Monday, January 14, 2008

Pilot Review: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)
Premiered January 13 at 9pm

The big question here is whether a premise that barely sustained a trilogy of films can be intriguing and inventive enough week-to-week to work as a series. The first forty-five minutes of this action-heavy show say no. The last fifteen, however, say absolutely yes. While the dialogue is iffy and I doubt that the characters of either John or Sarah will ever really become deep, thought-out souls, I liked the fast-paced opening. For most of the first episode, it seemed like simply a PG-13 rehash of the films (more like "Terminator 3", since no liquid metal was involved). The youngest terminator ever to live (played by 26-year-old Summer Glau - maybe she just looks really young) has little depth but seems to be harboring some great secrets. The line of believability becomes thinner when you think about the fact that the resistance was able to re-program at least three different terminator models to do their bidding. But maybe this new terminator was designed by the resistance? Anyway, this waning hour picks up remarkably in its last quarter with a game-changing shift that got me really excited. The half-villains in Richard T. Jones and Dean Winters should serve well to follow along with the preventative exploits of Sarah and crew. I could definitely get into this show, I just need to make sure that tonight's second episode takes after the last part of the first episode, and not the earlier stuff.

How will it work as a series? The ending of the first episode indicates that it could actually have a remarkable run provided that it steers clear of formulaic terminator vs. terminator plotlines every episode.
How long will it last? I am sure this show will have no trouble finding an audience. If "Bionic Woman" was able to get great numbers towards the beginning of its run, this show will be fine. It is a bonus that FOX really is the perfect network to air this show, and should be kind to it. Pairing it with "Prison Break" is a great move.

Pilot grade: B-