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Gladiators Kill with Kindness While Terminators just Kill

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Do you know what I like?  I like good television.  It's just who I am.  I think that Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles represents good television.  I'm not convinced of it, I may yet be proven wrong, but after two episodes it seems like a pretty solid show to me. 

Frankly, the main quibbles I have with the series are all continuity ones that go back to the films on which the show is based.  Once one accepts, if one can, that the producers of the show are making the myth their own rather than simply building on what came before, most of those worries go away. 

Look at the good in last night's episode.  There were some decent action sequences including one featuring Summer Glau as Cameron, our good guy Terminator, attacking some random new bad guy Terminator.  Cameron also shot a man on the presumption that he may have been lying and she was also a hair's breadth away from taking out a cop.  Sure, she's good but she's not that wise yet, and it'll be interesting to see how she grows and changes. 

The show actually seemed concerned with Cameron's murder and near murder.  It did not condone the deaths, rather, it made it look as though Sarah took the deaths quite seriously and knew that she had to explain to Cameron that even though Cameron's a Terminator she can't go around killing people willy-nilly.  It's a lesson Arnold learned in Terminator 2 (okay, so they are borrowing plot points which may be a long-term problem) to great effect. 

Now, the show I watched last night that wasn't as good was American Gladiators.  Oh sure, the actual events are great fun, but unless a contestant (or producer) wipes the smile off of Titan's face pretty soon I'm not quite sure that I can continue watching. He's like a muscle bound version of Dudley Do-Right, a character I never much cared for. 

Last night, during the first event one, of the contestants got injured.  Rather than backing off and letting the medics do their work, the big lummox went over to the downed man, grinned with all his overly-white teeth showing, and announced what a great competitor the injured contestant was.  It wasn't just that he complemented the contestant that bother me, it was that he went on and on about it.  Later, after Titan lost in Joust to the other contestant, he came up to the contestant and Hulk Hogan as Hogan was conducting an interview.  Titan interjected and congratulated the contestant on a match hard won.

This may sound shocking, but I don't actually watch American Gladiators for the insightful commentaries or the post-round interviews. I watch it to see the contestants get pummeled by the gladiators (and yes, that's the direction I like to see pummeling go in).  It sort of take something away from the entire endeavor if the pummeling is nothing more than an onslaught of compliments, don't you think?

"Oh your words, Titan, your words," says the imaginary contestant. "They hurt so much, your words.  Titan those compliments, you're… you're… killing me with kindness."  Much more of that and I'm going to have to change the channel.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.