Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is an American science fiction television series produced by Warner Bros. Television and C2 Pictures, spinning off from the Terminator series of films. It revolves around the lives of the fictional characters Sarah and John Connor, following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The series premiered on Sunday, January 13, 2008 on the U.S. television network Fox. Executive production for the series is provided by Terminator 2 and Terminator 3 producers and C2 Pictures co-presidents, Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna, C2 Senior Vice President James Middleton, David Nutter, and Josh Friedman, who is also writing.
The show opened mid-season with a shortened run of nine episodes, January through March, 2008. It was the highest-rated new scripted series of the 2007-08 television season and was renewed for a second season, which began on September 8, 2008.
At the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor, her son John and the Terminator successfully destroy the T-1000, the arm and the computer chip from the first Terminator. The Terminator, at its own request, is then destroyed in order to eliminate any future technology that could be used to create Skynet. Sarah and John, now wanted fugitives, must also face the reality that other enemies from the future could be after them. Apparently, they were only able to delay "Judgment Day" from 1997 to 2011.
The pilot episode is set in 1999 and introduces Sarah, her son John, and Cameron, a Terminator that has been re-programmed to protect John. They are being pursued by a Terminator (Cromartie) sent back through time to assassinate John and also by FBI Special Agent James Ellison, who believes Sarah is a deranged criminal (based on the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day). Sarah is romantically involved with a paramedic named Charley Dixon, but ends her relationship with him to stay on the run. During the pilot, Sarah, John, and Cameron make a temporal leap to the year 2007. Cromartie suffers extensive damage while trying to kill them, begins to effect repairs to his endoskeleton and artificial flesh, and continues his search for John in 2007. Seeing how John is frustrated with their life of running, Sarah resolves to go on the offensive against Skynet. But the world in 2007 proves complex: they find Skynet has sent additional Terminators back in time to support its own creation, and the resistance movement has sent back its own fighters to interfere. As they seek out an intuitive chess computer called The Turk, which may be a precursor to Skynet, they forge an alliance with Derek Reese, resistance fighter and John's uncle.
The series, initially titled The Sarah Connor Chronicles, focuses on the character Sarah Connor who is on the run with her son after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Regarding the character Middleton said, "She has the weight of the world on her shoulders and also has to raise a teenage son who may be the salvation of humanity." Friedman commented that the series would contain fewer action sequences due to the smaller budget of television in contrast to feature films.
Fox Broadcasting greenlit production on August 28, 2006, after Warner Bros. Television hired David Nutter to direct the pilot. The series was among seven new TV shows picked up by Fox on May 13, 2007 for its 2007-08 television season. In regards to the plot of the series, Friedman said the show would avoid the "Terminator of the Week" plot device and that Sarah, John, and Cameron will have other threats than just Terminators. Skynet would also come into play as the series progresses. Furthermore, Friedman stated that the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines occur in an alternate timeline from that of the TV series. In addition to having planned the entire story arc for the first season, Friedman has a rough idea for the plot of the following three seasons.
At the 2008 press tour, the show's cast and crew promised season two would be less serialized than the first. Producer Josh Friedman has said his plans are to incorporate the unfilmed storylines from the remaining four episodes of season 1 into the start of season 2.
It has been suggested in article on the SyFi Portal that Fox sources have said production of season 2 of Terminator:TSCC may be stopped following poor ratings and in an effort by Fox executives to save Prison Break.
A musical theme was created for each of the principal characters. The theme for Sarah Connor is the most frequently used theme in addition to being the longest and the most developed theme in the series as opposed to that which was created for the character in the films. There are two main sections to Sarah's theme with one presenting her "bad-ass, stoic warrior" side and the other as "a loving mother". John's theme was originally composed for a specific scene in the pilot episode and performed with a solo clarinet to convey his loneliness and awkwardness. McCreary stated that the "musical ambiguity in the melody" is used to show John's transformation in the series. Although themes were also written for other characters such as Derek Reese, James Ellison and the "evil terminator[s]", no themes were written for Cameron during the first season because McCreary felt that "her character was defined by her relationship with John, Sarah and the others around her" so Sarah's or John's theme was used in most of her scenes.
The series mainly features McCreary's original score. Songs and instrumental music from other sources are used sparingly. Alter Bridge's single "Rise Today" were used for the promotion of the first season. Three songs have been used in the series so far: "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash was used in the first season finale and a cover of "Samson and Delilah" by Shirley Manson was used in the second season premiere. Both songs were used as background music for an action sequence in their respective episode. The second season episode, "The Mousetrap", features "Safe Within Your Arms" by Greg Garing. "Nocturne in C-sharp minor" by Frédéric Chopin was used in the first season episode "The Demon Hand".
Prior to its broadcast on television, Fox undertook a large marketing effort to promote the show, which was described by Joe Earley, Fox Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, as the "biggest campaign for a new mid-season show in years." The advertising campaign began months prior to the premiere date to make sure that it would attract existing Terminator fans as well as welcome in new fans. After 24 was postponed to the 2008-09 TV season, more time was devoted to the show by Fox's marketing team and more on-air promotional spots were available for the show that would otherwise have gone to 24.
Fox began their advertising campaign for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on September 27, 2007, with a brief teaser which ran during primetime programs, consisting of an image of two red dots that lasted for a few seconds on screen before disappearing. The two red dots were revealed to be the eyes of the Terminators from the show in the second phase of the advertising campaign, which began two weeks later. The final phase of the campaign commenced in November 2007 with more broadcast information being added to the advertisements.
In addition to on-air teasers, Fox heavily promoted the show during the World Series by releasing the first 45-second preview for the show on October 27, 2007. Other forms of advertisements used included: mobile tours on "Terminator" buses sponsored by Verizon Wireless; a interactive cell phone game based on the series offered by Verizon's V CAST, which rewarded the players with ring tones, wallpapers and behind-the-scenes footage; cable tie-ins; online outreach via the official website and wiki; online sneak peeks; and a poster design contest run by Fox. Advance screenings of the pilot episode were also held at the 2007 Comic-Con International convention and at Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles on January 4, 2008.
Billboard advertisements, which was described by Variety to have "blanketed New York and L.A.", contained images of Summer Glau's Terminator in a "Lady Godiva-esque pose" used to target the young-male demographic, while the key art emphasized on Sarah Connor being at the core of the show to attract the "mom demo". Fox originally planned for more outdoor marketing in other cities but the marketing budget was reduced because of the Writers' Strike.
Following the resolution of the WGA Strike, the Los Angeles Times printed a chart indicating the status of American network television series. The chart, reprinted by a number of other websites, categorized the series as "on the bubble", a term used to describe series in danger of cancellation. The Hollywood Reporter stated that the show would likely return. TV Guide then reported that "Fox has given producers the green light to start booking directors for next season's first three episodes". Fox later confirmed that the series would indeed receive a second season, which began on September 8, 2008 in the Monday 8:00 p.m. ET timeslot.
|Country||TV Network||Air date|
|Belgium||VT4 (nl) and La Deux (fr)||Sundays at 8:25pm (fr) Mondays at 11 pm (nl)|
|Brazil||Warner Channel||Tuesdays at 10pm|
|Canada||A and Space||Mondays at 8pm and Saturdays at 9:00pm|
|Croatia||RTL||Wednesdays at 9:05pm|
|Czech Republic||TV Prima|
|Hong Kong||TVB Pearl||Mondays at 10:35pm|
|Latin America||Warner Channel|
|New Zealand||TV2||Wednesdays 9:30pm(Season 1 & 2) Season 2 to Premiere October 8, 2008|
|Philippines||AXN and Crime/Suspense|
|Russia||RenTV||Fridays at 08:00 pm|
|United Kingdom||Virgin1||Thursdays at 9pm, Season 2 to premiere October 23, 2008|
|Singapore||AXN Asia and MediaCorp TV Channel 5|
|Spain||Canal Sur and TV3|
|Denmark||TV-2||Series purchased, broadcast pending|
|Turkey||CNBC-e||Sundays 09:00 pm|
|Season||Timeslot||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Rank|| Viewers|
|1||Sunday 8:00 p.m. ET (January 13)||January 13, 2008||March 3, 2008||2007-2008||#30||11.4|
|Monday 9:00 p.m. ET (January 14 - March 3)|
|2||Monday 8:00 p.m. ET||September 8, 2008||2008-2009|
The series premiere in the United States was watched by 18.6 million viewers during its premiere time on January 13, 2008.
The pilot episode received a rating of 11.1 from Nielsen Media Research on January 13, 2008. The mainstream press reviews were generally positive. USA Today gave the premiere episode 3 and a half stars out of four, calling the series, "smart, tough and entertaining. The New York Times referred to it as "one of the more humanizing adventures in science fiction to arrive in quite a while", while the Los Angeles Times declared the show "has heart and feeling" and "an almost Shakespearean exploration of fate vs. character" that features "plenty of really great fight scenes, and explosions, as well as neato devices developed in the future and jury-rigged in the present. In addition, film industry journal Daily Variety declared the series pilot "a slick brand extension off this profitable assembly line" that showcases "impressive and abundant action with realistic visual effects and, frankly, plenty of eye candy between Glau and Headey. At the start of the second season, Variety praised "Headey's gritty performance as Sarah -- managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well" and that the Chronicles "continue to deliver", getting "considerable mileage out of the constant peril" facing the characters.
Not all response has been positive, however. The Futon Critic, in a June 14, 2007 review of the pilot episode, declared that "it's actually far more ingrained into the Terminator mythology than you'd expect," but stated that "this installment feels less like a 'pilot' and more like an excuse to rearrange the deck chairs on the 'Terminator' franchise to potentially have a TV show." One negative report from La Lámina Corredora reported that "the pilot feels too much like a cheap remake of T2.
The series was also nominated for the following awards: