Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good News on a Saturday

The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been picked up for a full second season.

Of course, this would be even better news if the show gave any signs of improving, but five episodes into the second season, the flaws that marred it in its first are still going strong: great acting, great character work, great individual scenes, but the plotting, in both individual episodes and the overarching save the world arc, is nonsensical.  The next to last episode aired, "Alison from Palmdale," is a perfect example.  Summer Glau is incredible as three different people in the same body who combine into whatever the hell Cameron is right now, but the notion that Cameron has enough empathy to become Alison--who understands and feels emotions, like fear, grief, and anger, which in the past have left Cameron baffled--is too much to swallow.  We've already got one show about a genocidal war between dirty, sweaty humans and immaculate machines confused by these things we call 'feelings' in which the actual nature and capabilities of those machines have been kept too fuzzy for too long.  We don't need another.  Sarah Connor is still the most interesting and complex SF on TV right now, but that's mostly because of its parts, not its whole.


Raz Greenberg said...

That's funny, because it was last week's episode that finally made me give up and stop watching the show. Yes, the are interesting individual concepts (mostly taken from the original cinematic source-material), and Cameron was getting more complex (always a bad sign when it happens to a robot character - as opposed to the human characters, that I still find unappealing). But after watching all the episodes so far, I became fed up with the writers' inablity to tell a story from start to finish. The biggest problem with pretty much every episode of the show: it's boring. No one in the production staff has the first clue on how to lead from one event to another, and all the abovementioned interesting concepts remain in the background while the writers run away to the easy "kill someone whenever you're out of ideas" schtick.

ianras said...

I didn't take it that Cameron was re-experiencing Alison's interrogation but that she was re-discovering some of her foundational programming without the rest, programming that was mimicked from Alison.

One of the things I enjoy most about the series is how it makes room for random details and digressions. Now, yes, part of that is because the plotting is pretty weak but part of it, I'm sure, is a creative choice. Veronica Mars used to do this too but Veronica Mars was so beholden to having things rigourously structured that it added to the feeling of artificiality; in this, it kind of liberates it. The emphasis in the story often lands on really unusual moments and there are asides that trail off, leading your eye over the horizon of the story and it's strangely true to life. And I think it's deliberate.

Also, Glau reaction to the question 'Why had nobody birthdays?" during Alison's interrogation was one of the most translucent and detailed pieces of acting I've ever seen on television. You could see the her thoughts and emotion just accumulate on her face.

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