original “V” from the mid-80s. I didn’t see it the first time around. (Or if I did, I don’t remember watching.) I keep trying to think back to that time: I would have been in my last year of high school, doing god knows what on the weekends. Stuff I wouldn’t want my mom to know. I have this vague recollection of seeing the ads on TV, but we didn’t have a VCR at the time, so no way of recording it. I would have had to make sure I was stationed in front of the TV on the nights it aired.

There was the first two-part miniseries. Then there was the three-part followup. Then there was the full-on series, which debuted about the time I started college. All of these replayed over the past year on Syfy and I sat down to watch the entire thing, beginning to end, before starting on the reboot.

I have to say, it was rather painful. I know this series is considered one of the top scifi series of all time, but WOW – by today’s standards, it’s hard to watch. The production value was good at the time (and the special effects still hold up, to some degree), and the acting is fair, but it’s the writing that gets to me.

Slowly but surely, the story went from good to terrible to ridiculous. The first two miniseries weren’t all that bad, in fact, and I thought they were handled well. I liked the Mike Donovan character, a cameraman-turned-revolutionary who helps turn the Visitors away, and the resistance leader Julie. I also liked Robin’s story, in which she turns from a doe-eyed girl to suspicious mother of the star child.

But then it became a regular series. As is always the case with a serial story, you have to figure out how to keep it interesting week after week, finding new stories. And hiring good writers.

And here’s where the trouble begins.

How do you make a revolution story interesting? I don’t think the writers on the series ever figured it out. You have the paradigm: the Visitors as the subjugating race, and the revolutionaries who are fighting back. That’s your framework. Within it, there are hundreds of stories to explore. They did so, to some degree (a young Robert Englund [of Freddie Krueger fame] played a visitor-turned-revolutionary, although his penchant for using the wrong English word grew WAY too thin), but rarely stepped outside of the “I see Visitors, let’s shoot them” motif. It slowly turned into bad 70s television where the revolutionaries would mow down the Visitors with their guns, but the Visitors, no matter how many laser shots they fired, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

I found myself fast forwarding through some of the later episodes. Little things were unwatchable. Diana and Lydia having verbal catfights. One time they had an old fashioned Star Trek hand-to-hand combat fight that went nowhere. Which one of them was in charge? They were constantly backbiting and snippy to each other, giving orders and telling the other what to do. And from time to time someone entirely new was put in charge of them both, most of the time a man. (Charles, in later episodes.) Robin, who was so interesting early on, later becomes a rival in her daughter’s love life because one day she just woke up and decided she was in love with her daughter’s boyfriend? Huh?

Things got REALLY ridiculous when Charles announced his plan to get rid of Lydia: marry her. In this convoluted plot, she would be unable to refuse him and be sent back to the home planet where she would be forced to bear his children!

Really?? That’s your story?? Was there a writers strike that week?? I guess throwing her out of an airlock would have been too easy!

The line that had me busting a gut was a few episodes later when – while on a farm – one of the minor characters ran out of a farmhouse, shotgun in hand, and yelled “Put your hands in the air or I’ll fill you so full of lead you’ll think you was a pencil!”

It was a sad, sad ending to what started out so promising. I noticed that certain actors slowly disappeared. One of them was unceremoniously vaporized in the middle of the street. Another one went off to another “camp” or something. Ham, the Michael Ironside character. Despite his one-dimensional character, he was my favorite on the show. He still does great work. But did these actors leave the show because they saw the writing on the wall? Or lack thereof?

Interesting to note in Wikipedia (yes, a rock solid source) that series creator Kenneth Johnson left the show during “The Final Battle” due to creative differences. That means he wasn’t involved at all with the weekly series. (Nor is he involved with the new one.) There’s something to be said for the source of inspiration leaving a show.

After finishing the original series up, I watched the pilot of the new one. Very promising. Visually, it looks good and the characters could be interesting. (Too early to tell.) My one nitpick is that there’s a little too much feel-goodness to it. Two of the women served up the line “Talk to me, baby” line which always makes me want to gag and feel for the fast forward button. My finger is generally poised over the fast forward button on any given show. And the V leader! She looks great, she looks hot, but doesn’t she have anything to do? Why is she just standing around all the time, staring at men or out windows?

“V” looks intriguing and I’ll be diving in as soon as the disc comes from Netflix.

On Inception

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you have not seen the movie, go see it first!

You have to admit, it’s a pretty cool idea.

Walking around in someone’s dream, harnessing the power of THEIR imagination to pluck information out of it.

But you can’t pick it apart too much. There comes a point when you have to stop criticizing and start thinking, “What would I have done different?”

I started to write a post about how one of those things included asserting control over your dreams, and then stopped. My example was from my own dreams, where after a couple of years of trying, I could control my flying. (Otherwise, I was floating along in my dream as if a rope were tied around my waist and dangling me from the sky, flailing around like an idiot.) The trade-off was that in asserting a certain level of control over my dreams, I didn’t sleep as well.

And then I had a dream. In this dream, the other night, before I was able to post this, I was attacked, or hurt, or something along those lines. I couldn’t do anything to help myself and I was in total despair. I woke up thinking “Why didn’t I just heal myself?” But in a dream, I think we’re subconsciously subverted from realizing the reality of our situation – we’re cut off from our logical selves. You can’t always control what’s happening in your dream.

So I correct myself before I even post my post. As much as I think the concept of controlling one’s dream in “Inception” should have been introduced, I think it would have been rewriting the story.

That being said, there were still a couple of things I found fault with.

For one thing, the allies that Leonardo’s character found were scattered throughout the world, and were considered the “best in their field,” so to speak. In what field?? You mean there are dozens or hundreds of people out there who know all about traipsing through dreams and these are the best of the best? This concept is treated as if it were the field of thievery out of “Ocean’s 11.” As if EVERYBODY out there knows about this dream technology, but only a few can be really, really good at it! It doesn’t fit, in my opinion.

The second was the resolution. As much as I loathe the Hollywood “twist,” I have come to expect it. I really thought the twist in “Inception” was that Leonardo’s wife was right – that they really WERE in a dream and that her presence was her trying desperately to get him out. I know that’s what the filmmakers intended (a red herring), and I also realize it is probably the sole reason for the story (HE planted the idea and SHE was wrong about being in a dream), but still – I was left feeling “The twist! What’s the twist?!?”

The story itself was also a bit overcomplicated. I understood they wanted three levels of dreaming, sure, but why the strange “limbo” level? Why not just combine that one with the third level? And the part where one of the characters ties up the other people and drags them into an elevator – I did not catch what that was about. I think he was trying to set off a “trigger” to wake them up, but why did some characters seem to know that the van was about to hit the water, but not him? Why it was visually cool, I thought it was unnecessary. I think while it was an interesting script, it probably needed another rewrite to simplify and cut down the story.

The other thing was the exposition. I realize that a complex idea like this needs a certain amount of exposition, but when a movie is 2 ½ hours long and doesn’t get going until 30 minutes into it, you know that someone needs a better editor.

But these are quibbles. “Inception” was a genuinely original movie and was very well done. Ellen Paige was magnificent. DiCaprio, too, despite the fact that at his age he looks like he should still be playing teenagers instead of rough-housing secret agents.

The robot is resurrected

After leaving the blog dormant for some time, I decided to restart the Mercenary Robot on the regular WordPress site. The old one was through my blog, but I get WAY too much spam. With luck, it will be filtered out better here.

More to come.

Okay, it’s not scifi, but this is a good jumping off point to get me back to the blog. (Maybe it’s not scifi, but I always picture a space bus crash landing on an alien planet where the biggest idiot of the week gets fed to monkey gods.)

Like a lot of shows, I came late to Survivor. I didn’t watch the first few seasons, even when my roommates were engrossed, like everyone else in the world, and it didn’t hit me until round about the 16th or 17th edition. (They’re not really “seasons,” as they broadcast a different show twice per year.) Now, I’m hooked. Oddly enough, this happened with Star Trek, too. Of course, I was young, but I hated the show at first.

In Survivor, like any good story, the characters are what it’s all about. If it wasn’t for the “flagon-slayer” in 18, I might have stopped watching. 19 was billed as having one of the most unique and interesting characters, Russell. The “Puppet Master.” It sure lived up to its billing, too. He manipulated, lied, and wormed his way into the final three with an unprecedented success. It was truly an amazing thing to watch. Whether you agreed with his methods or not, he did it.

But could he win that way? Right from the get go, given his strategy, did he actually think he had a reasonable shot at winning it all?

Right from the beginning, he was all about sabotage. He decimated his own team by removing the strongest players, and week by week this showed. Team Foa Foa could not win a challenge to save their life (maybe one), and week by week they had to eliminate members of their own tribe, to the glee of Russell. He manipulated his tribe to eliminate everyone but those who were no threat to him at all, which is to say, the weakest players.

Going into the merge, Foa Foa was down 8-4 to Team Galu. Conventional wisdom suggests that Foa Foa should have been eliminated one by one, four weeks straight, and that would have happened had Galu not imploded. Shambo defected, Eric was voted off, and suddenly Foa Foa was back in the drivers’ seat. Shambo was huge. Without her help, Russell would not have got as far as he did. Galu continued to go home, and were it not for Brett’s lucky streak, Jaison would have stayed. In the final challenge, it was Russell’s sheer determination to win that pushed Brett out. And so Russell made it to the final three.

The final three: three Foa Foa vs. a jury of 7 Galu and 1 Foa Foa. It was pointed out that all three had, at some point, voted for all eight jury members.

And here’s where I always had a problem with Russell’s strategy: if your intention is to lie all along the way, lie to everyone, never tell the truth, make alliances you have no intention of keeping, how do you expect to get any votes from the jury? By that time, even if you played the most masterful game, why would any of them want to vote for you??

It is a matter of record that Natalie won. Why? Why didn’t they concede to Russell’s masterful plan?

Spite.

Pure and simple, it was a spite vote. The members of the jury were, by that time, so angry about the way the game was played that they would not give Russell the satisfaction of winning. They could vote for Mick, if they wanted to, but he was not a standout. Feckless? No more than anyone else.

That left Natalie. I think she may have got the female bloc to vote for her, more than anything else. Did she do anything outstanding throughout the game? Not at all. Yes, the little Christian girl looked HOT in that little bikini as she got skinnier and skinnier (“Brett! We’re prayer warriors!!”), but I don’t think that’s why she won. Like Russell said, she rode his coattails. She stayed in his wake. In 19, more than any season I have seen, someone won after flying low under the radar and doing nothing. I don’t think she even won a challenge.

Winning the game is about putting people on the jury who will vote for you. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, it matters what the jury thinks!

Come on, Russell, you had to see this coming! How could you lie to everyone and expect to win??

I have to say, I’m not sorry to see Atlantis go.

I know, I know, it’s a terrible thing to say, especially about a big-budget franchise show when they’re so few and far between. It’s great to see a show get the clout and capital to create scifi, because the genre is so pricey that few shows can do it at all.

But the last episode came and went, and in my mind … it went with a whimper.

It was a fine idea, to spin off the Stargate franchise and send some explorers to another galaxy where—and to me, this is where the fine idea ends—they do battle with another galaxy-wide bad guy who wants to enslave everyone and feed off of them. The Stargate team still fights them with crude weaponry (guns vs. blasters? Come on!) and always winds up victorious.

I’m not saying it was a terrible program, in fact, I appreciated watching it since before it became the flagship science fiction program on the SciFi channel. They had some really good writing, some good moments.

But the one flaw that I could never get past were the characters that were drawn up for this show. The “cast design,” if you will. They never gelled for me the way they did for SG-1, and they always seemed all wrong:

Sheppard. It was clear from his name what his role was supposed to be. But he never seemed to break out; he was always kind of a one-note character: “I don’t understand what’s happening, but if you can’t magically fix it, Rodney, we’ll shoot our way out of it.” There wasn’t that above-it-all of O’Neill’s character.

McKay. Easily the strongest character in the show. But he shouldn’t have been. He was, in a sense, the comic relief. The hapless technological go-to guy. Carter and Jackson were in similar roles, but never became the focus of the show. I think it was probably easier to write for him and that’s why he was featured so prominently.

Tayla. The most disappointing character. Completely underdeveloped, but left in the mix nonetheless. I’m not sure what I would have done with her character were I writing for the show, but I think making her the “queen” of her people was an odd choice. Where does she go within her tribe? She’s already at the top! And I think that influenced her character too much. She always had this air of “I’m a queen, I don’t have to be with you people, but I choose to.” Teal’c wasn’t the leader of his tribe; but he became one. Like Spock. There was a sense of progression within the context of the show. Tayla was always just “there,” the girl-who-kicks-ass which itself has become a stereotype. She served no real function, except to round out the team.

And then when she became pregnant … well, it’s fine have your characters bear children, but she really became a nonentity after that. And I could see the problem: how do you responsibly send a new mother through the gate and into harm’s way, each and every week?

Ronin. By the fifth season, I was finally seeing some acting. If you really needed a 210-lb hulk of muscle to run around and do the dirty work, it seems to me that there are loads of actors with cut abs who have got their chops down. I don’t know how many times the scene’s attention would be directed toward him and he would have this look on his face like he was still waiting for the director to yell “action!”

And the fact that they could never find anyone to truly take command of the facility. The writers always seemed to put characters into roles that they didn’t quite fit into: Elizabeth Weir always seemed like a DHS case worker unluckily put in charge of an alien outpost. Carter was fine, but didn’t have that gravity that General Hammond did. The bald guy just seems out of place. (Oh yeah, Wolsey.) He works, but shouldn’t there be someone from the military commanding?

My biggest pet peeves, however, were simply the stories themselves. Week after week, they just seemed to be lukewarm episodes of Stargate: SG-1. Not recycled, but poor imitations. There were few episodes that seemed extraordinary, few that really blew my socks off. Week after week the team would find itself in a semi-interesting position and then magically solve it without any serious repercussions. Unlike SG-1, at the end of each episode we always seemed to wind up back where we started: safe and secure. Where was the sense of exploring a new galaxy? Where were the new and interesting races? The Genii were pretty interesting, but even they seemed like one-note pianos: warfare.

So what would I have done differently? I don’t really know. As I watch an episode, any given episode, I find myself thinking about that and scratch my head. Take the series finale, for instance. The big climax was nothing more than Atlantis having to fight a big Wraith ship. Really? And they have to come back to Earth to do it? And the deus ex machine that RODNEY invents: “wormhole flight.” Uh, okay. This was how they magically got back to Earth just in time to blow up the evil ship. Nobody died, nobody got hurt, even Todd was just fine. Right back at square one: all safe and secure.

We left them staring at San Francisco, where presumably in a few years Starfleet will be building their headquarters.

On Fringe

 

I want to like “Fringe.” I really, really do. Really. I like what JJ has done in the past, and while I still have mixed feelings about “Lost” (I’m genuinely lost most of the time when I watch it), but I like it. He’s good with characters. I didn’t see the monster movie he produced, but I’d be willing to give it a chance.

But “Fringe.” I can’t help but feel it’s a bit of a faux “X-Files.” I’m sure JJ doesn’t want to bill it that way, but it just smacks of it—fringe science, alien abductions, all the things that the “X-Files” had covered.

This show seems less interesting. I sat down after it was caught on my Tivo with a glass of vino, and watched about half of it, which was all I could really take at the time. It just didn’t capture my interest. The characters weren’t that compelling. The whole plot about the lovers was a little predictable. You know that as soon as someone—at the BEGINNING of your story—tells the other that he loves her, there’s going to be trouble. Contemporary storytelling (especially on television) dictates that the three little words cannot be uttered without consequence.

And maybe what bothers me the most is that attention wasn’t paid to the characterization like it was with Lost. There’s no real fascination with the characters—there’s more focus on the plot and making the audience zip around the twists and turns. It was one of those shows where SO MUCH had to be packed into the 90 minutes that it HAD to skip along, at the expense of the characters.

The science, however, WAS interesting. I haven’t looked into whether or not what happened to that guy’s skin could really happen, but I’m guessing it could. (“Fringe” science.)

What happened at the end, of course. WAS a surprise. Interesting, but … not THAT interesting. It just wasn’t enough for me to give a crap about whether she goes on to take the job or not.

I think, unfortunately, the producers are going to have to take a few more cues from the “X-Files” to get the show off on the right step, namely conspiracy theories and outer space dudes. Threats from outer space are always fun to work with.

But of course—the series is still in its infancy. These kinds of shows have a way of developing over time. 

On The Venture Brothers

Wooo – where does the time go? I’ve been so wrapped up with life the past few months … ah, the excuses for not blogging. Actually, the absence DOES coincide with the new job. Flimsy, but it works.

The Venture Brothers are back! The kooky, death-prone, half-witted children of Dr. Venture who get into almost as much trouble as everyone else on the show. This is easily one of the best animated shows on TV and the wait for the new season was well worth it. (Rumor has it that my own cousin has been working on the show as an animator, but I haven’t been able to verify it.)

I watched the first two episodes– had to download them from the net because they won’t air in Canada for another year or more. (It’s one of the downsides to living in Canada: It’s like your big brother has all these cool new shows and he’s going to show them to all his friends first before he shows them to you. It feels like you get the hand-me-downs.) Same goes with Stargate: Atlantis. The new episodes won’t air until sometime later this year. (Even though it’s shot here!!)

Anyway. Watched the first two episodes. Wasn’t crazy about the first one, although I love the way they play with the opening credit sequence and incorporate different characters. (This time: The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend.) But most of the episode was what you might call the “on trial” type of show – a lot of sitting around and talking. A whole lot of blah blah blah. Interspersed with some flashback scenes of the Monarch in college – yawn. It’s almost an “origin” kind of thing, and frankly, I don’t know why everyone is so interested in “origins.” It never really appealed to me. It might be the same reason why I don’t care much for “flashbacks” – let’s move the story FORWARD, not BACKWARD.

The second episode was better, but in the third we’re BACK to the origins thing. This time, Billy Quizboy, and admittedly it was interesting. But so far this season we’ve seen the origins of the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend, Phantom Limb, Billy Quizboy, and to some degree Dr. Venture and Brock. Really? Is all this necessary?

And why spend so much time on Phantom Limb? He’s a good character, but frankly it seems too much to make him the grand schemer of the show. He’s not THAT interesting.

I’m not saying the show’s going downhill, just that they’re obviously trying out some new things this season. But it seems to me that the success of the show rested on its ability to shoot off into random directions, not stay in one place for too long.

On Kyle XY

Kyle XY is turning out to be one of my favorite shows. Maybe not of ALL TIME, but certainly of what is out there now. It really only has one foot in the tidal pool of science fiction, but because the lead character was grown in a test tube, that’s all it needs. Right there—the premise is pretty solid. That’s enough to call it science fiction.

The rest of the show is pretty minimalist, in terms of story: Kyle must solve the big mystery of who he is without letting too many people in on his secret. Along the way, he develops friendships, loves, hates, feelings, emotions—we are, in effect, watching a robot become human. In fact, for the first several episodes before they revealed exactly what he was, I was SURE he was a robot. Ah, well.

He also has these powers; these mysterious, phantom, abnormal powers that he keeps discovering. And here’s the first of my pet peeves: what happened to those powers?? In one of the first episodes, he’s kicking much cop ass—what happened to that?? And he jumps off a roof, landing on his feet; he can move glasses of water with his mind. (Mmm, that beer across the room is too far for me to go and get … ) Stuff like this appears once and then disappears.

But the beauty of this show, in my opinion, is the production itself. As far as scifi goes, it’s as minimal as you can get—everything takes place in one house (a BIG house) and a few select random locations, none of which really need much set dec. There are some specialty sets that need to be created, but for the most part, this is a low budget production.

And you can’t tell, can you? The writing is fantastic, the acting excellent, and the direction marvelous.

My biggest complaint? It’s kind of spinning off the direction that Lost did: no mystery is ever quite answered, and whenever we get close, ANOTHER appears. Unlike Lost, we know who the bad guys are.

But what do they want? Here’s where it’s also getting stretched a bit thin. First it was the evil corporation that made Kyle, but they self destructed or something. (Was it ever really explained?) And now it’s ANOTHER evil corporation, who want Kyle for his “information.” He apparently downloaded EVERYTHING from their database when he was in the pod because it was the only way to rebel against his parents. Something.

But what’s the data? Well, we don’t know. That won’t be answered until sometime down the road, I bet, like the season finale when they can string us along a little more. Presumably, the info is how to create MORE Kyles, even though they seem to know a great deal about him already!

So now it sounds like I’m bashing Kyle XY. Nah. I still like the show, I love the supporting cast (great bunch of actors), and the storylines all make a reasonable amount of sense. Everybody has their own thing going on, which is nice to see.

I’d just like to see the show move on to something bigger, something a little more risky, with a little edge, or it may just spin its wheels another season until it’s canceled, or until the audience gets fed up and rejects it like they did Lost.

One more thing

I remember now the plothole I was going to point out: in last night’s episode, the terminator has just killed the two guys and has shut himself down. Very cool. He stands there like a soldier, waiting for virtual orders. And then the forgotten dude walks up to him. “Hey, man,” he says, “where’s my money?” Whatever. Something like that. Then pushes the terminator over and gets himself killed. Doesn’t the walking computer know how to count?? Didn’t he think “Okay, killed that guy, killed that guy — where’s the other one I came with?” He just forgot?? Or maybe he’s on a zero-based counting system. “Killed two guys, my count is down to zero — guess that’s everybody! I can shut down, now.” Hmm. I’m just saying.

Here’s a show I was very skeptical on at first: more of the same, killer robot chases woman. While I grew up on The Terminator series, and must have seen it 12 times at the drive in just because there was nothing else playing and we needed an excuse to go somewhere. (Ah, I still remember climbing into the trunk of my old Maverick and nearly passing out from the fumes. We followed John Gonyea in, who had Sheldon Miller in the trunk. As they paid and drove in, John hit a bump and caused the trunk to open. Sheldon reached up and pulled the trunk down and horrors! We were almost caught.)

The Terminator. Here’s a franchise that’s been floating around for more than 20 years, and they feel the idea is so solid that they could make a television series out of it. 20 years later.

Robots from the future come back to kill people. And you know something, they’re making it work. It still works. It’s working so well, they’re making a Terminator 4. The basic premise has actually been fleshed out a little, from what I can tell. Skynet is not just sending robots back now to kill John Connor, but to start setting up the future (why they need the extra head start, I don’t know ). In last night’s episode, a terminator is hording metal to make future terminators. You get the sense that they may be up to something else.

We also discover the robots’ ability to repair themselves. Okay, that works. That’s quite plausible. I’m even able to overlook the little plot holes I’ve already discovered, most because of the liberal use of time travel (time travel plots inherently create their own plot holes): if preserving John is so important, why not change his name for awhile, until Armageddon hits? Skynet would only know if there were records kept. Why not send him to the future where he would be better protected? He could raise himself! And then send himself back in time at an appropriate age. One of the big holes for me was the fact that the first terminator made it through the time dilation field at all (in the first episode). I thought only flesh made it through? Which is why everyone comes through nekkid? And thus one of the reasons that a terminator has to be covered in flesh?

Yes, we can overlook these things if only because the plot moves right along. It’s well written by Josh Friedman (who has done most of them so far) and with Gale Ann Hurd producing it (the original producer of The Terminator), it’s bound to keep to the original specs, style, and tone. I even found myself on the edge of my seat (which rarely happens anymore!) when John finds himself alone in the bunker with the terminator who, powered down, has the only key to the door – around his NECK! Ohh, my heart stopped as he had to approach that scary thing. Thought they missed an opportunity by not having the terminator power up at the last second (15 seconds to reboot, they said) and having him chase young John through the door.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles could just as easily been the John Connor Chronicles. In a way, it might work better because then it’s HIS story, and as he grows up, it’s really going to be his story anyway. Then the series would focus on his character, instead of Sarah’s. It’s been stated by Cameron (Summer Glau – when did they name the robot??) that Sarah dies in four years. That would actually be an interesting turn of events in a series like this; if the TSCC lasts that long, then she dies of cancer, and John goes on to fight the robots on his own. (Although, it’s also been stated that the world will end in four years.)

Summer Glau is great as the robot. She seems an unlikely cast as a terminator, but then she got her chops down in Serenity, kicking some alien ass. Lena Headey sort of/kind of resembles the original Sarah Connor to me (of course, we were always drinking at the drive in and the lighting wasn’t that good), but my girlfriend is arguing that she’s a crappy actress with her flat, breathy lines. Interesting to note that the user comment that comes up for me in IMDb on this show says “Poor casting for Sarah Connor.” Thomas Dekker is doing an admirable job as John Connor.

And I KNOW you’re thinking what I’m thinking: is Cameron going to walk around in her underwear again? Does she come equipped with all the standard girl options? Did they program out all the moodiness and the girly whining? Does she cook? Are she and John going to … you know? Would he? Would YOU? Yes, you would, pervert.

I love robots. I really do. I love their little mechanical hearts, and the way they do what they’re told, unconditionally, unquestionably, unless you’re Bender …

How do you suppose Magnus: Robot Fighter would do against a Terminator? Now THAT I would love to see.