The Disney+ Sci-Fi Thriller Series That Almost Saved A Franchise

By Douglas Helm | Published

Everyone knows that The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are fantastic films, while the rest of the film franchise has been relatively disappointing. However, the franchise fared much better on the TV side of things with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This underrated TV series did justice to the franchise and was canceled way before its time, but you can still stream the first two seasons on Disney+.

Lena Headey As Sarah Connor

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles first hit TV screens in 2008 on Fox and ended up getting 31 episodes across two seasons. The series ignores the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and instead follows directly after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The series sees Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) and her son John (Thomas Dekker) find themselves as fugitives who still have threats to face from the future and the present.

Cameron The Terminator

Summer Glau Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Fortunately, Sarah and John aren’t alone, as a Terminator named Cameron (Summer Glau) appears to help them on their mission to prevent the creation of Skynet, the advanced AI system that eventually launches an attack on humanity.

The series was created by Josh Friedman and produced by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Along with Heady, Dekker, and Glau, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles also starred Brian Austin Green, Garret Dillahunt, Shirley Manson, Richard T. Jones, Leven Rambin, and Stephanie Jacobsen.

Fox Cancels The Show After Season 2

Despite the undeniable quality of the series and the love from Terminator fans, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles struggled throughout its production. While the series was initially greenlit for 13 episodes, the season was reduced to nine episodes due to the Writers Guild of America strike at the time. The first season got great reviews but had very low viewership ratings.Fortunately, the series was able to get the green light for a second season, but that would be the end of things. Even with the great reviews, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles continued to get low viewership ratings. This led Fox to cancel it, although not without significant backlash and a fan campaign to try to convince Fox to keep it going.

The cost of the series and the low viewership were the reasons that Fox said Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles wouldn’t get the most-desired third season. Plus, there was the fact that The Halcyon Company, which purchased the rights to the franchise in 2007, faced legal troubles and had to declare bankruptcy the following year. This led to the franchise being sold to new owners who were more interested in continuing the film franchise rather than pursuing TV shows.

Terminator Movies Continue To Fail

terminator genisys

The Terminator franchise changed hands again, eventually landing with the current rights holders Skydance Productions. The idea to continue the film franchise definitely wasn’t a good one, as Terminator Salvation, Terminator Genisys, and Terminator: Dark Fate have all failed to live up to the quality of the first two movies, or even Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for that matter. It especially stung for fans of the TV series that Terminator Salvation came out the same year that the show was canceled.

Stream The Sarah Connor Chronicles On Disney+

While we likely will never get a third season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, at least we still have 31 episodes to enjoy. It’s certainly better than the recent Terminator films we’ve been getting, though maybe the upcoming anime series or the new Terminator film will be a return to form. In the meantime, you can check out Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles now on Disney+.