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'The Sarah Connor Chronicles' returns to the air. Does anybody care?

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Sarahconnorchronicles_lIs anybody out there still watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? Any reason why this show is still on the air? I visited the set while they were shooting the first season—I got to watch Summer Glau, in the flesh, punch her fist through a Styrofoam wall—and had high hopes for the series. But then the writers strike in the fall of 2007 seemed to strangle it in its cradle, with the series running out of scripts after only nine episodes. The second season didn’t get underway until last September, but before you could say, “I’ll be back,” it was gone again, leaving for a two-month hiatus in December. Just figuring out when new episodes would be on the air has been a time-travel paradox so perplexing it would drive John Connor crazy.  At a certain point, I stopped trying.

Last night, however, I finally caught up with the show on its new night. Fox kicked off the second part of Season 2 with an episode in which Sarah (Lena Headey) holds a doctor at gunpoint while a bullet is removed from her leg. I don’t know who put the slug in her thigh or why—I missed that cliffhanger—but clearly a lot has changed in Terminator world since I last checked in. John Connor (Thomas Dekker) has a new girlfriend (Leven Rambin); a T2-style liquid metal Terminator (Shirley Manson) has beamed in from the future and is passing herself off as the CEO of a high-tech A.I. research company; and the old-fashioned Arnold-style Terminator sent back in time to kill John Connor in the first season (Garret Dillahunt) has apparently been captured and reprogrammed into a highly-functional, six-foot-tall Speak & Spell. The only comforting consistency: Glau’s robot still hasn’t figured out the algorithm for smiling.

Personally, I’m having a hard time falling back into the show. The program’s on-again-off-again scheduling has made it all but impossible to build any traction with its increasingly complex plotlines. Also, the tone has grown so dark and despairing, I want to give the series a stimulus package. Anything to pick up its spirits a little bit. But maybe that’s just me. What do you think, PopWatchers?

addCredit(“Richard Foreman/Fox”)