With the exception of "Terminator 2," I'm no fan of the "Terminator" franchise. But I may have to rethink that stance after consuming of the first season of Fox's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." It's what "Terminator 3" should have been.
Over nine episodes (damn you, writers' strike!), Sarah (Lena Headey, "300") moves her son, John (Thomas Dekker, TV's "Heroes"), from town to town, trying to keep him alive from future-sent robots aiming to kill him, thus preventing his eventual triumph over their uprising. Got that? Assisting them is one of those "nice" Terminator models, made to look like a lithe high school student (Summer Glau, "Serenity").
The premise seems rather rote, but the writers manage to find ways to keep from running in circles, including elements of time travel and budding romance. The show makes terrific use of whatever budget it's been given, delivering movie-quality stories and effects to the small screen.
Naturally, the string of killer robots are its action-packed draw, but its not-so-secret weapon is Headey. Whether kicking butt or healing family wounds, she acts the hell out of it, leaving one to ask, "Linda Hamilton who?" Headey remains its dramatic center, although Glau gets all the fanboy attention.
Warner's three-disc set doesn't skimp on extras, with loads of making-of footage, creator commentaries, animatics and extra scenes. With "Heroes" mired in a sophomore slump this past season, "Chronicles" stood up as the networks' finest sci-fi effort.