Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a television series launched in 2008 picking up the story of Sarah and John Connor following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Series producer Josh Friedman considers the series a separate timeline that ignores the events set into motion in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In this way, the series is an entirely new version of Terminator 3 and continues on from the movie chronology of the first two films.
Originally planned for a 13-episode first season, production of the series was suspended after the ninth episode because of a strike by the Writers Guild of America that lasted from November 2007 to February 2008. Following the end of the strike, production did not resume (unlike other series). The Los Angeles Times categorized the series as "on the bubble" (in danger of cancellation) because of declining ratings. The final two produced episodes were broadcast by Fox on March 3, 2008, and this was promoted as a season finale.
The network then announced that the series will return for a second season and approved a second season of 13 episodes. Season 2 was started on September 8th 2008 and aired between 8:00 and 9:00 pm on Monday nights. The second half of Season 2 in 2009 was moved onto Friday nights.
Fox Enterprises decided not to renew the series for a third season on May 17, 2009. It has, however, been rumored that the show may return in a series of Direct-to-DVD Films. As of June 10, 2010, actors Brian Austin Green and Thomas Dekker announce that the Direct-to-DVD movies are moving forward. Syndicated airings of the series will begin on the SyFy channel in the United States on Thursday, April 7, 2011; despite this Syfy has stated they have no plans to produce original programming based upon Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or the Terminator franchise.
On November 9, 2005, it was announced by trade magazine Variety that a television series based on the Terminator franchise would be produced by C2 Pictures, which produced Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in association with Warner Bros. Television. Fox Broadcasting Company had also joined the project by making a commitment to the pilot with Josh Friedman set to write the pilot and to serve as an executive producer for the series. Among the executive producers are C2 Pictures' Andy Vajna, Mario Kassar and James Middleton.
The series, initially titled The Sarah Connor Chronicles, will focus on the character Sarah Connor, who is on the run with her son after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Regarding the character, Middleton says, "She has the weight of the world on her shoulders and also has to raise a teenage son who may be the salvation of humanity." Friedman comments that the series will contain fewer action sequences because of the smaller budget of television in contrast to feature films.
Production was officially greenlit by Fox Broadcasting Company on August 28, 2006 after Warner Bros. Television hired David Nutter to direct the pilot. The series was among seven new TV shows picked up by Fox on May 13, 2007 for their 2007-08 television season.
In a June 20, 2007 interview, Friedman revealed that the writers and producers are going to avoid the "Terminator of the Week" plot device and that Sarah, John, and Cameron will have other threats than just terminators. Skynet will also come into play as the series progresses. Furthermore, Friedman stated that the events of Terminator 3 have no bearing on this timeline, but do occur in an alternate timeline. In addition to having planned the entire story arc for the first season, Friedman has a rough idea for the plot of the following three seasons.
The casting process of the series took sixteen weeks during which the producers auditioned actors not only from America but also from Australia, Canada, and England. Over 300 actresses auditioned for the role of Sarah Connor, the heroine of the Terminator series. 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." After a friend recommended English actress Lena Headey for the role, Friedman watched her audition tape, and thought she was "a tough, tough woman." Headey was officially cast on November 7, 2006.
On December 7, 2006, the actor cast in the role of fifteen-year-old John Connor was announced to be Thomas Dekker. Regarding the Terminator films, Dekker says, "They are like my favorite films when I was younger. So it's very ironic that I'm getting to do this. And I know for the younger generation and for myself, John was equally important to me as Sarah was, and I know a lot of the people that I hear from really, really care about John."
The remaining two principal cast members of the series, Richard T. Jones and Summer Glau, were announced in January 2007 and February 2007 respectively. Jones likens his character, an FBI agent, to that of Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. Moreover, he is allowed to improvise a few lines to provide "a little bit of comic relief" to the show. Unlike Dekker, Glau had not seen the Terminator films prior to being cast as Cameron, whose role in the series was initially kept concealed but was later revealed to be a terminator sent back from the future to protect John. Friedman had previously wanted to cast Glau in a pilot he wrote four years prior to The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but she was already committed to Serenity. Glau admitted that she felt "intimidated" by the role because the character is comprised of both human and robot characteristics.
The role of Cromartie, a terminator sent back to kill John Connor, first went to Owain Yeoman, who appeared in the pre-broadcast pilot. On September 24, 2007, it was announced that Garret Dillahunt has joined the show as a recurring guest star in the role of Cromartie.
The pilot episode was primarily filmed in Albuquerque. The principal photography started on January 24, 2007 and took approximately one month to complete. Subsequent episodes in the series are filmed in the backlot of the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, where the set was previously used by Gilmore Girls to depict their fictional town, Stars Hollow.
At the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah, John, and the terminator successfully destroy the T-1000 and the arm and computer chip from the first terminator. Sarah and John then watch as the terminator is lowered into a molten steel pit in an attempt to destroy all future technology that could be used to create Skynet. Having been blamed for the murder of Miles Dyson, both Sarah and John now find themselves alone in a very dangerous and complicated world. Fugitives from the law, they are confronted with the reality that still more enemies from the future and the present could attack at any moment.
Prompted by the return of the terminators into their lives, Sarah and John decide to stop running and focus on stopping the birth of Skynet. They are aided by Cameron, a terminator who poses as a student at John's school and whose mission is to protect John. Meanwhile, an FBI agent named James Ellison pursues Sarah and John with the belief that Sarah is deranged, but after seeing and hearing of several incidents of an assassin named Cromartie, he begins to doubt Sarah's supposed insanity and believes part of what Sarah was trying to tell the world.
The trio time travel 8 years into the future to 2007, to stop Skynet and prevent Judgment Day once and for all.
Major film events that do not occur
Because the events of Terminator 3, Salvation, and Genisys did not happen in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the following major events did not transpire, drastically changing the timeline:
- The Series X of Terminators were not manufactured, being replaced instead by the Series 888.
- John never meets Katherine Brewster, therefore delaying or stopping their meeting, and conceiving of their son.
- Marcus Wright never signed his body over to Cyberdyne, and was never converted into a Terminator.
- Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) is a major character in the Terminator series and is seen as a deranged fugitive by the authorities, who do not believe her story about the terminators.
- John Connor (Thomas Dekker) is the son of Sarah Connor and a major character in the Terminator series. He is fifteen years old at the start of the show and turns sixteen by the first season finale.
- Cameron (Summer Glau) is the guardian of the Connors, a T-900 Terminator, sent from the future to protect John Connor. Cameron is the most human-like terminators seen so far; being able to eat and convincingly mimic human emotions better than her predecessors.
- Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) is the older brother of Kyle Reese and the paternal uncle of John. He is a Resistance fighter sent back to 2007.
- Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) is a T-888 terminator similar to Model 101, sent back to kill John.
- Catherine Weaver (Shirley Manson) is a new version of the Series 1xxx terminator, the T-1001, whether she was sent from the future or came of her own accord, she is an agent of an Anti-Skynet 3rd faction, she has assumed control of a computer company (founded by the original Catherine Weaver and her late husband, Lachlan) called ZeiraCorp, and is responsible for the creation of an advanced form of Artificial intelligence.
- Riley Dawson (Leven Rambin) is a student at John's high school. The two befriend each other, but unknown to John, Riley has a hidden agenda.
- James Ellison (Richard T. Jones) is an FBI agent with a strong Christian belief, originally pursuing Sarah Connor, but eventually ends up getting deeper and deeper into the creation of John Henry.
Fox began their advertising campaign for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on September 27, 2007 with a brief teaser which ran during prime-time programs, consisting of an image of two red dots that lasted for a few seconds on screen before disappearing. The two red dots were revealed to be the eyes of the terminators from the show in the second phase of the advertising campaign, which began two weeks later. Fox heavily promoted the show during the World Series by releasing the first 45-second preview for the show on October 27, 2007. The final phase of the campaign commenced in November, 2007 with more broadcast information being added to the advertisements. It is described by Fox's Executive Vice-President of marketing and communications, Joe Earley, as the "biggest campaign for a new midseason show in years".
An extended cut of the pilot was publicly screened for the first time on July 28, 2007 at the 2007 Comic-Con International convention. Originally scheduled to premiere on January 14, 2008, the television broadcast of the show was rescheduled to commence on January 13, 2008 after Fox reorganized their broadcast timetable because of the Writers Guild of America strike. As such, Fox's original intention to air Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the Monday 8:00 pm ET timeslot as a lead-in program for 24 was also changed. The show was moved to the Monday 9:00 pm ET timeslot with Prison Break as its lead-in program initially, with the reality series Moment of Truth taking Prison Break's place as lead-in later in the season.
Syndicated airings of the series will begin on the SyFy channel in the United States on Thursday, April 7, 2011.
- Episode 101: Pilot
- Episode 102: Gnothi Seauton
- Episode 103: The Turk
- Episode 104: Heavy Metal
- Episode 105: Queen's Gambit
- Episode 106: Dungeons & Dragons
- Episode 107: The Demon Hand
- Episode 108: Vick's Chip
- Episode 109: What He Beheld
- Episode 201: Samson & Delilah
- Episode 202: Automatic For The People
- Episode 203: The Mousetrap
- Episode 204: Allison From Palmdale
- Episode 205: Goodbye To All That
- Episode 206: The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short
- Episode 207: Brothers of Nablus
- Episode 208: Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today
- Episode 209: Complications
- Episode 210: Strange Things Happen at the One Two Point
- Episode 211: Self Made Man
- Episode 212: Alpine Fields
- Episode 213: Earthlings Welcome Here
- Episode 214: The Good Wound
- Episode 215: Desert Cantos
- Episode 216: Some Must Watch, While Some Must Sleep
- Episode 217: Ourselves Alone
- Episode 218: Today Is The Day, Part 1
- Episode 219: Today Is The Day, Part 2
- Episode 220: To the Lighthouse
- Episode 221: Adam Raised a Cain
- Episode 222: Born to Run
- Breaking News: 'THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES' IS 'T3 - VERSION 2.0' (Orginal) at iFMagazine.com (July 23, 2007) Josh Friedman: “TERMINATOR fans have very ambivalent feelings toward TERMINATOR 3, [...] To me, it’s about Sarah, and the big thing about TERMINATOR 3 is Sarah is not in it. Given the opportunity to do what I consider a third movie, with an iconic character, I’m really excited about it as a TERMINATOR fan and I hope TERMINATOR fans are. I think it’s almost better to make a big decision, TERMINATOR 3 for our timeline doesn’t exist, now let’s go forward. It’s a much cleaner and easier thing to do than say, ‘we’re shooting here and we’re going to make six or seven back flips to do that.’ [The] TERMINATOR [franchise] is the ultimate timeline. One is a TV timeline, one’s a movie time line. Track them both and see where we end up."
- The TV Grid: When Is Your Favorite Show Coming Back? at LATimes.com
- 'Sarah Connor' will be back on Fox at Variety.com (April 21, 2008)
- Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 Returns Sept. 8, 2008 at TerminatorChronicles.com (June 5, 2008)
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles canceled
- SCC: DVD PLS by Ross Cooper
- Interview with Brian Austin Green and Thomas Dekker: TSCC Movie is a go.