Terminator losing more viewers, and my patience

by Paul William Tenny

terminator.jpgI've been watching the new Terminator spin-off on Fox, as I'm sure most of you have been, and I'm just about ready to cancel my season pass and send this monster into oblivion, as I'm sure a lot of you already have.

Yeah, I know, it's kind of redundant since there's only two episodes left and Terminator wasn't on Fox's recent list of shows returning to production. They only managed to complete eight episodes before the strike put a stop to this (mercy?) although they were able to plan out the final episode of this "season" as a finale.

House, Bones, Back To You, and others are coming back and a few premiering between the end of February and mid-April, but not Terminator. That's really got to sting with the hopes Fox had for this series, but I'm not sure it ever really had a chance. You could say it's badly written, misguided, or sitting in a bad time slot, but you can't discount resentment towards people playing in somebody else's sandbox. This show resembles Jim Cameron's creation about as much as my ass does, yet that works out sometimes, so it's kind of tough to point to any single reason why this show isn't meeting expectations.

And boy, is it ever underperforming. It lost viewers every single week except one, down to 8.4 million from the 18.3 million premier. I don't buy that a lot of the loss was going to come anyway, having been artificially inflated from football overrun, simply because it just hasn't stopped losing viewers as time has gone on. 18 down to 10, then to 8.6, and although the next four weeks were much smaller drops, the fact is, people are still leaving.

I think you can break down negative reactions into two groups: (a) it just makes you want to turn off Chronicles, and watch the first two movies on DVD; (b) makes you want Cameron to come in and do the show. That's not accounting for simply not liking it at all, but I don't think that's an issue here. I'm firmly in the first camp -- I can't stand how much of a knockoff this series is of the movies. There's a difference between playing in somebody else's sandbox, and wearing their clothes and pretending to actually be that person.

I feel like Terminator is trying to be a TV version of the first two films (almost like a remake), and failing hard. In contrast, I've always felt like the Stargate TV shows were of the sandbox variety initially, but have grown that sandbox into a unique playground all unto its own. It doesn't feel like Terminator wants to do that, or is even capable of it. You've really only got two choices: sandbox, or start over.

For whatever reason, they picked the middle ground without the guts to do the latter, or the patience to do the former, and because of this, they are certainly trying mine. I may not like the result, but at least I could respect a reboot for trying.

Sorry to say it, but this show is a complete write-off. Still looking forward to the next film, though. T3 was kind of like trying to swim through a pool of cold vomit, but the fourth flick has real potential. It won't be Cameron-good, but it can't be worse than this show, right?

... right?
in Television


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