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April 24, 2014

The Terminator franchise missed out on a huge cross-platform opportunity

by Jason Hughes, posted May 22nd 2009 11:00AM
Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesI just got back from Terminator: Salvation (it was ... eh) and while I was watching it, I couldn't help but think about Fox's just-canceled Sarah Connor Chronicles. It was established when the show began that the two would be working in entirely different continuities. But why?

One of the things that made the first film such an impressive piece of film-making was that they were able to do such a dense science fiction film on a small budget. Now that franchise has turned into special effects and (BOOM!) explosions!! The lower budget forces you to get more creative with storytelling and you wind up with The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But what an opportunity the Terminator franchise had with both outlets occurring simultaneously. An opportunity totally squandered.

At its heart, the Terminator franchise is about time travel. Events occur both in the future post-Judgment Day and in the "present," where robots are sent back to kill Sarah and John and anyone else that looks at them funny. With the film franchise moving fully into that post-Judgment Day future with Salvation, they could have told both stories at once.

The present-day struggle to get John alive into that future and possibly destroy Skynet before Judgment Day happens was being chronicled very well in Sarah Connor. Then, after two seasons of that struggle they threw young John Connor into the future, right before the movie was set to come out. Now in Salvation, we see that future struggle and get to meet a young Kyle Reese (John Connor's father). The bigger budget would allow us to see that horrific future, which the film did very well.

Fans have been wanting this for years. Whenever a television series does well, we want a big movie some summer between seasons. Here was a huge movie franchise coming to television with a film on the horizon. It was absolutely begging to happen. And it could have been amazing. Season 3 would have opened stronger if there'd just been a tease about the events of the past in the film, and you'd have been set to build toward your next movie.

The next movie could have jumped a bit more into the future and shown us the moment when Kyle was sent back in time to young Sarah. We could have perhaps seen the development of the Cameron model and even some other things that could have been set up so well in the weekly series. I think it's a great idea, which is probably why they didn't do it.

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Ðan

I still say damn FOX for cancelling Terminator : SCC and keeping that crappy show dollhouse Fridays at 9pm I will be over on CBS with Medium

May 22 2009 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moriluk

I couldn't agree more. Connecting the 2 would have been art. Both would have gained from it.

May 22 2009 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Josh Friedman wanted to make a cerebral, character-driven show while McG, bastard child of Michael Bay, only knows how to film explosions and hot chicks taking their underwear off. So how do you propose either could have tied in to the other? They both have John Connors and they both have terminator robots and judgment days and future wars against the machines. That should be enough. Anything beyond that would compromise the integrity and ability of Josh Friedman and McG, respectively.

May 22 2009 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chrissthomas

History has proven that unless you have a hit tv show a movie usually does poorly. The idea that tying in this movie with the TV show would have boosted either is kind of strange. It would really just keep casual movie goers looking for a good romp from understanding the full depth of the story and choosing not to see it. I personally like the idea of a Sarah Conner Chronicles movie continuation but don't think it would have helped either title's cause in this case.
Personally I felt the movie was good and had a better story than you try to let off here in your article. It wasn't TSCC deep but it was better than number 3 by loads. I read TSCC creator's last blog and he is basically just letting go of the show which I think is lame. He should try to sell it to SciFi or TNT or TBS or USA or any other number of networks who might be willing to put up with the ratings it brings in. Heck CW keeps around tons of sci fi shows that get similar ratings. Someone should pick it up. I really think SciFi should and make it a Friday night staple before the new Caprica airs. It could be their new BSG.

May 22 2009 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Magical_Salamander11

I watched Terminator: Salvation and all I could think was how little I cared about the characters. The movie was mostly action with little character development and TSCC was mostly character development with little action. In a perfect world, they would collaborate to even out the differences and create a truly fantastic product.

May 22 2009 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Backfromthedead

I also agree that Josh Friedman, James Middleton, C2 Pictures, Halcyon, and Warner Brothers missed a huge opportunity in not loosely linking the two productions at the edges. Both could still have freedom to move their storylines in any direction they wanted but cross promote (and HELP) each other.

If their respective shooting schedules allowed, imagine Josh Friedman shooting generic footage of Cameron and Derek running around the Terminator Salvation movie set. Then, if Josh wanted to, he could do a flashback episode of Cameron saving the life of Salvation's Barnes (played by actor Common). Derek could have an episode where Salvation's Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) saves his life.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show would introduce these characters and help flesh them out (if McG wanted). Hopefully, drawing in new viewers and whetting the appetite for the movie.

If Christian Bale would be willing, imagine a single episode (maybe two) where future John Connor (Bale) time travels into the past to save his mother's life. Picture the emotion of Bale as he cries in Sarah's arms. He tells her of the guilt he feels that his immature carelessness caused her death and he is there to save her life. Think of the wonderful scene when Cameron walks in the room and sees future John. Does she just say hello or run and embrace and kiss future John? Future John kills the bad terminator and Cameron takes him to another hidden time machine (yes, there are others) where he jumps back into the future. The possibilities of this episode(s) are staggering. Imagine the conversations future John has with Sarah, Derek, Cameron and young John. Oh, if only I could have written this script my life would be complete. Alas, it is not to be (unless Halcyon wants to give me a Terminator TV show). But remember, YOU are the Resistance!!!

May 22 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdisloki

I could not agree more. I've felt this way since I found out they were doing another movie that could possibly be released while TSCC was still on. If they had worked together to make sure the stories worked together TSCC would have seen a huge boost in the ratings and the overall mythology of Terminator could have more solidified. Oh well, opportunity lost.

May 22 2009 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

I would add that the last film, IMHO, to get it "right" was the original "Matrix" flim. This had the right balance of plot, character development, dialogue and action together with well balanced use of computer enhanced scenes.

May 22 2009 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ian's comment
Rob

Really? Is this your opinion? Tell us how you really feel...

(just in case you didn't get that,.. it was sarcasm)

I figure that if you are writing in the comments, it's probably based on your opinion. Thanks for prefacing your words, but frankly, three "IMHO"s in one thought process is a bit much.

;)

May 22 2009 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

I am Oh so tired of the currenr "fad" for over emphassis on films in the use of computer generated JUNK (IMHO) in stuff so ludicrously unreal. For example I treasure the early James Bond films ove the latest Quantum of nonsense Boom Boom stuff. I won't bother to go to the cinema to see this new Terminator of any other such tenious explosion film.
Maybe it's a generation thing. But you've seen one you'seen 'em all IMHO.
Re the Terminator and the film and TV series I totally agreee that both could feed off each other and have TV characters appear in the films for side plots and each help the other develop. Me? I prefer the Terminator TV series to the way it looks that the new Films in the T series are going.
I actually think this gives TV a really large area to fill which films have abandoned. i.e. 2 hour long TV featurers with less computer "unrealistic" nonsense and more real plot development and character development. Pity TV guys can't see this as the big opportunity.

May 22 2009 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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