Saint Sarah Connor

I miss Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I watched it when it was on TV and caught many episodes. Then I got season 1 on DVD for Christmas and used a gift card to buy season 2. And that’s it. It was canceled by Fox after only two seasons. Why? The simplest answer is that it never got the ratings Fox was looking for. Fox can be ruthless with even good shows that don’t make it. Firefly was another excellent show they killed.

I like Sarah Connor for a number of reasons. It was a thoughtful show with tight writing. It explored an interesting universe. I liked all of the actors. It just had a good chemistry. But there was more to it.

James Cameron wrote and directed the first two Terminator movies. He is very much anti-Christianity but Christian themes still came through in Terminator. Miraculous birth of the savior of humanity. In Terminator 2 we see Sarah Connor as a driven woman at the beginning but when she goes to kill Miles Dyson, the man who is reverse engineering the remains of the Terminator from the first film, she can’t. In the pinch Sarah finds that human life is special and I think in that moment she saw herself behaving more like a Terminator than a human.

Sarah Conner Chronicles picks up at the end of T2 and time jumps past the events of that horrible T3 film. So the Sarah we see in the TV series is the Sarah we saw in T2. A tough woman, not the cupcake who needed to be protected, she kicks metal butt. And she cares for people too. “Human life is sacred” is a lesson an artificial intelligence is taught in the series.

But the Christianity in the TV series is much more blatant than that. The FBI agent assigned to investigate Miles Dyson’s death is a Christian. Agent Ellison carries a Bible and even gives it to a fleeing couple. He is seen in a small group reading the Bible together. Scripture is quoted quite often and not in a demeaning manner. It is actually a development point of the story. Even the music often contains religious messages. When the FBI raids the home of the man they believe has murdered a number of people (he’s been replaced by a Terminator) the music that starts playing is Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around”. It starts and ends with Johnny reading from Revelation and the song itself is about Jesus’ return. That ends season 1. Season 2 starts with a song about Samson and Delilah. In season 2 the Connors are hiding in a church. Derek, a solider from the future who is working with them, when asked what he did all night, he points to the large crucifix and says “I spent the night talking to him.”

The show is dripping with scripture. No wonder it was cancelled. Hollywood doesn’t often know what to do with faith in film. Often black people are allowed to be believers (Ellison is black) but white people who have faith are either the bad guys or idiots. To see Christianity treated so carefully and kindly in a TV series is rare. And I wonder if it cost Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles a longer run? Surely it was the ratings, right? Either way, I am enjoying slowly working through each episode and enjoying the little bit we got. Maybe, like Firefly, Sarah Conner will get a film made to wrap it up. Probably only be a TV movie but I’d be happy with that. The forth movie, Terminator Salvation was horrible. I hope the franchise doesn’t end on that note. The entire thing has been sold and there are talks about T5 & 6 but I don’t know how they’ll recover the movie series after that.

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