What I enjoyed most about the first series was the glimpses of the future world, so evocatively rendered in the first two Terminator films, and how the present is informed by our knowledge of the future world, and how the extended Connor family survive under the weight of the expectation that knowledge bought. Now with Cameron, the friendly Terminator, fizzing and popping a spark or two and her possibly sinister agenda is given more air to breathe, further soldiers from the future sent back to help, or hinder, Sarah Connor and her son John becoming the future leader of the resistance, and the formative years of Skynet and Cyberdyne and their AI experiments, the second series of T:TSSC is an improvement on the first in every way.
There is no better way to discover a new series than on a DVD box set, and if you’ve not yet caught up with this show I’d recommend it, particularly if Terminator: Salvation left you colder than a red-eyed exoskeleton. The trials and tribulations of the present and future John Connor are enhanced greatly by the luxury of time a 22 episode run allows, and the more we learn of the birth of the software and systems which become the murderous Terminator AI and the ethical questions it poses adds considerable depth to the original Terminator films.
Though they cannot compete on an action level, and often lapse (but never dally for too long) into family soap opera territory, each episode is a self contained part of the Terminator puzzle, and this series becomes more about the machines than the humans. And – yes, there is the patented Terminator hunt with stone faced chases and shotguns taking chunks out of everything and lots of staring at computer screens and talk of destiny and fate, but it works, and you’ll find yourself sucked in.
The sad news is that this series was canceled after this season, and would have benefited from another season or a final mini series. While not many people mourned its, seemingly inevitable, fall from the network’s graces it is far less trivial and ephemeral than much that survived on the TV schedules. Don’t mistake me – this is not The Wire, nor does it do too well in the comparisons with the recent Battlestar Galactica series (which it shares themes of paranoia and conflict between man and machine), but it is a solid world and asks interesting questions and has a lot to say about the themes of the Terminator series.
It’s worth your time, and worth seeking out on Blu-ray. You’ll get 22 episodes of which only a few are throwaway, characters that may take their time in settling down but by the end they are comfortable in their skin and the writers allow them to drive the story, making for an enjoyable watch. And casting Garbage diva Shirley Manson may seem an odd choice but it works.
There are the obligatory gag reels, deleted scenes and commentaries on the discs, and it’s well presented and strong enough to make it worthwhile watch. We’ve got a couple of clips below and the Blu-ray and DVDs are out now.