Friday, 30 September 2011

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

For my at-home film fest this year, I watched the entire second season (22 episodes) of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  This was originally broadcast on Satellite TV here in the UK a few years back so as the only person on this isle that does not have a Satellite Dish disfiguring their house, it passed me by.  Nevertheless, watching it years later on DVD has its benefits, one of which goes, ‘OK - I’ll watch just ONE more episode…’

…Six episodes later I rise bleary-eyed from the sofa to get a coffee fix.  Yes, it is that addictive.  The plot has more twists than the Hampton Court Maze and the acting is superb – especially from Summer Glau as Cameron the Terminator whose unnervingly spooky not-quite-human mannerisms are very unsettling.  All in all, it is cracking stuff, which means of course that those haters of quality TV, the Fox Corporation, immediately cancelled it.

It has become abundantly clear that the business model that is Television is now completely broken.  Programming exists merely to ensure that as many viewers as possible are available to watch adverts.  Advertising is now the real reason why television exists, with the programmes between them being a subservient lure.  Quality programmes that attract an enthusiastic core following are not, by their very nature, a strong enough enticement to casual ‘viewers’ (i.e. those that merely have the set on while doing something else) to satisfy the real paymasters; the advertisers.

Science fiction and fantasy programmes seem to suffer particularly badly from the core viewer syndrome.  Look at the number given the chop (programmes, not viewers) prematurely, Buffy (although reprieved after season 5), Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, and now The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  The real reason these projects were canned was because their viewers don’t watch adverts like good little consumers.  We actually prefer good drama.  Shame on us.

Which brings me to another subject: Torchwood.  What the hell has happened to it?  The current series, ‘Miracle Day’ sucks.  After three episodes of a 10 episode run, I’m bored out of my brain.  Seems the mix of UK and US locations/writing/actors just doesn’t work.  The best of US produced Sci-Fi/Fantasy (see all those in the canned list above) are fabulous pieces of TV.  Ditto, the UK series, Dr Who being the prime example, which are also magnificent.  But try and make a hybrid and what do you get?  Torchwood.  I may not stay the course.  I’m going to cancel it before someone else does for the first time ever.  Yay me!


Kit Courteney said...

I must admit that I had high hopes for Torchwood, being a fan of Dr Who - but I didn't like it from the start and I feel terribly let down!

Never heard of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but if it's addictive then it must be doing something right. I'm currently going through the entire lot of Lost, Heroes and Prison Break on DVD. I saw Lost when it was televised and loved it but I hadn't bothered with the other two. Bf bought the DVDs and I haven't looked back - excellent stuff!

music obsessive said...

Hi Kit - Yeah, shame about Torchwood. I did eventually watch it all but it was only OK...ish.

There's something great about DVD box sets. You have complete control over them and for some reason this enhances the product. Glad you're enjoying yours.