09 June 2010

TV Meme: Day 10 - Show I Ended Up Loving

It's Day 10 of the TV meme, and the topic of the day is: a show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving. First off, good news: I got internet back!!! (I've been resorting to the library computers, and I HATE them because they frak up the Blogger presentation) So that means more meaty posts other than this TV meme. I got a book review and a few movie reviews ready to be written/posted, plus a little editorial topic that I want to open for discussion (if anyone's game). So, talk about massive amount of happiness!

Anyway, back on subject. There's plenty of shows that could fit this category: For example, I was absolutely sure I would completely find the comedy in The Big Bang Theory lacking, and as fate would have it, I'm a avid follower who now ones both seasons on DVD and eagerly awaiting season 3 to own and rewatch a bazillion times. But I chose a short-lived television show that I was absolutely sure would suck, but ended up being so bloody good I broke my golden rule of waiting for cheap DVD box sets and just went ahead and bought both seasons on Blu-Ray for a rather hefty price tag (which I now sorta regret, now with both seasons under the $30 buck range - far less than I paid per season).

Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles survived two seasons on the FOX Network (a channel notorious for prematurely canceling Firefly), and I didn't watch a single episode when it aired. So, in a way, I contributed to the shows demise. However, what sense does it make putting it on a Friday night when you're not on the SyFy Channel? FOX teamed Sarah Connor with Dollhouse, and when it came to decision time, FOX put their financial backing behind renewing Dollhouse for a second season. So, I'm conflicted. On one hand, Joss Whedon was given a second season to a show on FOX (just rewards), but on the other, fans and audiences lost a marvelous show that didn't get the recognition and love it deserved.

Why I thought I would totally dislike this project? Well, I've never been much of a Terminator enthusiast one way or another. Sure, I've watched the films a few times over, and my favorite of the series is Rise of the Machines (a blasphemous claim that would no doubt see me getting beaten up at Comic Con), but highly devoted to the material? Not so much. Additionally, I don't have that much faith in FOX. With the exception of Joss Whedon programs and 24, the channel hasn't produced any other shows that I find very appealing. So them dabbling in science fiction with a viable franchise was sorta frighting. Another factor was that I simply had no idea how they planned on making these grand epic -scale episodes week after week, and I was completely puzzled on how they could make this show remotely interesting.

Turns out series creator Josh Friedman (Snakes on a Plane) had a brilliant idea on how to make the show interesting week after week, and also somehow create a sense of freshness to this semi-tired franchise. T-SCC was much, much more than watching John Connor thwart a Terminator week after week with the aid of Sarah Connor, his mother. Friedman made the wise decision to have the show be all about Sarah and John and their strained relationship. All the lies they have to keep track of to survive, all the necessary precautions that must be taken to live another day, the loneliness of being the future savior of mankind and the mother of a child of destiny - not to mention the very concept of destiny - is explored in this show.

That's the beauty of it. In the wake of a inevitable global apocalypse, it all boils down to Sarah Connor and John Connor. The writing of the show was off the walls awesome, and was surprisingly highly intelligent (not to be rude show-runners, but again, I didn't expect much) and logical (especially with all the time-jumping mumbo jumbo technicalities).

Something that definitely helped aid the show was the stellar cast. Lena Heady (300) impresses as a woman with a great burden who can alleviate it. Thomas Dekker (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is sadly given the short end of the stick the first season, being a very annoying on the ears John Connor, but the shows sophomore season quickly gives Dekker some phenomenal material to work with, and he delivers with spades. Brian Austen Green (Smallville, or 'the boyfriend of Megan Fox') took awhile to grow on me, but once he did, I can honestly say he was spectacularly stellar. And Summer Glau - wow, she is a jaw-droppingly talented actress.

I would go on and on in detail. I've already written a season one review, and I've had a season two review drafted since October 2009 that needs to be fleshed out, so check that out if you've already seen the show. On the surface, it may not seem all that greater. The levels of doubt I had are possibly apparent in its first season, but as it turns out, T-SCC has so many layers of story and emotional depths, it's impossible not to be immersed in the shows mythology, plots, and characters.

1 comment:

David Bishop said...

I watched every episode when it aired, and I was devastated to learn of its cancellation. Ultimately Fox execs explained why Dollhouse was given another season when Terminator was canceled. It had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of either show. Dollhouse was cheaper to make and Fox is all about saving money.

Oh, and Terminator wasn't always a Friday show. It's first season was on a Monday and it did reasonably well there. It's no shock ratings took a turn for the worse when Fox moved it.