Sarah Connor comes to DVD

Monday, 04 August 2008 01:00

After premiering on UK screens earlier this year on Virgin 1, the hit spin-off series from the “Terminator” franchise, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has just been released on DVD, courtesy of Warner Home Video.  Starring British actress Lena Headey (as seen in “300” and the recent restaging of “St Trinians”) as the title character, the abridged season one packs an action-packed punch which will keep you on the edge of your seat with visual effects that wring the most they can out of a small-screen budget, and an engaging and in many ways unexpected storyline.  The series had such a short run due to the American writers strike, but the good news is Season Two is not far off its Stateside premiere.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles was Virgin 1’s highest rated show ever when it aired earlier this year, averaging 750,000 viewers, eight times the usual rating for its timeslot on the channel.

 

Sarah Connor DVDThe series is executive produced by Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) and David Nutter (X-Files, Smallville, Supernatural), along with the producers from the Terminator movie franchise.

Over 300 actresses auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor. Series creator Josh Friedman described the actress he was looking for was someone "who embodied that spirit and who was believable in that role and not just some glammed up, Hollywood, actressy thing."

The series follows Sarah and her son John (Thomas Dekker from Heroes) through a nail-biting journey across a dark and treacherous modern-day world, as they find themselves fugitives from the law. Picking up in 1999, two years after the events seen in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, this first season of nine episodes begins with The Terminator tracking down John to his school and attacking him. He is startled when a class-mate comes to his rescue and confesses that she is, in fact, a robot sent to protect him. Realising that he is someone special, John becomes a reluctant hero. His tough, independent single-mother Sarah channels all of their efforts into stopping the birth of a technological enemy through the activation of the Skynet network, an act which will hopefully change the fate of humanity.

They are pursued by tough-talking FBI agent James Ellison, who believes Sarah and John are deranged – indeed, how often in the real world it has been the case that those who pose a danger to the status quo are confined, in secret, to mental institutions!

Sarah and John are aided by Cameron (the gorgeous Summer Glau from Firefly), the fearless new female Terminator, who poses as a student at John’s school with the sole mission to protect mankind’s future leader. Early in the first episode, the trio make a time jump from 1999 to almost-present-day Los Angeles in 2006, this being an effort to help fulfil John’s destiny and save the world from what seems an unstoppable war. 

Admittedly, fans of the show will be concerned that the DVD is not as packed full of extras as it could have been.  In fact, in total the package can only bring forth five deleted scenes, which even lack any context from the production team as to why the scenes in questions were excised from the final cut of the episodes.

The biggest problem the series has is that it is sitting amongst a franchise that has made its name with huge budgets to realise blockbuster movies filled with breath-taking set-pieces.  The average audience member who is familiar with these movies will immediately think that they are being short-changed by a format that relies more on characterisation and smaller (but for the budget suitably impressive) set-pieces to carry forward a storyline that, by its nature, cannot be as huge as what has gone before it.

However, seasoned cult audiences will appreciate that you don’t have to see everything on-screen to know that it has happened.  Indeed, there is a school of thought that most cults take up their mantle because they have to be creative with their more modest budgets.  Giving over time to explore the nature of the regular characters and their relationships is one of the key elements to attracting a cult following.  Certainly, this first season is one that gets better as it progresses, leading up to a terrific cliffhanger which has led to the devoted audience clamouring for more!

For those on the razor’s edge of technology, the good news is that The Sarah Connor Chronicles are not only on DVD presented in widescreen format, but there is also a Blu-Ray edition available.

The total run-time for the three disc set is around 400 minutes, and has a ‘15’ certificate.  The recommended retail price is £29.99 for the DVD (or less from www.culttvstore.com), or  £39.99 for the Blu-Ray version.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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