Everyone agrees it'll be tough to make Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles stretch out over five or six years of killer-robot-of-the-week episodes. Zap2It's Daniel Fienberg has a suggestion: Make it more like The Sopranos with killer robots, a show about ordinary, fucked-up people living with the constant fear of death. In that spirit, here are some possible storylines for Terminator: The Soprano Chronicles. No spoilers, unless you haven't seen the first two episodes.
The porn episode. I mean, come on. John Connor is a teenage boy. His mom has forbidden him to go near a computer, so he can't just surf to NoodMortalKombat.com or whatever. He's not supposed to leave the house without his bodyguard. Does he sneak away and try to steal some magazines? Does he order Summer Glau to flash him?
The therapy episode. One of the things that made The Sopranos so great was Tony's relationship with his Lorraine Braco's therapist. And judging from the first couple of episodes, Sarah Connor really needs some hardcore Jungian therapy. Or maybe Adlerian, we're not picky. Could she find a therapist who'd keep her secret and wouldn't try to have her committed? She could bring Summer Glau and have her show off her cyber-bits. Or maybe she'd try online therapy. Or just order Summer Glau to be her therapist, which would be hilarious. Actually, in episode two, we already saw hints of Summer becoming Sarah's therapist.
The hacking episode. So John Connor isn't allowed to use a computer any more, which means his 1337 hacking skillz were out of date in 1999. And now that he's jumped forward to 2007, his skillz are even more out of date. We got a pretty strong hint of that when he didn't know how to clear his browser cache in the mall computer store. But what if it turns out his hacker abilities were part of why he becomes such a great leader in the future? What if Sarah is actually thwarting his heroic destiny by trying to keep him safe?
(Actually, that should be a theme of the show in general. Maybe she subconsciously wants to keep him from becoming that great future leader, so the robots will stop trying to kill him. Something she could talk about in therapy.)
The gangster episode. Actually, the easiest way to make Connor like Sopranos is to have Sarah become even more of a criminal. We already saw that she has to keep dealing with gangstas to get fake IDs and other stuff to help her stay underground. What if she finds, over time, that she has to start running her own organized crime empire to stay one step ahead of the feds and the mean metal guys? After all, crime leads to more crime. It's a downward-spiral thing. We saw it on an after-school special once. Struggling to manage Sarah's own crime family be harder than dodging a Terminator's lousy aim. Which leads us to:
The betrayal episode. Sarah Connor should have a decent-sized supporting cast, with their own agendas and foibles. Not just the FBI agent and ex-fiance who are both obsessed with Sarah for different reasons, but temporary allies of Sarah's who will turn on her in a second when their interests diverge. And hey, here's a thought. Now that we know there are resistance fighters from the future hanging around in 2007 hanging cat posters, it would be interesting to meet them. What if some of them have gone native? Decided to give up on the fight and enjoy the spoils of their future knowledge until the end?