CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Blu-Ray Review: ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season’
CHICAGO – The excellent Blu-Ray release for the second season of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” highlights what worked about this series that was cancelled far too soon. There were storytelling flaws and a male lead that never quite worked, but “SCC” delivered theatrical caliber sci-fi entertainment every week and it looks absolutely amazing in HD. It’s a show that will be missed.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
When it came time to announce the fall schedules, most of us knew that Fox could only afford to renew one, relatively low-rated, sci-fi show - “Dollhouse” or “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. Most assumed it would be the latter but, as we all know by now, Eliza Dushku lived to fight another day, Lena Headey was stopped in her tracks, and Summer Glau actually jumped from the cancelled show to the one miraculously saved.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on September 22nd, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video
The fact is that you can’t really blame Fox. “SCC” was an incredibly expensive, complex show that was literally hemorrhaging viewers in its second season. The show went from 18.6 million viewers for the series premiere in January of 2008 to an average of only 4.64 million viewers in its second season, falling from 36th place for season one to 71st for season two. There wasn’t enough reason for Fox to think that the trajectory would be reversed for season three.
Of course, anyone who stuck with the show will tell you that the ratings erosion was not earned. This was not a case of a series jumping the shark and fans fleeing from the inferior product like, say, “Heroes”. This was a case of a show simply losing its traditional audience, as more fans found it via DVR, online, or waited to watch it on DVD or Blu-Ray. The show was too difficult for regular Nielsen audiences to deal with and they clearly felt like if they missed an episode, they would either wait for the home release or not come back. In an era where non-traditional viewing (DVR, online, etc.) still isn’t really tracked right nor appreciated, “SCC” was doomed.
What was perhaps most interesting about season two of the show was the focus on and talent displayed by the supporting cast. Brian Austin Green displayed range none of us knew he had and Dean Winters, Summer Glau, and Garret Dillahunt continued to prove why they’re already beloved supporting actors. The biggest flaw in “SCC” remained at the show’s core. I never believed that the whiny, dull Thomas Dekker would ever become the man who saved the world. He never sold the charismatic-leader-in-training portion of his character that’s really crucial to the whole experience if you think about it. Headey got some bad press but I always found her engaging and believable.
Whatever one may think of the actual show, the Blu-Ray release of the second season of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is a stunner. It features one of the best 1080p HD transfers that I’ve ever seen, film or television. The picture is flawless - not overly polished and plastic-y but never too dull or grainy either. The skin tones are amazingly clear and the lighting is always perfectly balanced, never allowing for loss of line detail. The Blu-Ray reminds how incredible this show looked. (And, to be fair, sounded. The audio track is similarly perfect.)
As for special features, Warner Brothers rarely disappoints and they’re not about to with such a fan-friendly product. The set includes commentaries on 4 key episodes:
Episode 2.1, “Samson and Delilah” - Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Shirley Manson, and Executive Producer/Writer Josh Friedman
Episode 2.4, “Allison From Palmdale” - Dekker, Glau, and Executive Producers Friedman, James Middleton, and John Wirth
Episode 2.21, “Adam Raised a Cain” - Dekker, Glau, Friedman, Middleton, and Wirth
Episode 2.22, “Born to Run” - Dekker, Glau, Friedman, Middleton, and Wirth
Disc 1 of the six-disc set includes “The Storyboard Process: Cameron Goes Bad”. Disc 2 includes “Cameron vs. Rosie Fight Rehearsal”. Most of the episodes include deleted scenes.
The final disc includes the bulk of the bonus material - the 4-part multiple viewpoint experience about the season finale called “Collision With the Future: Deconstructing the Hunter-Killer Attack,” a gag reel, and the amazingly detailed and impressive “The Continuing Chronicles: Terminator - 8-Part Featurette Gallery”.
If you’re one of those millions of viewers who jumped ship while “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” was on the air, you owe it to yourself to see where the show went. Don’t be surprised if this excellent Blu-Ray release makes you lament the fact that we’ll never see where it ends.