We watched the first episode of the new Terminator TV series last night and the whole thing left me feeling sort of confused, angry, and betrayed. I'm willing to give it one more episode already on my DVR, but if that doesn't win me over, I'm done with the show. Here's my problems with the show:
1) It violates established canon. This is my biggest beef. For people to buy into a franchise like Terminator, everything has to make sense when taken as a whole. As such, this TV show much dovetail with plot elements established in the movies.
1a) I have no problem with a female terminator, however, why is John surprised by her existence in Rise Of the Machines when he's previously met a female terminator when he was 15 on the TV series? Which leads to the next problem.
1b) John never meets the female terminator in Rise of the Machines because according to the executive producer and head writer, T3 took place in an alternate timeline. Are you kidding me?? What a cop out. Why does a previously made movie get the cold shoulder and your crappy TV show gets to be the new official canon? This was almost a deal-breaker for me on the show. You don't get to brush off a terminator movie that starred Arnold just because it makes writing your own show easier. Make your new show take place in an alternate timeline, you pompous ass.
1c) Like the above, the minute they timetraveled to 2007, all kinds of warning alarms went off in my brain. I couldn't remember the exact date, but I knew T3 ended in 2003 or 2004 with the self-awareness of Skynet and the near-annihilation of humanity by nuclear war. This was obviously precluded by appearing naked on a freeway in LA in 2007. For a franchise so firmly entrenched with altering the future, you have to make things like this explainable within the context of the plot (ie, not with an arrogant statement like in 1b).
2) The protagonist terminator is named Cameron in an obvious homage to James Cameron. This is fine, but if you're going to do it, you can't betray Cameron's vision or undermine the authority of his previous work (see problem 1). I know he didn't direct T3, but he also called that movie "in a word: great."
3) I've always hated the "go back to the past and set things up for yourself in the present" plot device. Bill and Ted used it all the time, but they also had a magic phone booth and Socrates called Freud a geek. They also pointed out that while anyone could potentially go back and do that, you have to escape the current predicament in the first place to be able to do it. Most of the time, you just have to suspend disbelief and go along with the story, but this particular plot device always bugs me. It's like having a magic genie to grant your every command. Note to self, after I get away from this gun wielding pyscho robot, go back in time and make sure there's a RPG launcher handy when this happens again so I can fight back. You might as well ask your magic genie to conjur up a BFG9000 instead.
4) You can't change the future by altering the past or the future would already be what it is. This is a major catch 22 in all time-travel narratives, but since it's already established canon (or was until Josh Friedman got his hands on the franchise) that Judgment Day occurs despite John's actions, everything tied up neatly at the end of T3.
5) John is not supposed to be a whiney mama's boy. What 15-year old kid, as a reformed hacker, after having battled a terminator, and then having made friends with a terminator, is going to turn in a crybaby so quickly. I understand teen angst and the "why me" attitude. I don't understand asking mommy for help or to take care of the problem for you. Granted, Linda Hamilton set the bar pretty high for women everywhere, and this new woman isn't half bad, and yes, Sarah Conner makes Rambo look like a wuss, but adolescent males don't change regardless of what year it is. They reject parental authority and insist on doing things for themselves.
I really want to like this new TV show because, well, it's the Terminator franchise, but so far things are not looking so hot for the Sarah Conner Chronicles