Terminator Franchise Was Almost Saved By This Forgotten TV Gem
The Sarah Connor Chronicles is far better than anything that came after Terminator 2, even if it didn't last long.
- The franchise's track record has been shaky, with no consistently great films since Terminator 2
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series was a breath of fresh air, praised by critics and fans alike
- The project shared the fate of many great TV shows, much to the frustration of fans
The Terminator franchise has been in a rather dire state for quite some time now, with each new installment getting worse and worse, much to the disappointment of countless fans.
The first film, released in 1984, was the entirely original brainchild of James Cameron and had a huge impact on the film industry and popular culture in general, with references to it appearing in other projects almost four decades later.
The second installment, once again directed by Cameron, did what many thought was impossible, improving on almost every aspect of the original while moving away from the borderline horror elements of the first film.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a perfect sci-fi action movie, masterfully working with the concepts of its predecessor and utilizing groundbreaking (at the time) visual effects that allowed it to barely age since its release in 1991.
It also had an extremely compelling story, changing the characters of both Sarah Connor and the T-800 in drastic but completely natural ways, as well as introducing exciting new ones like John Connor and the T-1000, and giving them all plenty of time to shine in their own unique fashion.
Unfortunately, it also marked the end of the unanimously great Terminator movies, as the following installments were questionable at best.
The Dark Times
2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines took a comedic turn that most fans didn't take lightly, and while it was still entertaining, it was clearly inferior to its predecessors.
The best part of the movie was its completely unexpected and dark finale, where our heroes failed to prevent Judgment Day and the world was obliterated by the nuclear warheads.
2009's Terminator Salvation had huge potential finally fully introducing viewers to the post-apocalyptic future ruled by the machines that had only been hinted at in brief scenes in previous installments.
Unfortunately, it was also pretty underwhelming, and while it was a chance to have a flawed but somewhat decent conclusion to the time loop at the heart of the franchise's story, things somehow got worse.
Terminator Genisys, released in 2015, was the worst thing to happen to the franchise so far, embarrassing in almost every way, and while Terminator: Dark Fate, released in 2019, was slightly better in some ways, it was still pretty bad.
Still, the franchise has been surprisingly successful in the television realm, even if few people remember it now.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles Almost Saved Terminator Franchise
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series ran for two seasons from 2008 to 2009 and was praised by fans and critics alike, ignoring the events of the third film and picking up after the second.
It followed Sarah and John Connor, portrayed by Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker, respectively, as well as a new friendly Terminator model, T-900 TOK715 aka Cameron, played by Summer Glau, best known for her appearances in the TV series Firefly and 2005's Serenity.
The familiar set-up of trying to stop Skynet once and for all turned into a great story with compelling, well-acted characters, spiced up with some completely unexpected reveals, making it the best thing to happen to the franchise since 1984.
Headey was exceptional as Sarah, which was a tough challenge after Linda Hamilton's iconic take on the character, while Glau also did a great job conveying her character's growth throughout the series.
But like many great shows, The Sarah Connor Chronicles was canceled after only two seasons due to low ratings, leaving a massive final cliffhanger unresolved and frustrating fans who remember it fondly to this day.
James Cameron is currently developing a reboot for the franchise, but at this point it is impossible to tell if he will succeed, so if you are craving something good set in the Terminator universe, why not revisit this forgotten old gem or check it out for the first time.