“Terminator” is Dominating

Terminator is Dominating
Stars of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Listen to Fans for Season Two on Fox

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Season two of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, has made the folks at Fox TV very happy, dominating the adults 18-49 key demos.

Despite the criticism from the fans of the blockbuster Terminator movie franchise, they tuned in to see the action-adventure drama about Sarah Connor and her son John, who is the earth’s future savior.

The bellyaching about not getting enough action last season was taken to heart, and the new season exploded with a nonstop, heart-pounding chase that had an impressive body count pile up, and a cavalcade car crashes. Can they accelerate the intense pace as the season goes on? It will be one wild ride if they do.

Also the subject of fan criticism was Lena Headey, who plays Sarah Conner. The actress acknowledges she had to toughen up after discovering all the not-so-nice things written about her on the Internet.

 “I have gigantic biceps this season,” Headey jokes about the references to living up to the hard body images of Linda Hamilton, the big screen Sarah Conner.

Mostly comments were made by people who thought Headey wasn’t physically ready to do the role. But series creator-executive producer Josh Friedman laughs “they hadn’t been hit by her on the set like I had.”

Lena’s actually looking forward to hearing what the Terminator fans have to say now, since she’s been working out more. “Last year people seemed to make terrible comments, so I’m waiting. I don’t know yet. Mostly I’m just trying to stay away from the brownies.”

Getting into workout routines and strength training certainly will help all the cast members get through the extreme physicality of filming. Only nine episodes were shot before the writers strike. This season the stars will have to sustain their energy level through 22 episodes.

Thomas Dekker, who plays John, says, “I feel that last season I did okay. Now I’m working hard. But I’m tired.”

What’s helping Dekker maintain his energy through six months of the production? “Sleep. I think we all need sleep, a lot. And I did a training program before we started this new season for about a month, and it kind of kept getting intercepted by other work. But I did it.” Weight lifting was part of his training.

Dekker adds, “I felt that I didn’t really need to be so physically able last season because I wasn’t doing very much. But I felt that this season there is going to be more. So I got a trainer and did that whole thing, which was new for me. And you managed to keep it up all the time.”

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But he says the action-packed days on the set in Vancouver, Canada, leave the entire cast exhausted. “We are all very tired.”

Following in the big Terminator shoes filled by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movies, is pretty and petite Summer Glau, who continues to mesmerize.

Summer says she loves the way the show is developing. “You have to be creative. You have to look at things differently when you’re on a series like this. I feel that it is going to be better this year. You get better at it, so I’m glad we’re back.”

Dekker says he’s pleased with the direction of his character, evolving from a callow youth, being protected by a lot of people. “He’s stepping up, facing his future now.”

Dekker explains that he liked the way his role was written the first season. “John was very weak in a sense, but he was mentally there. He was very intelligent and very able. But I don’t think he had the blood in him yet for war or certainly to be a leader.

So I think I’ve known kind of subconsciously from [creator-producer Josh Friedman] that the plan was to kind of keep him young and, you know, long hair, and going to school and trying to be normal. That was an essence of his youth still there, and his innocence.”

I think a lot of that innocence dies in the beginning of this season. They’re doing a great job with the writing, too, to do it subtly. And I’m trying to play that.”

Added to the cast of players is Shirley Manson (lead singer for Garbage) who plays Catherine Weaver, exuding evil as the head of a computer company. Also Brian Austin Green is a regular, along with Garrett Dillahunt and Leven Rambin.

The timeline for the series is set after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with Sarah and John in a very dangerous, complicated world. Fugitives from the law, they must battle the Terminators from the future and pursuers in today’s Los Angeles, and ultimately save themselves and the world. Let’s hope they make it to season three.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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