The Sarah Connor Chronicles - it's a strange beast of a show. The first season was cut short by the writer's strike, but was surprisingly decent (most were expecting something wholly weak I'm sure) - but no, we got something "actually not bad" (a phrase commonly used by myself and others I have spoken to about it).
Season 2 is - which when compared to the mere 9 episode run of Season 1, is positively over-long - an even stranger beast than the show in general. It makes for gripping viewing at times, but it also has a recurring use of pretentious plot devices - mainly stories and parables that vaguely relate to the theme of the episode, recounted in an overtly maudlin tone in the narration ... they're cringe-level on the crap-idea scale.
However, then you get a really awesome episode where shit not only hits the fan, but you get some proper Terminator-style action ... rather than an overdose on melodrama and family feuds, which often wrestles for pole position as a story-driving element.
Add in the odd knuckle-chewingly rubbish character - like Derek's Aussie-Asian bit-on-the-side, whose bee-stung-pouty-as-all-hell-lips and constant air of dull misery and manipulation sucks the life out of every moment she inhabits. Then there's the blonde Aussie who is supposed to be a bit of flirt-material for John Connor ... but again, her entire involvement left a bitter taste in the mouth of the viewer - too soap-opera-ish, not enough Terminator drama!
The middle of season two was a real stinker - after the overly long mid-season hiatus it got decidedly ass (I really wish the American TV networks would ROYALLY FUCK OFF screwing up their broadcast schedules with all these preposterous and scattergun broadcast breaks - they're FUCKING ANNOYING and the viewer can't gain any sense of week-on-week momentum).
The real kicker came with the 'funeral wake episode' and the 'dream episode', which were all surrounded by the mind-numbing "three dots" sub-plot (which was so clumsy and pointless, the weak-as-watered-down-piss pay-off moment of realisation left a mark on the superb season finale like a fart in a lift).
Those two aforementioned episodes were the very definition of boring, dull and tedious - is this Terminator, or some crappy soap opera melodrama written by tossers who are too obsessed with crow-barring in "themes" and "story-telling devices"? Certainly the latter with those episodes (and others like it).
Then - thank buggery - the last handful of episodes in the season royally kicked beaucoup arse - finally, it was back to Terminator territory - we not only got to SEE some Terminators, but they DID STUFF, and the plots actually started to MOVE rather than tread murky water.
The last two episodes in particular - not giving away any spoilers - were flat-out fantastic. The sense of speed to the storytelling made for properly gripping viewing, and was truly the show at its best - the crappy story-telling "themes" were limited-to-non-existent, and shit - quite simply - got real. The stakes were raised, a boatload of stuff happened, and it all ended with two scenes which turned everything on its head - and left me THOROUGHLY wanting a third season.
A sad thing then, that - rumour has it - Fox is going to shit-can it. What a silly idea - how about ordering a few more episodes, demand the quality of the last few episodes of season two to be a consistent level of quality for TSCC from now-on, see how awesome it'll get, then order more episodes to fill a third season.
To end it now would be a smack in the face - although the writers, producers and directors should have all been given a massive slap about the face a long time ago so we didn't have to trudge through that mid-season slab of bloated shittery. The last few episodes have been properly bad-ass, and I want more god damnit!