Monday, July 20, 2009

Fox Pulls the Plug on "Terminator" TV Series

Fox has canceled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the expensive TV series spun off from the now 24-year-old movie franchise, after two seasons and a mere 31 episodes. The series was "created" by Josh Friedman, a screenwriter and blogger who, strangely enough, is best known for his association with movies that he didn't work on. (Friedman was co-credited, with David Koepp, with the script for Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, based on a script he'd written based on the H. G. Wells novel before Spielberg and Koepp got involved, and he got the ball rolling on Snakes on a Plane as an Internet punch line.) The series, which got off to a fast start when it premiered mid-season in January 2008, starred Lena Headley of 300 in the role made famous by Linda Hamilton and Thomas Dekker as John Connor, the role created by Edward Furling in Terminator 2, picked up by Nick Stahl in Terminator 3, and about to become, as of this coming Friday, the now-exclusive property of Christian Bale. The cast also included the dancer-actress Summer Glau, whose picture now belongs in the dictionary next to the term "hot poker-faced killer robot babe." It is an unwieldy term, but clearly it or something with the same meaning belongs in the language.

The series, which ended with a cliffhanger designed to make viewers sit up and yell at their sets, "Oh, like this wasn't already confusing enough!", recently won 53% of the vote in the TV channel E!'s annual Save One Show poll, in which viewers select their favorite among a selection of programs said to be in danger of imminent cancellation. (Ironically, the shows that came in second and third in the rankings, Chuck and Dollhouse, have both since been renewed.) For his part, Friedman has issued a public letter thanking fans for their support, saying, "Every network wants a big fat hit, especially one with a brand name behind it, and Fox was/is no different. They supported the show, they supported my vision of the show, and they gave it plenty of time to find an audience." Of course, for the movie industry, the big question is whether this bodes ill for the relaunch of the brand name as a big-budget movie franchise, when Terminator Salvation opens. If the movie fails to live up to its makers' hopes, they may have something to point to now besides Bale's much-disseminated video rant.

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