You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox's "Terminator" series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing -- like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox's "Terminator" series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing -- like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? -- the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series consistently interesting, despite obvious budgetary limitations that have seemed to exercise their own vise-like grip on the action quotient.

Cast:
Sarah Connor - Lena Headey John Connor - Thomas Dekker Cameron - Summer Glau James Ellison - Richard T. Jones Derek Reese - Brian Austin Green Catherine Weaver - Shirley Manson Cromartie - Garret Dillahunt Riley - Leven Rambin

Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series consistently interesting, despite obvious budgetary limitations that have seemed to exercise their own vise-like grip on the action quotient.

In a way, this opener feels a bit more like last season’s finale than this one’s kickoff. Nevertheless, the show gets considerable mileage out of the constant peril facing the teenage John Connor (Thomas Dekker), the future savior of the world; and his mom Sarah (Lena Headey), a self-taught survivalist determined to ensure he lives long enough to fulfill that destiny.

Of course, Future John has lent his younger self a hand by sending back a waif-like Terminator, Cameron (Summer Glau), to protect him — a plan that backfired at the end of season one. Meanwhile, the older brother of John’s time-traveling dad, Derek (Brian Austin Green), has also journeyed back in time to join the fight; an FBI agent (Richard T. Jones) remains in hot pursuit; and a second Terminator (Garret Dillahunt) has assumed a human’s identity — after routing an entire FBI assault team.

Other new wrinkles are introduced during this latest hour, and the layers upon layers at times become confounding. Admittedly, the puzzler of people and robots winging into the past to change the future has always been a part of the franchise, but to serve the show’s dramatic needs, it seems that more people are passing through those portals than LAX’s international terminal. Seriously, is anybody left in the future to star in that upcoming “Terminator” sequel?

Still, this is one of those series where too much thought only gets in the way; instead, this episodic jaunt is meant to be embraced for its simpler pleasures, such as Glau’s pouty, indestructible-sex-kitten routine (which is doubtless harder than she makes it look) and Headey’s gritty performance as Sarah — managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well.

Just a half-season into its lifespan, it’s hard to fathom how the show can sustain its high-wire balancing act — avoiding the missteps and ill-conceived twists that finally conspired to remove “Prison Break” from my TiVo “season pass” menu.

So far, though, “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” continue to deliver, on a program where surviving in the here and now, finally, is the principal measure of success.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Series; Fox, Mon. Sept. 8, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by the Bartleby Co., the Halcyon Co. and C2 Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Josh Friedman, John Wirth, James Middleton, Mario F. Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna, Joel B. Michaels; co-executive producers, Toni Graphia, Natalie Chaidez; producer, Jill Danton; director, David Nutter; writer, Friedman;

Crew: camera, Stephen Collins; editor, Heather MacDougall; music, Bear McCreary; production designers, Marek Dobrowlski; casting, Gayle Pillsbury, Bonnie Zane. 60 MIN.

Cast: Sarah Connor - Lena Headey John Connor - Thomas Dekker Cameron - Summer Glau James Ellison - Richard T. Jones Derek Reese - Brian Austin Green Catherine Weaver - Shirley Manson Cromartie - Garret Dillahunt Riley - Leven Rambin

More TV

  • Disney-ABC TV Chief on Weinstein's Victims,

    Disney-ABC TV Chief Ben Sherwood on Weinstein's Victims, Shonda Rhimes' Exit

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

  • Bill OReilly Roger Ailes Sexual Harrassment

    Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes Still Loom Over Fox's Business (Analysis)

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Reveals the Queens Competing in 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Season 3

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

  • Donald Trump

    SAG-AFTRA Supports 'Unencumbered Press' After Trump's License Revocation Threat

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

  • Brent Briscoe Dead: 'Twin Peaks' and

    Brent Briscoe, 'Twin Peaks' and 'Parks and Recreation' Actor, Dies at 56

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

  • 'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at

    'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at CBS From Peter Lenkov With Production Commitment

    Returning from its strike-truncated maiden season with a bang, Fox’s “Terminator” series provides a surprisingly steady dose of action in its fall premiere. Although the time-bending shenanigans can grow headache-inducing — like, hey, could I go back in time and become my own grandpa? — the first-rate cast and save-the-world stakes have kept this series […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content