Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Taking advantage of the many gaps in the timeline of the widely popular "Terminator" franchise, the first season of Fox's "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" jumps to and from the future, delivering moments of pure sci-fi action while also using the hourlong format to delve into character reflection.

With:
Cast: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Richard T. Jones

Taking advantage of the many gaps in the timeline of the widely popular “Terminator” franchise, the first season of Fox’s “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” jumps to and from the future, delivering moments of pure sci-fi action while also using the hourlong format to delve into character reflection.

Following in the tradition of recent genre drama series such as “Lost” and “Heroes,” “Chronicles” focuses on the life of Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), on the run with teenage son and future salvation John (Thomas Dekker), along with the newest Terminator sent to protect him (Summer Glau).

Watching the series as a whole gives audiences a chance to appreciate how much the addition of Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) brings to the show’s tapestry. With his first appearance, the ongoing search for a super-computer that will someday become the brain of Skynet takes on new momentum.

Cut short by the writers strike, series’ first nine episodes feel incomplete — a subplot concerning a student death at John’s high school gets dropped in the last few hours — but finale ends on a startling note that promises more story to come.

Disc design and functionality is top-notch, with clean menu design and the option to turn off episode recaps (correctly presuming that viewers watching the series all at once would find them unnecessary).

Special features are a worthy addition to the episodes, including a fully fleshed-out look behind the scenes, with making-of featurette, “terminated” scenes, gag reel, and footage of Glau rehearsing a ballet routine used in episode seven. Extended cuts of two episodes are available, with the deleted scenes available independently, as well as three episode commentaries that feature many cast and crew.

Disc set should do well with science-fiction fans that missed the series on its first airing, but wish to catch up before the second season begins this fall. Whether or not longtime “Terminator” fans embrace “Sarah Connor,” set presents the show in its best possible light.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

3-disc set; Release Date: August 19, 2008.

Production: Warner Home Video

Crew: AC-3, Dolby, Widescreen. Running time: 394 minutes

Cast: Cast: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Richard T. Jones

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