Becoming true cult hit in the second season, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles explored an unseen aspect of the burgeoning Terminator mythos. Only hinted in the movies, this series delves into how Sarah Conner and son John survived throughout the years leading up to the inevitable war between humans and the machines. And while the series was huge out of the gate, it dwindled down very quickly to a small yet dedicated audience, culminated in what seems to be the second and final season for this series. However after a shaky first season, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles managed to surpass all expectations and become a totally engrossing sci-fi series, admirably mixing great characters and interesting writing.
The ultimate tale of man-vs-machine continues as a mother becomes a warrior, a son becomes a hero, and their only ally is a robot from the future in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season. The time: today. The stakes: all our tomorrows. A nascent AI, assisted by droids, continues to edge toward world domination and the ruin of humankind. It accepts no limits. It fears no one. Except John Connor. The machines know John, now 16, is the future head of the resistance. They know he is growing in abilities. They must find and terminate him. But Sarah Connor is there, protecting and instructing her son as he becomes the man he’s destined to be. The hunt is on in a season of powerful revelations, breathless pursuits and bravura effects. A mysterious 3-dot symbol (Do UFOs provide a clue?), a girlfriend for John (Is Cameron jealous?), ZeiraCorp (Can it master the renegade software called The Turk?) – Season 2’s six-disc action arsenal is locked, loaded, and ready to amaze.
After a wobbly first season, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles really picked up steam with the second season, with barely a weak episode among the bunch. The writing here is just top-notch, as it seems any mistakes made in the first season are all but corrected here. The series does stumble for one or two episodes, “Alpine Fields” in particular, but Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles manages to create a strong coherent second season as it builds and expands upon the “Terminator” mythology. The show stills plays with the basic premise of the “Terminator” series, but expands upon it in many small ways (if you actually count this series as “in-continuity”). We get callbacks to familair moments in the movies, explanations to how other facets came to be, etc. And none of this feels random, either, but meticulously planned for both the show’s ongoing storylines and the viewers themselves. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles comes off as a great companion piece to the original movies and a nice prelude, actually, to the recent Terminator Salvation.
A series that could easily go so wrong so fast, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles managed to power on through as a great television show. While the cast and premise manage to basically remain the same throughout the second season, the enormous amount of problems bestowed upon these characters is staggering at times and occasionally mind-boggling. Thankfully, the strong writing and solid core cast allow for pretty much everything, no matter how out there things may get at times, to come in second following the trials of Sarah and John Connor and their hodge-podge crew of heroes, and that’s so key for this show. In fact, some of the best episodes from the second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles focus on the likes of Cameron and and Derek Reese, a cyborg and time-traveling soldier who work alongside Sarah and John to save the future.
Make no mistake, this show doesn’t feel like a typical cash-in to a big movie franchise, but a material extension to the classic film series. Some may have trouble fitting this series into the film’s continuity, and I can understand that, but I find that this show works and manages to chart new ground for the franchise. There’s no “Terminator of the Week” stuff here, but an intelligent and complex ongoing story. Long-time fans will appreciate, I think, what the show it trying to do. We do get scenes and moments that feel straight out of the movie, but Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes them feel different. And that has to do with the superb writing and excellent acting on display in this second season. As I said above, all the missteps from the first season, in terms of the occasional bits of lazy writing and unconvincing acting, seem to have vanished here. But, as I said, a handful of filler episodes do disrupt a strong season, but thoughts of those episodes just vanish as the mythology builds towards a real stunner finale for the season.
It’s worth noting that even on a television budget, the production values do hold up quite well. Sure, it’s very obvious this is not a big-budget feature film, but I thought the special effects were pretty solid for the most part. Yes, they are very obviously working with a lower television budget, but it’s impressive what the show can accomplish by using some creativity. However, when comparing a big screen feature to a television show, I can see why some people would scoff at what they see here. There is a noticeable difference, but I don’t believe Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles loses any steam thanks to a lower budget.
The above may be somewhat vague, but there’s a reason for that. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is somewhat of a complicated series, one that I think should be experienced without succumbing to any real spoilers. Both the first and second season really run into each other, so I’d recommend getting both of you haven’t taken it upon yourself to give the show a chance. If you have and opted to change the channel at the time, then Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season is the ideal time to get sucked back into the series. Through all the convoluted aspects to the franchise, the ever-changing future and the unending violence, the true strength of the series rests in the main cast and their struggles to try and set right something not even set in stone. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a show that evolved into something far more complex and emotional than I’m sure viewers would have ever expected. A true revelation and one of the best sci-fi series in recent years, this second (and seemingly final) season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles comes Highly Recommended.
Warner Home Video has spread the bonus features over the five-disc Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release. All housed within the standard Elite Blu-ray case, the collection also includes a very informative booklet with episode details and bonus listings. Major props to Warner Home Video for that.
The audio and video transfers for this release look pretty good, though not great. We get a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, but no lossless alternative. Still, it’s a solid track regardless. All the speakers get quite a workout during the blistering action sequences and the quiet moments come out as clear as can be. In terms of video, the 1080p looks very good, but definitely has the “television” look to it. That being said, the level of detail remains pretty impressive, despite the appearance of noise every once and a while. Still, both the audio and video transfers are nothing to sneeze at, and should hold up very well on any television.
Moving on to bonus features, all the extra content spread out over the five discs, giving each one a little extra “oomph” once you’re done with the episodes. Bonus features include the Blu-ray exclusive “Collision with the Future: Deconstructing the Hunter-Killer Attack” featurette, “The Continuing Chronicles: Terminator” 8-part featurette gallery, “The Storyboard Process: Cameron Goes Bad” featurette, a Gag Reel, “Cameron vs. Rosie Fight Rehearsal” featurette,” Commentary on episodes “Samson and Delilah, ” “Allison From Palmdale,” “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Born to Run,” and “Terminated Scenes” (deleted scenes) on select episodes. As you can tell by the listings, the key mythology episodes are given commentaries, all of which are very informative. Not only do they obviously care about the final product here with the series, but even share plot points for what could have been in the third season (the series wasn’t canceled when these commentaries were recorded, it seems). These commentaries, featuring a veritable round table of the show’s cast and crew, are definitely worth listening, especially for some of the more surprising nuggets of info dropped on occasion. The featurettes are pretty standard here, all lasting only a few minutes each at most. The included deleted scenes are also nothing really to call home about, but are worth checking out for the sake of curiosity. It’s a solid collection of extras, no question, easily surpassing what was offered on the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete First Season Blu-ray release.
Taking into consideration both the main feature and the bonus content, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season makes for a very enjoyable Blu-ray release, one that fans should definitely add to their collection if they haven’t already. If you are new to the series, I suggest seeking out both the first and second season of this nice underrated gem on Blu-ray. After a rickety start, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles truly blossomed into a great sci-fi series in the second season, surpassing all expectations without question. And, thankfully, Warner Home Video has given the show a nice Blu-ray release, in terms of presentation and content. Leaving us wanting for more without question, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season definitely comes as Recommended to own.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD.