I was so hopeful when Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles first aired, but heading into season 2, I’m far from addicted. The show’s mission boils down to ”stop the robots, save the world,” but always adds wild, often tiring convolutions. My interest ebbs and flows depending not on the plot but on which character is in the action.
Thus the full-time addition of Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Brian Austin Green is good news/bad news. As a tortured resistance fighter from the future — and uncle of future messiah-leader John (Thomas Dekker) — he’s so haunted and surprisingly hero-cool, you forget about young, flimsy John and his journey to manhood, which is theoretically the heart of the show. John is so terribly average that even as he makes a critical decision in the season premiere (I won’t spoil), the moment feels less like a boy learning to lead than a kid defying his mom. Fortunately, the rest of the characters have more heft. As mother warrior Sarah Connor, Lena Headey has a perfect trench-warfare vibe: pure capability wrapped around a shimmering bundle of nerves. This season introduces Garbage singer Shirley Manson as an eerie CEO who has acquired the Turk, that ominous, world-ending computer; she reveals a nice glint of pompadoured, purry villainy. And I still enjoy the metallic mayhem of Terminator cyborg Cameron (Summer Glau) — can I ever tire of things being smashed into, removed from, or stapled onto that noggin of hers?
Can Sarah save the world? Is Cameron to be trusted? Will John grow up? That last one is more of a request than a question. B-
More Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Season 1’s best and worst