Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sarah Wednesday (January 16th)

We watched the first two episodes (or extended pilot, as some are calling it) of the TERMINATOR series tonight, though I sort of wanted to stick a couple of "Buffy"s in between to space things out. Tyranist had TiVoed them, and seems to take joy in deleting things I'd like to watch again immediately after we see them, but keeping forever stuff no one should ever watch. But I digress.

I ought to say something about "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," as they're calling it. I'd been talking to a couple of my friends about the show and what it might be like, what I hoped they didn't do, and what I'd do if the show were mine. My pal Matthew and I spent a good hour or so after TERMINATOR 3 talking about its faults and how we might have done things differently, and it's an exercise I get a lot of creative joy out of, even when I recognise that a) it's futile, as it's already beenmade; b) it's pointless, as I'm not going to write my own version of somebody's movie, and could never get paid for it if I did; c) it's a waste of time I could be writing my own thing; and d) it's exactly the sort of thing I hated other people doing to my own work.

Yesterday I was at lunch with tyranist, telling him of how they MIGHT do the show in a cool way, and he told me I was ensuring that I would hate the show, since it was sure to deviate from my own ideas. I told him that wasn't necessarily true (and I still believe that), but then thought of STAR WARS: EPISODE III, and how I'd come up with half a dozen ways the movie could go before it came out and how unhappy I was of how it did go when it was released.

But I was willing to give the show a chance, since a lot of people were anticipating it and it got great ratings. And I was very pleasantly surprised.

The acting was good, the writing was good, the special effects were nice (though it's all so damn cheap nowadays, if we ever get a shot as bad as the plane crash in AIR FORCE ONE again I'll be really surprised), and there was some violence consistent with James Cameron's universe.

The show was well-conceived and well-thought-out (two things TERMINATOR 3 seemed to lack), and I found myself laughing quite a bit at its cleverness.

They seemed to have thought things out (such as time traveling to 2007 so as not to mess up the dates Cameron set--though they did make that same mistake T3 did and claim the second film took place in 1997, when it took place in 1994), and created a palette in which you could do many different things in a series that goes more than a dozen episodes.

Even though Schwarzenegger got top billing in T1 and T2, they were more about the human characters (Sarah and Reese, and John and Sarah) than the cyborgs. So it didn't really throw me to see an Arnold-free "Terminator" show. Plus, the bloody T-800s kept showing up, seemingly even more resilient than the old Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 was, so you got plenty of action.

And Summer Glau was quite excellent, though I'm admittedly biased toward her.

Oh yeah, and "Buffy." Our intention was to--

Nah, screw it. I'll do "Buffy" in another post. It's looking to be long enough as it is, with the clock nearing four a.m. and me still working on one recap.

Rish "T-001" Outfield

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