Back at good old Comic Con, I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to see the cast and crew of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and get a preview of season 2, so I thought I’d give you some of my recollections and impressions ahead of tonights premiere.
First off, due somewhat to good fortune I happened to be sitting only about 4 feet from David Nutter, noted sci-fi director and the man behind the lens of several of the best episodes of The X-Files, as well as Sarah Connor. He seemed like a humble and quiet guy, but it was just cool sitting so close to one of the people who helped guide some of my favorite television.
After watching an extended trailer of footage from season 2 (most of which has now been shown in various forms on FOX) series Executive Producer Josh Friedman came in to moderate the panel, followed by most of the cast and crew, including Executive Producers John Worth and James Middleton, plus actors Thomas Dekker, Lena Headey, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green, Garret Dillahunt, Richard T. Jones and finally new cast member and the lead singer of the band Garbage, Shirley Manson. Friedman was fun and knowledgeable about sci-fi and went on to tell several funny jokes about Wookie’s humping Pokeman’s and so forth. When the actual panel got started it took the form of Friedman asking various questions of the cast that covered all aspects of their acting and methods that didn’t necessarily have to do with filming the second season. Interestingly enough, most of the questions or observations everyone makes ended up in the commentary or documentaries of the newly released DVD / Blu Ray of the first season of the show – the notable exception is the humor shared in the panel was a lot raunchier. For example when asked what Sarah Connor would do with a day off Lena Headey responded that she would “get some valium, find agent Ellison and have a good night in”.
Speaking to the second season specifically, John Connor himself (Thomas Dekker) reflected on some of the changes made to his character, as in the first season he was criticized for being too much of a wimp, with flowy, emo looking hair. He commented on how he was a little disappointed that John was written so mousy when he was supposed to show some kind of backbone as the future leader of humanity and appreciated that in the second season he will find a lot more gumption with logical explanations to go with his new persona instead of unexplained changes. In addition, as John grows up he spends less and less time alongside his mother Sarah which will lend itself to more interesting opportunities in future plotlines.
Newcomer Shirley Manson was next for questioning. She is brand new to the world of acting and hasn’t been heard much from since the title song her band Garbage did for the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. When asked about what it was like to be acting in front of such a large audience of fans, Manson apparently told Friedman in her thick Scottish accent that she was “Shitting myself”. She then went on to compare singing with acting and how different it was in that as a singer you take the spotlight and in acting you have to give it. Finally when officially welcomed by the cast Shirley said “Thank you, I feel like I’ve married up. I have a new band, but they’re all younger and better looking!”.
Moving onto Brian Austin Green, when asked to describe his emotional intensity as the only member of the troupe who has actually experienced the “future war” he said it was a challenge just to make everything new again; to appreciate blue skies and trees with the same enthusiasm that a child might while trying to make sure that he never has to experience it again by changing the present. To sum up, he went on to say “I just wanted to say with a full room of people, I just wanted to thank those who hated the fact I was cast on the show and now embraces the character”.
To finish up the panel, James Middleton and John Worth shared a few little tidbits of information that you can expect from season two. The biggest bombshell dropped is that one of the characters present on stage was going to die. This got a rousing “What!” from Richard T. Jones who thought for sure that it was going to be him. My own musings on the situation is that either someone with actually be killed forever, OR perhaps a cheat will be used – like Cameron getting vaporized and another identical model re-appears or what have you. In addition, the whole Connor troupe as a whole will start to lose cohesiveness as more of them set out to do things their own way weighing heavily on Sarah as Skynet continues to evolve.
All in all I can’t wait for the new season to get underway. Who knew that a show with such an iffy premise could have become one of the best thought out sci-fi shows on television? To get your fix, remember to set your TiVo’s or tune into FOX as the second season gets underway TONIGHT!
The second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles airs at 8pm est tonight on FOX and A-Channel in Canada.