Terminator, Jericho, Stargate movie thoughts

by Paul William Tenny

I won't be publishing very much here for the next month while I work on my entry for the Nicholl fellowship. If I've got something worth talking about, I'll take some time to write it up, but otherwise I'm not going to sit and waste time trying to dig something up when I've got nothing.

It looks like The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be coming back for at least another six to nine episodes at some undetermined date. Fox can't be happy with how the ratings collapsed but they aren't ready to give up on it yet, which I think is very commendable. Those guys have a well earned reputation for not giving their shows enough time to find their voice -- Firefly and Drive come immediately to mind -- so this is a positive step towards acting more like a center for creative entertainment, as opposed to simply being a brainless business.
The final two episodes of the first order (no, I'm sorry, 12 episodes is not a "season" unless you happen to live in the UK and that definition ain't changing anytime soon) had emotion and purpose that was lacking from all previous efforts. That gives me hope that the show will improve, because it did it its last effort before the strike ended production. Now if it wants to keep going though, it'll have to maintain that small glimmer of quality, and it'll have to ditch the formula. They tried reenacting the second feature film in the form of a television series and that failed, and no where except in the final two episodes did you ever get that feeling if an unstoppable killing machine.

We're at a point where seeing super-strong characters with all sorts of special powers is pretty much par for the course on network television. There's no such thing as a completely normal and average character type anymore, so the thump in the skull you got watching the first couple of terminator films doesn't have that same impact. Even less so in this series which boils down to run, get shot at, get thrown through a wall, run some more, get shot at some more, etc.

They need something more than that; they need desperately to innovate because that formula doesn't work anymore. It's too common.


Jericho got canceled again, which is precisely what I said would happen, for the reasons I've already gone over before. This second limited-run order got fewer viewers than the show had when it was canceled the first time, which were lower than where they were before CBS put it on a horrible three-month hiatus. Had that not happened, it might never have come to this, and it's a terrible shame. Jericho was a fantastic show to begin with, and it still held up with a reduced budget and only seven episodes to work with.

The people behind that show deserved better than this, and shouldn't be blamed for this. No, that falls squarely on the shoulders (perhaps unfairly) of the fans that rescued the show in the first place. I told them and this should have been obvious -- their job didn't end when the new episodes were ordered, in fact it had just begun. That's not a cliche in this instance either. I told anyone that would listen that was a part of that campaign that because so few people were involved in it -- their petition didn't even get 100,000 signatures -- that what they needed to do was secure about 2-4 million new viewers to make CBS happy. Each person needed to go out and convince between one and as many as five of their friends and family to become new, regular viewers, else it was going to crash and burn.

They didn't, and it did.

I will still value the first season (on DVD) as among one of the best on-offs ever. Some shows just don't work well beyond a single season, such as Prison Break. Perhaps people need to think about embracing that and using it to their advantage.


Lots of lingering thoughts on the first Stargate direct-to-DVD movie, most of them positive, some are pretty much the same stuff that came out right after the DVD did on various sci-fi websites. I saw the replicators, groaned, and groaned some more when they took up what felt like half the movie. I groaned again when four Ori ships couldn't take out the Odyssey after shooting it point blank for like 10 straight minutes, but three Wraith ships (SGA: Last Man) blew the hell out of the Phoenix in like sixty seconds. Remember what I said a couple of weeks ago about throwing established common sense out the window in favor of an improbable setup? This is what I'm talking about.

Otherwise it was wonderfully entertaining on many levels and I'm looking forward to seeing the next film. If the replicators show up, however, somebody is going to get hurt.

I'll talk more about that at some point.

More later.
in Film, Television


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I was peripherally aware of the campaign to save Jericho, but nothing I ever read or saw about the premise or plots ever grabbed me enough to give it a shot; it's always unfortunate when a clever show with an interested fanbase gets canned though.

Regarding Terminator, I was initially very skeptical of the series, even after seeing the pilot, but there were enough neat ideas over the course of its brief run to date to get me hooked.

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