Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

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Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-10 11:46pm

I missed this on the broadcast (I think it was back when my time and money was going to airplanes), but I recently view The Sarah Conner Chronicles. For those not familiar with the show, it occurs in the Terminator universe and features (of course) Sarah Conner, her son John Conner (future savior of humanity), and a Terminator called Cameron played by Summer Glau whom some of your nerds may also know as River Tam from Firefly.

A brief review of the Terminator "timeline" in regards to what movie/show comes when:

Terminator
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
Terminator Salvation
Terminator Genisys


Now, T:SCC is a different dynamic because it is a TV show rather than a movie 90-120 minutes long. With 31 episodes 46 minutes long that close to 24 hours of T:SCC. It allows for a different sort of character development, longer arcs, and moments of calm amidst the chaos.

One issue with the show is that the continuity between it and the movies is shaky. I'm thinking that might actually be a feature and not a bug - the whole point to the Terminator premise (any of the shows) is that someone goes back in time to change the past, present, and future. One can handle that by imposing a sort of temporal inertia - meaning no matter what you do you can't actually change the major points of future events. Or you allow actual changes which means, yes, continuity is going to go down the toilet because change actually happens.

The Terminator franchise leans towards the latter. There is some inertia - the war with the machines/Skynet and Judgement Day allows happens at some point, but the date does change from movie to movie to TV show. There are a lot of fan theories on this, go read some or propose your own.

Anyhow, in brief, Cameron is a Terminator re-programmed to protect John Conner and sent back in time to do exactly that. In the pilot there is a temporal jump forward to 2007. The series goes back as far as the 1920's ("Self Made Man") and we see interludes from the future post-Judgement Day world as well.

While the TV show is not as consistently good as, say, the first Terminator movie it certainly did flesh out more of the universe, particularly the future of the milieu. I'd say it is worth watching at least once if you're a fan of more than one of the movies.

Anyhow, that's the opening post - if anyone wants to contribute feel free. This is certainly a more recent "old show" than some of the others I've reviewed and thus it's more likely folks remember seeing it broadcast.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-11 12:37am

Its strange to think of this as an "old show". As I recall, it was on the air around the time I started university.

Am I... actually feeling old? Surely I'm still too young for that.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-05-11 12:44am

The Romulan Republic wrote:Its strange to think of this as an "old show". As I recall, it was on the air around the time I started university.

Am I... actually feeling old? Surely I'm still too young for that.

actually here's the thing you're never too young to feel old, unless you're so young that concepts of "young" or "old" are meaningless since your mind isn't developed enough (aka infants)
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Joun_Lord » 2017-05-11 01:07am

I too find it a bit odd that TSCC is considered old but then part of me still feels like its the early 2000s. My inability to mentally grow up aside, I watched and enjoyed the frack out of that show when it aired.

Its quality was certainly mixed but I think mostly on the positive. Had some excellent character interactions, great explorations of the nature of the machines, good action, and Allison from Palmdale remains one of my favorite tv episodes just from how hard Summer Glau killed it acting that episode. Garrett Dilahunt also acted his ass off for the show, first as the almost human Cromartie and then as John Henry.

The plot got a bit weird at times, even confusing for some casual (and not so casual) viewers thanks to the multiple timelines and the fact it had nothing to do with Terminator Salvation that came out around the same time. Really the greatest thing about the show was its characters. Lena Heady did a fantastic job playing a slightly broken mother trying to fight the future for the sake of her son (there is probably a Game of Thrones joke there somewhere), the dude playing John did a great job portraying some kid with the weight of the world on his shoulders and how it affected him, and Brian Austin Green was good as the supportive uncle with his own demons. Still I think Summer Glau stole the show.

It unfortunately ended on a real cliff hanger that we will probably never get resolved.

As for the timeline of it, as far as I know its separate from the movie continuity except Terminator 1 and 2. The time jump they do in the pilot created a new timeline separate from the events of the later movies.

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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-11 01:49am

I remember watching it when I was enlisted. Season 1 I watched in it's entirety. Season 2 I gave up on because the local station was so inept that instead of broadcasting the show, o got live footage of an empty newsroom set for an hour. You can only stomach that for so long before you give up on trying to keep up with a series.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Thanas » 2017-05-11 06:29am

The timeline is afaik completely different from the movies, it does not tie in with salvation or genysis iirc.

I mean within the show there are five different timelines.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-11 08:02am

There's in-show discussion of differing time-lines, most notably in discussions between Derek and Jesse when it becomes apparent the two of them are not from the exact same future. Despite this being addressed explicitly, though, there are still some people who don't get it.

Which is actually a major problem as the franchise goes on, and one reason why Terminator Genisys didn't do well at the box office. A lot of people have trouble following multiple timelines or even understanding the concept.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-14 08:36pm

One thing that gets me about the entire franchise....

How do the cyborgs maintain their organic structure?

Cameron (TV series) is capable of eating, even if she doesn't feel hunger so maybe that's what supplies her organic skin, assuming some sort of digestive apparatus, but while she can eat she seems to not eat most of the time. She also heals faster than a human does.

Cromartie (TV series Teminator) is not seen to eat but, after a Bad Thing Happened to him he re-grows his outer organic skin by soaking in a bathtub full of, among other things, a lot of blood. Well, OK, some sort of soup that accelerates cell growth but clearly it's an extreme situation and not the usual maintenance method.

Pops (the movie Genisys) establishes that not only can terminators re-grow skin, they age, acquiring wrinkles and grey hair... but again, no indication of how he does all that other that he states it would take "years" for him to regrow the flesh on his arm after it's eaten off by acid (which sort of begs the question why he can't do what Cromartie did... except Pops is a T-800 and Cromartie is (probably) a T-888. For that matter, Cameron is a different model, too (TOK715 I think is her designation). They probably all have somewhat different ways to maintain and/or regenerate their flesh).

Of course, the T-1000's don't really have flesh, they are liquid metal that can imitate the appearance of flesh(and probably some texture, although Savanah Weaver complains that her "mother's" lap is cold so maybe not temperature), which then begs the question of how they can time travel, since time travelers appear naked and the machinery has to be covered in flesh. I dunno - maybe they spray a T-1000 with pureed beef (or maybe long pork depending on what's available in the future) prior to time travel.

Yes, I'm probably overthinking it but what's the point of being an SF geek if you can't overthink things?
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Iroscato » 2017-05-14 08:39pm

TSCC isn't old, it only came out...in...2008...

Holy shit.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Gandalf » 2017-05-14 08:59pm

I couldn't get through the pilot to this show. For some reason I remember complaining about the terminators apparently having a one liner function that seemed to impede their killing.

Iroscato wrote:TSCC isn't old, it only came out...in...2008...

Holy shit.


Yeah, I'm questioning the premise here.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-14 09:22pm

Gandalf wrote:I couldn't get through the pilot to this show. For some reason I remember complaining about the terminators apparently having a one liner function that seemed to impede their killing.


Maybe those sorts of idiosyncrasies are designed to help them blend in better with the human populace?
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-14 09:56pm

Gandalf wrote:I couldn't get through the pilot to this show. For some reason I remember complaining about the terminators apparently having a one liner function that seemed to impede their killing.

Iroscato wrote:TSCC isn't old, it only came out...in...2008...
Holy shit.

Yeah, I'm questioning the premise here.

Feel free to define "old SF" then. I agree, it's on the young side of old but for pop culture 10 years is definitely aging.

The Romulan Republic wrote:
Gandalf wrote:I couldn't get through the pilot to this show. For some reason I remember complaining about the terminators apparently having a one liner function that seemed to impede their killing.

Maybe those sorts of idiosyncrasies are designed to help them blend in better with the human populace?

Terminators aren't perfect.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Gandalf » 2017-05-14 10:20pm

Broomstick wrote:Feel free to define "old SF" then. I agree, it's on the young side of old but for pop culture 10 years is definitely aging.


I'd say pre-Sopranos, as that show is one of the great watermarks of television history. It's the start of the period where television is no longer the backwater of entertainment, and lays the foundation for the modern environment dominated by the likes of Breaking Bad and House of Cards. [/mediahistorian]

The Romulan Republic wrote:
Gandalf wrote:I couldn't get through the pilot to this show. For some reason I remember complaining about the terminators apparently having a one liner function that seemed to impede their killing.

Maybe those sorts of idiosyncrasies are designed to help them blend in better with the human populace?

Terminators aren't perfect.


I have an image of an American drone hovering over the ME, texting witticisms before launching a missile.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-14 10:31pm

Nah, it would just text Trump tweets, which is the opposite of witticism.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Gandalf » 2017-05-14 10:40pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:Nah, it would just text Trump tweets, which is the opposite of witticism.


"Here comes a Hellfire missile. Tremendous weapon, great explosions. The best. You're the worst. Sad."
"How you wanna raise a flag with a rifle
To make us want to celebrate anything but survival?
Nah, you watching tele for The Bachelor
But wouldn’t read a book about a fuckload of massacres?"

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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Thanas » 2017-05-15 01:12pm

Broomstick wrote:One thing that gets me about the entire franchise....

How do the cyborgs maintain their organic structure?

Cameron (TV series) is capable of eating, even if she doesn't feel hunger so maybe that's what supplies her organic skin, assuming some sort of digestive apparatus, but while she can eat she seems to not eat most of the time. She also heals faster than a human does.


I really wouldn't put too much of a stock in anything she does as she is clearly way more advanced than any other terminator. She is a really bad benchmark, using her would be like using watson and using his capabilities to compare it to a gaming PC.


Gandalf wrote:I'd say pre-Sopranos, as that show is one of the great watermarks of television history. It's the start of the period where television is no longer the backwater of entertainment, and lays the foundation for the modern environment dominated by the likes of Breaking Bad and House of Cards. [/mediahistorian]


I am not sure that credit belongs to The Sopranos alone, it was part of a series of series that all started in the same year or the one before that all featured long-term storylines and a novelistic approach to storytelling.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Joun_Lord » 2017-05-15 03:14pm

Thanas wrote:I really wouldn't put too much of a stock in anything she does as she is clearly way more advanced than any other terminator. She is a really bad benchmark, using her would be like using watson and using his capabilities to compare it to a gaming PC.


Was she more advanced though? I don't recall anything about her that really screamed more advanced. Perhaps the only thing more advanced was her learning where she was (other then Pops and nobody cares about that) the longest active Terminator. As a "basic" model back in the pilot she had no advantage over Cromartie but later on is killing Terminators like its nobodies business. But not because she was more advanced but she had learning through experience the best ways to kill other Terminators including a heel to the eye.

She didn't really seem any better at infiltration, temporarily fooling John in the pilot by acting pretty human but its not like other Terminators didn't act human too. She is a bit of an outlier because of that, really only the T-1000, water cooler Terminator, and maybe Vic did something other then the normal stick out like a sore thumb Terminator routine. Even Cromartie still acted like a Terminator and he was arguably one of the most well learned Skynet Terminators, even overriding Skynet when he thought he knew better for the mission. We also see Cameron did only so well at infiltrating thanks to mimic Allison.

Even her frame was not unique, nice as it was. There was the pretzel Terminator that was also a lighter "female" model Terminator that was only defeated by Cameron' superior tactics. There was also the "Terminatrix" from T-3 that seemed similarly built was more advanced with built in weaponry, liquid metal skin, and a expandable mammary confusion system.

She seems different because she said she was different and could eat but we don't know really see anything too unique about her other then eating. Plus we don't even know if other Terminators eat, we never see it happen (that I'm aware of) but most Terminators we see aren't going to have the story focusing on them going through the drive through. Well we did see a Terminator going through a drive through but only to shot someone. The only possible point a Terminator could have ate something was in T2 when the group stopped at a roadside diner but Uncle Bob was filling up the radiator and smiling.....very badly during that scene.

The only thing really unique was her color HUD.

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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Iroscato » 2017-05-15 04:54pm

Joun_Lord wrote:expandable mammary confusion system.

:lol:

Perfection.
I've never actually seen the show. I may have to put it on the Big Scary List of shit I need to educate myself on.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-05-15 04:58pm

Joun_Lord wrote:Was she more advanced though? I don't recall anything about her that really screamed more advanced.


I think it was something to be developed later on in the plot. It was alluded to that she was Future John Connor's most trusted aide, to the dismay of a lot of seasoned Resistance fighters and personnel... AND this is undoubtedly related to the other alluded-to breakaway machine faction that Future John presumably tried to negotiate with.


Iroscato wrote:
Joun_Lord wrote:expandable mammary confusion system.

:lol:

Perfection.
I've never actually seen the show. I may have to put it on the Big Scary List of shit I need to educate myself on.


That's the Terminator 3 film. Not the Terminator series.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Iroscato » 2017-05-15 05:05pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Joun_Lord wrote:Was she more advanced though? I don't recall anything about her that really screamed more advanced.


I think it was something to be developed later on in the plot. It was alluded to that she was Future John Connor's most trusted aide, to the dismay of a lot of seasoned Resistance fighters and personnel... AND this is undoubtedly related to the other alluded-to breakaway machine faction that Future John presumably tried to negotiate with.


Iroscato wrote:
Joun_Lord wrote:expandable mammary confusion system.

:lol:

Perfection.
I've never actually seen the show. I may have to put it on the Big Scary List of shit I need to educate myself on.


That's the Terminator 3 film. Not the Terminator series.

I know, I parsed my post awkwardly is all, with my considering giving it a watch a seperate train of thought :P
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Thanas » 2017-05-15 05:26pm

Joun_Lord wrote:Was she more advanced though? I don't recall anything about her that really screamed more advanced. Perhaps the only thing more advanced was her learning where she was (other then Pops and nobody cares about that) the longest active Terminator. As a "basic" model back in the pilot she had no advantage over Cromartie but later on is killing Terminators like its nobodies business. But not because she was more advanced but she had learning through experience the best ways to kill other Terminators including a heel to the eye.


Her chassis is better at protecting weakspots, she absorbs way more damage than any other terminator and keeps on trucking and she regularly goes toe to toe with heavier machines which she still throws around as if their weight advantage does not matter. Also, her infiltration abilities and development is way better than other terminators.

And it is not just experience as she was killing terminators in the future as well. She seems more flexible and stronger. The fight with the woman terminator exemplifies this - all she takes is a few scratches but she demolishes Rosie.

She seems different because she said she was different and could eat but we don't know really see anything too unique about her other then eating.


She can mimic human emotions completely up to the point where she probably has genuine emotions herself.

The only thing really unique was her color HUD.


Her eye colour, ability to eat, to cry, to adapt, to feel and her lightweight chassis.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-05-15 06:23pm

I guess a lot of this is like esoteric or intangible hard to quantify "is this behavior something that shows that she is unique" or "is this something Ts can learn with sufficient time" stuff?
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Joun_Lord » 2017-05-15 06:49pm

Thanas wrote:Her chassis is better at protecting weakspots, she absorbs way more damage than any other terminator and keeps on trucking and she regularly goes toe to toe with heavier machines which she still throws around as if their weight advantage does not matter. Also, her infiltration abilities and development is way better than other terminators.

And it is not just experience as she was killing terminators in the future as well. She seems more flexible and stronger. The fight with the woman terminator exemplifies this - all she takes is a few scratches but she demolishes Rosie.


I don't know about her chassis being better protected, other then her skin somehow not be destroyed in a car bomb she seems to mostly take the same sort of damage a regular Terminator does. Terminators are remarkably good at absorbing damage and Cameron is no exception.

She only throws around heavier machines when she learns how to better fight. Most terminators seems to go to the "smash target into stuff and they'll die eventually" school of fighting. Cameron did at first but then learned how to fight more effectively. This is demonstrated in the fight with Rosie the Pretzel Terminator, they were evenly matched during the shoving portion of the match (save when Cameron somehow kicks her hard enough to send her flying down a hallway like a ragdoll) but Cameron actually fought more effectively when she wasn't shoving. Rosie fought like she was fighting a human, shoving and punching and chopping that have little effect on a Terminator, Cameron fought like she was fighting a Terminator.

Thanas wrote:She can mimic human emotions completely up to the point where she probably has genuine emotions herself.


Other Terminators can mimic human emotions, even display possible real emotions. Not just Uncle Bob but even full Skynet Terminators like the Water Delivery Guy and Vick could effectively mimic humans including emotions. Whether she had real emotions is debatable, the fact she is designed to mimic human emotions and even uses false emotions to trick people means its hard to know when they are genuine. But if they are genuine she isn't unique in that regard, Uncle Bob of course seemed to develop real emotions and his opponent the T-1000 displayed emotions like shock and anger.

Thanas wrote:Her eye colour, ability to eat, to cry, to adapt, to feel and her lightweight chassis.


Her eyes glowing blue is not something that shows her as more advanced and presumably other Terminators could make their eyes glow too but have no need to. We don't know if other Terminators can eat or even need to, presumably they need to eat to maintain their skin. They would need to have the ability to eat for long term infiltrations. It would look awfully odd for a Terminator like Vic who had replaced a married man to be staring at an empty plate during dinner with his wife.

Any Terminator without their CPU set to read only can adapt and do adapt. Whether she can feel is debatable and nothing unique if she can. Atleast two other Terminators have similar or identical chassis's.

Her ability to cry, now that is pretty darn unique suggesting that even if she is not a unique model she might have unique modifications as atleast the T-800 doesn't have the ability to cry.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Cameron wasn't unique or advanced in her own way but just from a technical standpoint I don't think she anything more then a moderately standard infiltration unit with some possible unique modifications. What made Cameron really unique was her experiences, her possible emotions. She is very much like Uncle Bob in that regard. Uncle Bob became more then just a Terminator, more then just a machine, became pretty much a person. And possibly so did Cameron.

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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Tribble » 2017-05-15 06:59pm

Joun_Lord wrote:Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Cameron wasn't unique or advanced in her own way but just from a technical standpoint I don't think she anything more then a moderately standard infiltration unit with some possible unique modifications. What made Cameron really unique was her experiences, her possible emotions. She is very much like Uncle Bob in that regard. Uncle Bob became more then just a Terminator, more then just a machine, became pretty much a person. And possibly so did Cameron.


IIRC a Terminator once scanned her and was unable to identify her. Apparently she is not a recognizable model, at least from the timeline that particular Terminator came from. IIRC there was an ongoing plot thread over exactly who and what she was, and what her real programming / motivations were. We never really find out due to the series cancellation, but she is certainly atypical in some respects.

Also, IIRC at least some of her more eccentric behaviour was a result of damage to her CPU caused by the car explosion in Season 1.
Last edited by Tribble on 2017-05-15 07:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old SF TV Show - Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles

Postby Thanas » 2017-05-15 07:02pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:I guess a lot of this is like esoteric or intangible hard to quantify "is this behavior something that shows that she is unique" or "is this something Ts can learn with sufficient time" stuff?


A lot of it is physical though, like having tearducts, strength, agility etc.



Tribble wrote:Also, IIRC at least some of her more eccentric behaviour was a result of damage to her CPU caused by the car explosion in Season 1.


correct but it abated over time, so she probably was in the process of fixing or working around the damaged parts.
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