Why Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles was cancelled
First things first. I enjoyed watching this show. Every week I looked forward to the next episode. I do however understand why the casual TV viewer might not have felt the same way about the Sarah Connor Chronicles as me. And while most fans are blaming the cancellation on Fox's Friday night airing time, I believe the problems that SCC faced ran far deeper.
Where the writers lost a lot of the audience
SCC could not just live of hardcore terminator fans. The series had to build and extend its fan base, recruiting new viewers along the way who were not as of yet enthralled by the Terminator mystique. The only way to accomplish this was by giving the audience a gripping plot.
During the first series I believed the writers were doing a good job. They were slowly bringing along the characters, had just the right element of mystery surrounding some, and most important of all they were opening up a lot of threads that kept you guessing. I believe this is the main reason why the show was brought back for a second series.
To many un-answered questions
A lot of the threads that kept the audience guessing in season one were abruptly cut off in season two. And while many are used to this kind of thing in real life, it does not bode well for TV shows. Instead it alienates the audience. One moment you are trying to solve a puzzle, the next you realise that there will never be an answer to the puzzle you are trying to solve, and even worse every episode the show is giving you a set of new puzzles that will likely also go un-answered. Now if you were not a die-hard terminator fan who is impressed by some new technological gimmicks each week, wouldn't you rather spend those 45 minutes watching something else? For me the gimmicks were enough, but for a lot of people I guess they were not. Here are some of the unsolved puzzles that I am talking about.
The graffiti suicide
Remember the girl who jumped of the roof of the school in the Season 1 episode The Turk? What was all the graffiti about? Now obviously she was having an affair with the school counsellor, but still, who was doing the graffiti, and did you not at the time get the feeling that it was somehow interlinked with John & Cameron? Now admitted, a 16 year old school girl's affair with a school counsellor being connected to Skynet does sound a bit far-fetched, but still, they did put a lot of effort into those scenes. Maybe I just look too deeply into things, but to me the graffiti suicide felt like a storyline that was broken off in Season 2, due to some abrupt script changes in both location and John's evolution. Maybe the writers were aware early on that they only had one season left to finish the story, and therefore had to cram 3 seasons worth of story lines into 20 episodes. Or maybe the writers themselves did not exactly know where they were going with that plot. I guess we just had to accept what Cameron told John, and move on:
Remember John's Season One love interest?
You might recall Cheri Westin. She was John's mysterious study partner in season one who supposedly had a dark secret. Again, thanks to writers strike/casting issues, this story line never lived to see season two. I really think the writers strike might have killed this show off. What was this girl's dark secret? Was her father somehow involved with Skynet? So many questions left unanswered. Again, if I, a Terminator fan, was frustrated over not ever receiving any answers about this storyline, I can understand why some casual fans might have stopped watching all together.
The mysterious basement experiment
What happened to Derek Reese and the rest of the captives in the episode Dungeons and Dragons? Were we given the answer in the season two episode complications where we find out that Derek was once used by Charles Fisher, a grey, to help teach the machines how to act more human? If this was so, how come he and the other captives were released in Dungeons and Dragons? Why would the machines just let them go? Plus, Jesse told Derek that he had escaped. Being given an axe to cut through your chains hardly counts as an escape, does it? Again, I think the writers originally had a different plot in mind here.
Why I have mixed feelings about the Sarah Connor Chronicles
I am not the most critical person out there, and despite the fact that both seasons gave me the feeling that not even the writers knew in what direction the plot was heading, I would still love to see a third season. Mainly because I thought that the show had the perfect cast, and I enjoyed the action scenes plus little insights into the world of the machines. I do however feel that with a different set of writers the show could have lasted at least as long as shows like Heroes and Lost. In the end the story was just too big for them. And for the first time ever, I can understand Adolf's frustration: