After announcing the show, the lights dimmed and we were shown the pilot of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and boy, did it begin with a literal bang. The opening dream sequence scene showcased by an evil terminator (Owain Yeoman) gunning for John Connor (Thomas Dekker) and Sarah (Lena Headley) shows enough explosions and bullets flying to satisfy any Terminator fan. The special effects (done by Zoic, who also worked on Serenity) were incredible as was the music, which reminded me of the tribal beats from Battlestar Galactica. Thankfully, it was only a dream in Sarah’s mind.
Apparently, the show takes place two years after the events of Terminator 2, and both John and Sarah are on the run for the murder of Dr. Miles Bennet Dyson, as well as the destruction of Cyberdyne. They’re being chased by FBI agent James Ellison (Richard T. Jones) for these events, and have thankfully, remained one step ahead of the agent thanks to Sarah’s training and, in all honesty, paranoia.
Due to Sarah’s dream, the Connors’ relocate to a tiny town in New Mexico, where upon entering his new school, John runs into Cameron Phillips (Summer Glau) who tries to befriend him immediately. It’s soon apparent that the terminator from Sarah’s dream is a reality, as he tries to shoot John on his first day in their new school. Thankfully, Cameron is also a terminator, and when she drives up to John in a pickup truck saying, "Come with me if you want to live," chills ran down my spine as the audience cheered. It was a great moment.
Upon returning to their new home, the terminators collide in a battle that is fun and intense to watch. Both terminators do a great deal of property damage to the house before Cameron disables the evil terminator and drives off with the Connors. This is a brief respite, however, as the evil terminator reboots and resumes his pursuit of them. Also right on their trail is Agent Ellison, who has followed them to New Mexico.
Cameron then explains to the Connors that Skynet was still built, but she doesn’t know by whom, so after visiting Dyson’s widow to give her the news that Skynet will still happen, Sarah vows to destroy the new Skynet. This gives Cameron the idea to shoot all three of them forward in time, from 1999 to 2007, to find and destroy the new Skynet and its creator. Upon arriving in 2007, all three naked (since time traveling in the Terminator universe allows for neither clothing nor items), Cameron neatly subdues several college boys in order to steal their clothing and their car. The show thus ends with the three of them trying to start a new life eight years in their future. I must say I was impressed with the actual show, for the action was good and the acting was impeccable. I think the two actors playing Sarah and John did a great job with their respective roles, and Summer, of course, was amazing.
After the pilot was shown, many of the cast came out for the panel, including Owain Yeoman, Thomas Dekker, Lena Headley, Richard T. Jones and of course, Summer Glau, as well as the producer and director. You could tell many in the crowd were Firefly/Serenity fans, because when Summer appeared, the crowd when nearly batty. Since Richard T. Jones had to follow her on stage, he kept complaining about her status as a "celebrity" which we all laughed at, including Summer.
During the panel, many people asked about what it was like to take up the reigns of such a popular and well-established franchise, and the answers were respectful both of the history of the franchise and James Cameron, who was cited repeatedly as inspiration for this new series.
Summer was also asked a few questions, the standout being "What’s the coolest thing about being on this show?" Her answer? "I get to play a terminator!" Much of Summer’s panel time was taken up being ribbed by Richard T. Jones for her popularity, which was amusing for a while, but did get somewhat tiresome.
Overall, I’d have to say this show looks very good. I’m slightly worried about how they can keep up the energy every week, and I’m also worried that, since the show is on Fox, it’ll only last 4 episodes before being cancelled. That being said, I highly recommend checking out The Sarah Connor Chronicles this fall. Now, here are some pictures I took at the panel.