eightiswild (eightiswild) wrote,

Top 5 Shows that Lost Their Allure part 3 of 5

Welcome back readers! Thank you so much for all the feedback, you all help make this so much fun!
So once again we are exploring the top 5 shows that I found disappointing. They were great to begin with and either slowly fell into madness or made a dash into absurdity.
Let's dive right in!

3. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I have a feeling a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but this show did not end up meeting its potential. TSCC was hit or miss from the beginning, with some episodes being startlingly awesome and others strange and confusing. However, it was a good concept. Who wouldn't like a show that takes all that was good about the first two Terminator movies and then fixes the gaping problems with the third? There is no arguing that this show was marketed well. The commercials were really well played and the show just looked good. Literally. The filming was brilliant and the very design was very aesthetically awesome.
The Terminator movies were epic. Having three older brothers I grew up watching them and had way too much fun. The series works hard to stay true to the movies. It picks up a few years after the second movie and focuses on Sarah as she fights to raise her son and keep him from dying. The fit hits the shan when the big bad terminator shows up to try and once again end John Connor.
Then when everything looks lost, Cameron shows up and utters the phrase that will remain the most notorious of the series. "Come with me if you want to live".
As I said before, season 1's episodes were hit or miss, but it was entertaining.
They made a good call casting Summer Glau as the helpful Terminator of the series. She's no Arnold. I leave to you to decide whether that is good or bad. ;)
Cameron was a great character and the creators really seemed to understand that by the 2nd season where she literally gets a few screws knocked lose and goes crazy. At this point Cameron straddled the line between hilarious comedy relief and kick butt action chica and she did it well. When you think about it she was TSCC's equivalent of Gir. Laugh all you want, but remember she can kill you with her pinky.
My feelings are a bit more mixed when it comes to Sarah. British actress Lena Headey worked hard to reimagine the role and look at it from a different angle. I respect that and when you are following up a legend like Linda Hamilton's Sarah it's often the best thing to do. But how did she fair?
Linda Hamilton's Sarah was just your average woman when Kyle Reese fell into her life, or she was supposed to be. Let's face it, there was a natural kick butt instinct in this woman and when everything came to a head she proved it. Sarah was ready to do anything to protect her son and protect the future. You don't mess with a mama bear...especially when she's got a semi-automatic.
Lena Headey brought a softer side to the Sarah character. She was a strong woman but she was a world saver first and mom second. I liked going deeper into her character and I enjoyed her character at first but eventually her parental skills became really questionable in the series. At one point a psychiatrist even becomes convinced she's abusive, with good reason. I understand that priority one should be the survival of the world, but wouldn't you like to work a little harder to raise a mentally stable son? I liked Lena Headey but I felt the character in the series was far too self involved. From romances on the side to personal struggles of her own, Sarah barely had time for her kid. You know...the rescuer of the world? And I don't care how she tried to play it off in the season 1 finale...she did too forget his birthday.
Confession. Love for the original films aside, Thomas Dekker was the reason I started watching the show. I always found  John Connor to be a very compelling character. The weight of the world is literally on his shoulders. Edward Furlong played him as a kid in the 2nd Terminator movie. He was tough as nails and old beyond his years. I have no problem imagining him growing up to be Christian Bale's tough and gritty future fighter of the 4th movie--yes I am going with the series here and pretending the 3rd movie got washed away by all the time line rearranging. How does the series John compare?
As said, I love Thomas Dekker. He's a brilliant actor I first saw in Heroes and I firmly believe he can play whatever role he's handed. Once again, however, my feelings are mixed. I loved John in the series but I had a hard time imagining him as the John Connor. He was emo, world weary and about one straw away from complete mental break down. To be this can be a pretty good recipe for an interesting plot. That is until the beginning of the second season where he actually does have something of a break down. Though I loved this character, I honestly can't see Edward Furlong becoming him and I can't see him becoming Bale. It's too much of a leap from me. Maybe we should once again blame series Sarah's abusive parenting? I honestly don't know. He started out in season 1 as interesting but by season 2 he was ready to let the world take the fall so he could have a "normal" life. Before season 2 was even over I was so sick of his whining I really wanted to slap him and ask if he even remembers why it is he's running. This is a case of a great actor who gets a great character but is royally screwed by sloppy writing.

The series introduced several original characters of its own. For instance Charley the EMT. He was a great character and in many ways the best "parent" John had in the show. Sorry Sarah, but really. There was Agent Ellis, poor man. I feel bad for any FBI agent and/or policeman who gets the Connor case file. It usually means confusion, headaches and in Ellis' case a swimming pool full of dead agents. (Possibly the single most disturbing thing I have ever seen on a TV show, and that is saying a lot considering I watch Criminal Minds).
Also, there was the aforementioned psychiatrist who I loved. He took one look at the Connor family and was ready to call a hotline. It was surprisingly amusing.
Most importantly, though, was Derek Reese. Kyle's brother and unbeknown uncle of the rescuer of humanity. The minute Derek entered the scene in episode 6 the show went from interesting to amazing. With a firm nod to Michael Biehn's Kyle Reese of the movies, Derek is tough and smart. He comes back with a mind to finish what Kyle started and instead finds the nephew he never knew existed. Derek takes a hand in helping to shape John and often goes head to head with Sarah on exactly how that should happen. Derek tries to do exactly what I complained about series Sarah not doing. He works on readying John for the coming war and making sure he's mentally sound enough to lead. He's the balancing force John needs and all of their scenes together are pure gold. John was more confident and strong in his scenes with Derek and they were simply fun to watch. The two best episodes of the series centered around them and their interaction. In the season 1 finale Derek is the first person to remember it's John's birthday and gives him a present like no other: a chance to "meet" his father. They watch young Kyle and young Derek play baseball in one of the coolest scenes ever.
Then in season 2 "Goodbye to All That", Derek and John have to infultrate a military academy and play drill sergent and student. It's so epic to see them, John actually shows his tough side to the point I honestly believed--if only for one episode--that he could be the rescuer the movies foretold.

Sadly Derek  too went the way of the series and became self involved and actually annoying. He developed a love interest and suddenly couldn't focus on anything else. Actually, that happened a lot. John likewise meets a girl and suddenly the world isn't very important. Sarah had a hard time giving up Charley to go on the run. I mean come on. I'm sorry saving the world is putting a cramp on your love live's heroes, but...don't you think I'd be easier to have a love life if the world doesn't end?

There were some great villians in the series from the Terminator Cromartie (I swear they were saying "Come Moriarty" all the time, or maybe it was the Sherlock Holmes fan in me) to the far more subtle Catherine Weaver. I'm not sure what was so scary about her, but I think it was the forehead. When she started brushing her hair over her face to look more human she lost like 9/10s of her fear factor. She stayed cool through and through but Cromartie lost his cred when he died in one of the most ridiculously melodramatic death scenes of any terminator franchise moment ever. That is including Arnold's deaths in the movies. But don't worry if you miss the actor, they bring him back as a baby skynet computer with feelings. I know...I know. I don't honestly know what to say about that subplot.

Unfortunately, I think the main problem with the series was actually the same thing that made it awesome. TSCC tried really hard to be a smarter version of the movies. Where the James Cameron--hmmm wonder where the robot got her name--movies were primarily action films that were quite the thrill ride but not exactly intellectually challenging, the series had a deep and complex story line. I think. They explored how Skynet got started, wandered into the broken psyches created by too much pressure and focused too much on John's confusing family tree. In fact, they tried to look too closely at everything. Terminator was always a fascinating franchise but there are so many notable plotholes, and when TSCC shone light on it you could see straight through all the cracks. The plot became too big for itself and the series only created more plotholes. They tackled too much at once and tried to throw everything at the viewer. Every new idea spawned about a dozen subplots. What would it be like to love a robot? Well, that has angst in itself but when John falls for Cameron, is internal angst enough? No! They introduce two new future people who's soul purpose in the past is to make sure John doesn't fall for the adorable hunk of cogs. What? Why not just tell him?
How was Skynet created? Well it started as a chess robot. What?
And every time Derek and John talked about their family it became clear how messed up the time jumbling Connor/Reese family tree was.
The movie had plotholes sure, but it didn't try to take itself to seriously. The series, however, wanted to be a throught provoking piece of fiction and just fell apart.
Because of this TSCC became wrought with angst and issues. I mean look at the wallpapers they used for this series. It looks like the cover of a My Chemical Romance album. John cried too much, Sarah spent a lot of time posing dramatically. Derek bemoaned the fact that his nephew was never actually going to be a hero at this rate. In fact, Cameron seemed to be the only one who knew how to live life and she was a robot. Before season 2 wrapped up the characters were all suicidally depressed and both Sarah and John had multiple nervous breakdowns. Where as Kyle Reese in the movies is mistaken for a mental patient, the Connors of the series really need to be committed. Honest to blog I would not like the fate of the world to be in their very unsteady hands.
To sum it up, TSCC took a simple group of movies and tried far too hard to make it a masterpiece. They weren't true to the movies and in the end they weren't even true to the characters they created. Good plots were underplayed, romances were ridiculously overplayed and they killed Derek. They killed Derek. I don't even have words to rant about this. There seems to have been a strange alternate reality plot to bring him back, but I honestly couldn't bring myself to watch any further to find out.
So much promise, so little follow through.
Tune in next time for...dun dun dun...the 2nd most Disapointing show!

Tags: brian austin green, gir, sarah connor chronicles, summer glau, terminator
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