REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 2

Starring

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (The Secret Circle)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Shirley Manson (Top Wing)

Thomas Dekker in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

James Urbaniak (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay)
Carlos Sanz (Runner Runner)
Max Perlich (Beautiful Girls)
Dean Winters (John Wick)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Busy Philipps (White Chicks)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (A Winter Rose)
Jillian Armenante (Bad TEacher)
Jon Huertas (Castle)
Jonathan Jackson (Nashville)
Will Rothhaar (Battle Los Angeles)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Shane Edelman (Flightplan)
Stephany Jacobsen (Star-Crossed)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Adam Busch (Buffy: TVS)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Samantha Krutzfeldt (A Mann’s World)
Carlos Jacott (Big Love)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Laura Regan (Dead Silence)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Jamison Jones (Hollywood Homicide)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Alanna Masterson (The Walking Dead)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Cyd Strittmatter (Gone Girl)
Michelle Arthur (Goldeneye)
Manny Montana (Conviction)
Julie Ann Emery (Better Call Saul)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Chad L. Coleman (The Orville)
Yuri Lowenthal (Young Justice)
Sabrina Perez (American Exit)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)

Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I enjoyed the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, despite its shortened season which fell victim to the writer’s strike, I was looking forward to what they had in store for Season Two. The first season had excellent performances and action sequences, appealing storylines, and show runner Josh Friedman was performing his job well. I expected things to fall in line for Season Two, however I had a small bit of apprehension: the addition of Shirley Manson, normally the lead singer of the band Garbage, to the cast.Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I thought this was a dicey proposition. Manson had not done any real acting work before, and Friedman might have been overreaching. Granted, his casting masterstroke in Season One was Brian Austin Green, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210, now appearing as Derek Reese, brother of Kyle. As a brief overview for those unfamiliar with the mythology, Kyle is father to John Connor (Thomas Dekker, A Nightmare on Elm Street), leader of the resistance against Skynet and the cyborg army of terminators. John’s mother Sarah is played by Lena Headley (300). And of course, it wouldn’t be a show about terminators without one as a cast regular; enter Summer Glau (Firefly) as Cameron. More on all of them in a minute.Shirley Manson in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Back to the risky decision. Manson plays Catherine Weaver, CEO of a high-powered technology corporation called ZeiraCorp. Manson is a T-1000, similar to Robert Patrick in T2, and she assumes the life of the real Weaver, who died in a helicopter crash with her husband. Their daughter is still alive, which presents a unique challenge, as a terminator hasn’t been placed in a truly maternal role before. Oddly enough, Manson’s role as an emotionless being trying to figure out how to be a mother is one of the season’s better performances (in “The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short”), and she proves to be a capable actress. This introspection from non-feeling machine against a motherly disposition is fascinating in how Manson can show her emotions and yet not reveal her hand, as it were.Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Fortunately, we see similar stories behind other characters. In the episode “Allison From Palmdale,” not only do we discover Cameron’s origins but also why her physical traits were used as a model for a terminator. The performance is not as deep as Manson’s, but Glau does admirably. The self-evaluation continues with John as he gets involved in a relationship with Riley (Leven Rambin), which is almost like the last part of teenaged life he’ll enjoy before his imminent future with the resistance, of which Sarah dutifully reminds him. Sarah continues to struggle with her mortality because of a possible illness, and Derek has a particular conflict with Jesse (Stephanie Jacobsen, Life on Mars), who also came back from the future with motives that appear to differ from Derek’s. The quality of guest stars improved as well: Dean Winters (Oz) and Garret Delahunt (No Country For Old Men) reprise their roles as Charley and Cromartie, respectively. As Agent Ellison, Richard T. Jones is a guy who questions his spirituality and later rationalizes it to believe that what he does is right, though we know otherwise. Some of the other faces in Season Two include former West Wing regulars Richard Schiff and Joshua Malina, and Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket) plays a psychiatrist whose work affects several cast regulars, and has long-lasting impacts for future episodes.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Dean Winters in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)But it’s not like any Terminator project is known for its ensemble work. This has the requisite amount of action sequences and visual effects, and that action helps emphasize the points the story is trying to tell. For a good CG illustration, Manson kills the staff of a warehouse before blowing it up, but normally most of the stunts are done practically and look convincing as a result.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Sadly though, I have to think that there weren’t enough people willing to take a leap of faith and give the show a chance because it wasn’t a big-budget action film. It told stories with each of its characters and did so well. I’m guessing that wasn’t appreciated. Additionally, the release of the fourth Terminator film in the summer of 2009 probably gave the show an over saturation point with the public which hampered any acceptance of it. So now the show’s gone from our televisions, and while we have a new crop of reality shows and sitcoms with retread stars to pore over, I’d encourage people to give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a second view. It’s funny, smart, suspenseful, intriguing and artistic. And yes, it’s a science fiction show. Further proof that the genre has some quality creative minds contributing to it.

REVIEW: CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2000)

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bill Murray (Groundhog Day)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Lynch (Road House)
Tim Curry (IT)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea)
Tom Green (Road Trip)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)
Kevin Grevioux (Underworld)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)

Drew Barrymore in Charlie's Angels (2000)Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore) and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) are the “Angels”, three talented, tough, attractive women who work as private investigators together for an unseen millionaire named Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe) Charlie uses a speaker in his offices to communicate with the Angels, and his assistant Bosley (Bill Murray) works with them directly when needed.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels (2000)Charlie assigns the Angels to find Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), a software genius who created a revolutionary voice-recognition system and heads his own company, Knox Enterprises. Knox is believed to have been kidnapped by Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), who runs a communications-satellite company called Redstar. The Angels infiltrate a party held by Corwin and spot a suspicious-looking man that they had previously seen from surveillance videos of Knox’s kidnapping. Dubbing him the “Thin Man” (Crispin Glover), the Angels chase him down and fight him; he gets away but the Angels find Knox, safely held nearby.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels (2000)After the Angels reunite Knox with his business partner Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch) Charlie explains that they must determine whether the Thin Man has stolen Knox’s voice-recognition software. The Angels infiltrate Redstar headquarters, fool the security system, and plant a device in the central computer that will enable them to explore it remotely. They retire for the night after giving Bosley the laptop computer that communicates with the Redstar computer. Dylan takes up Knox’s offer to spend the night with him, and they end up having sex. Afterwards, Knox betrays her; simultaneously, attacks are made on Natalie and Alex, Bosley is captured by Vivian, and Corwin is murdered by the Thin Man. Knox tells Dylan his kidnapping was all faked to get the Angels to help him access the Redstar satellite network. He plans to use it along with his voice recognition software to find and kill Charlie, who Knox asserts killed his father in the Vietnam War.The Angels are back on the chain gangDylan escapes and reunites with Natalie and Alex, all who survived their attacks. They approach Charlie’s offices just as the building explodes. They find a radio transmitter that Bosley is able to communicate through via a radio transmitter implanted in a tooth. Bosley provides enough information of his place of captive to allow Natalie to deduce its location, an abandoned lighthouse. With help from Dylan’s current boyfriend Chad (Tom Green) the Angels stealthily approach the lighthouse. They are too late from stopping Knox from determining Charlie’s location, but they rescue Bosley and defeat Vivian, the Thin Man, and some henchmen before Knox blows up the lighthouse. Knox flies an attack helicopter towards Charlie’s house, while Bosley helps the Angels board it. Alex reprograms the missile to have it shoot backwards, which blows up the helicopter and kills Knox while all of the Angels land safely together on the beach.The Angels get ready to rumble...Seeing the opportunity to finally meet Charlie in person, they enter the beach house that Knox had targeted the missile at, but Charlie has already left. He remotely congratulates the Angels on a job well done through another speaker, and treats them and Bosley to a vacation. Charlie tells them that Knox’s father was undercover; however, he was discovered and he was killed by someone else but not Charlie. When he speaks to the Angels unseen again by telephone on the beach, they ask if they could ever meet him in person. Dylan then suspects that she might be seeing him nearby talking into a cell phone, but she doesn’t tell the group.Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Bob Stephenson in Charlie's Angels (2000)There’s no intellectual challenges made in this movie’s plot, and that’s how it should be; the characters are only slightly more fleshed-out than any of the ones from the TV show, and that’s also not a bad thing – if you put too much seriousness into this kind of film, you wind up killing the roaring-good times to be had. What really makes the film work is the charisma ( & physical charms )of the 3 leading ladies, combined with well-choreographed action sequences and the tongue-in-cheek script. If you enjoy Diaz, Barrymore & Liu ( not to mention Bill Murray )when they’re on the screen, you’ll love this flick.