Who'd have guessed it but "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which debuted on Fox last night, is actually pretty entertaining. If you've seen the "Terminator" movies, there's nothing very original about the series: robots from the future go back in time to try and kill John Connor, the young man who'll one day grow up to lead a rebellion against the skull-crushing, Earth-ruling machines. He is destined to ruin their future days, much the way humidity ruins my hair, and the machines, well, they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.
This TV incarnation of James Cameron's tale takes place after "Terminator 2" and shows us Sarah Connor, played by British actress Lena Headley, struggling to raise and protect her son John, played by Thomas Dekker, who you'll remember as cheerleader Claire Bennet's gay and then, oops, suddenly not so gay friend Zach on "Heroes." As the story begins, a lean, mean, non-Schwarzennegger fighting machine is hunting down the Connors, retaining the typical terminator ability to shoot a gazillion bullets and still manage to miss the sides of several barns and, yes, all of his targets. Despite Mr. Terminator's inability to shoot straight, things are looking pretty grim for the Connors until the requisite good guy terminator -- or gal, in this case -- shows up, played by Summer Glau, formerly of "Firefly."
Let me just say right now: Summer Glau kicks ass, both literally and figuratively, and I think I may love her. She dominates every scene she's in, making you believe she has the innocence of a machine but also the worldliness of a machine that's seen a lot. She injects humor and subtle charm into her scenes yet also, seriously, just makes you want to watch her blow stuff up and pummel people all day long -- she does it so gracefully! With apologies to Governor Schwarzennegger, she's definitely my favorite terminator.
"The Sarah Connor Chronicles" makes its bread and butter off of explosions, pretty people running around a lot, chase scenes, more explosions and, because this is Fox, many scenes with a half-naked Summer Glau. And frankly, it all kind of works. This show is never going to win an Emmy, but at a time when all we're getting is reality TV and more reality TV, it's a welcome respite. It's a fun, solid show, and it's perfect when all you want to do is kick off your shoes, have a bowl of popcorn and be mindlessly and wonderfully entertained. And watch Summer Glau blow stuff up.
You can catch part two of the premiere tonight at 9 on Fox.