The Sarah Connor Chronicles -- A look at the pilot script
I recently got the opportunity to read the pilot script for this show, so I went from not caring to mild curiosity. Could this show pull off a worthwhile addition to the Terminator series of movies? I was about to find out. I should warn you, though -- big spoilers ahead, so tread carefully.
In case you're not up to speed with the premise for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I'll give it to you briefly. The series picks up sometime between the second and third movies, with Sarah and her future humanity-saving son, John, on the run and in hiding from, well, any Terminators that might happen to be coming back after him.
Having the series pick up that void between the last two movies makes sense, though where the series has to be careful is how it works its way into what would eventually become the third movie. One would hope that won't be a problem, as the series is developed by the same people who produced the Terminator movies.
A pilot script for a science fiction series is tough to fully review, as you're left to your own imagination with the effects, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. I will say the script does a great job of selling the show to the reader, giving you a sense of excitement and awesomeness of what you're "seeing" unfold.
One question I had going into this read was whether the show would feature on something other than Terminators entering the scene again. I can tell you that they're definitely in this series in a big way. And much like the movies, we've got both a terminating Terminator and a protecting one, and the protector isn't Arnold -- far from it. In fact -- and here's the spoiler -- it's a hot, female classmate of John's! (Update: Old TVSer Ryan tells me this must be the role meant for Summer Glau.)
The pilot episode of course features John, Sarah and Terminator trying to flee the big, bad Terminator out to destroy them (all of which, as far as I can tell from the script, are nothing more than T-800/850 models). As I read the script, I started to wonder if this was it -- just another cat-and-mouse chase, only this time lasting 20-some-odd number of episodes.
It's not until the final moments of the pilot that you realize there's going to be more to this series. In a way that I'll leave for you to find out for yourself, Sarah, John and girl Terminator make a time jump from 1998 to 2006 -- naked. It's there where the trio hopes to track down the true source of Skynet's activation and hopefully change the fate of humanity, but don't we already know what happens having seen T3?
Even with the cool twists here and there, I'm not sure about this one. There's a possibility we've got more surprises planned for later episodes, but so far I'm not sold -- and I shouldn't be, as this is just a pilot script, one that will very likely be retooled. The show's success is going to depend a lot on what time slot it appears in and whether casual viewers are going to be OK with the Governator not being in it. There's also clearly going to be a time commitment for people -- this isn't a show you'll easily be able to jump in and out of without feeling somewhat lost.
No doubt we'll eventually see a pilot screener and we'll have a better idea of how this will play out on screen, but at least so far I'm definitely willing to give that screener a chance.