Termination for Terminator?

As a follow-up of yesterday’s post about the fall TV schedule, here’s a well-written commentary from CNN’s Josh Levs about Fox’s on-the-fence series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

“Save this Terminator”

I’ve never watched the show, but have seen the three Terminator movies, which descend in chronological order from “brilliant storytelling” to “also something you can watch.” But I’m intrigued by something Levs says:

“The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is just really good TV — the kind that you want to believe can last.

Yes! That’s it, that’s a much better way to express what I was trying to say yesterday: Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I want to think the long-form storytelling format of television can be used to produce stories of lasting significance. And Levs makes a pretty good case for why “Terminator” qualifies:

Without clobbering you with messages, (executive producer Josh) Friedman gets you thinking — about people whose secret struggles you can’t know, about living with trauma and moving forward, about the strength and fragility of teenagers, and about the otherwise impossible things parents manage to do to protect their children… Friedman might be the best storyteller on TV right now. He packs episodes with twists you don’t see coming but make sense in retrospect. He changes up his style, drops lead characters for entire episodes, uses biblical references left and right and delivers dialogue that’s simultaneously believable and eloquent.

Wow. That’s exactly the kind of thoughtfulness I look for in a TV show, and it sounds like T:TSCC delivers in spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs. It also sounds like the first season ends in a whopper of a cliffhanger, so fans are anxious for it to continue. (This is Fox, after all, which pulled the rug out from under the forever-fantastic “Firefly,” leaving behind just 14 episodes of TV perfection.) And even though it means certain heartbreak, I’m going to catch up with “Sarah Connor,” too, even if it means ending with a question mark that will never get resolved.

Because unless we show TV we like good food, she will only feed us Twinkies.

Lena Heady as Sarah Connor. The show is about her, for cry eye, but Levs faults Fox for basing its marketing on the robotrix played by Summer Glau, which skewed the viewing audience toward squeaky-voiced Xbox teens.

Lena Heady as Sarah Connor. The show is about her, for cry eye, but Levs faults Fox for basing its marketing on the robotrix played by Summer Glau, thus skewing the viewing audience toward squeaky-voiced Xbox teens.

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