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.