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Josh Friedman Talks Sarah Connor Chronicles

Published September 11, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles The Sarah Connor Chronicles
So they're doing big Terminator action on TV with The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Producers have learned how to maintain high quality spectacle on a small screen budget. But those were R-rated movies. Are they really going to get away with Terminators on TV? Series creator and show runner Josh Friedman promises he'll please the fans without pissing off their parents.

Friedman on The Sarah Connor Chronicles

"I think one of the opportunities we actually have on the show because of the context and what the show is about, kind of the apocalypse and this big scare about what's coming to try to end mankind, we have a really great opportunity to kind of really explore human value and humankind," said Friedman. "Obviously, there's a race of terminators coming who think that humankind has no value and a lot of t he show is how do you prosecute a war against a force that doesn't value you at all or value themselves at all? How do you do that and still maintain your own humanity? I think that to the degree there's violence or action or anything in it, I think not only is it going to be done responsibly, but I take it very seriously because I think that's thematically what it's about. How does Sarah raise a son to be the leader of the free world? You can't do it by just teaching him to shoot guns. You have to teach him how to be a man and how to lead from a moral place. So I think it's more than just shoot stuff. It's every life needs to be valued and I think that's kind of what the show is about."

Already a scene in the pilot set in a high school has raised question with some critics, and Friedman is considering retooling it. "I'm actually from Colorado and I grew up not far from Columbine. When I wrote it, I certainly didn't write it for some sort of shock effect or anything like that. It was written because I think it was the most important way to tell that part of the story. I'm a parent and at the time that I was writing it, my wife and I were just starting to talk about sending my child to school. It felt like as I was kind of thinking about Sarah and John and that relationship, a lot of the show is about this woman who've very much a control freak, letting this child go off into the world. For all of us as parents, I think it's a very scary world. For her particularly, it's a very scary world, maybe more so than for the rest of us but not in a quantum leap necessarily. We're re-shooting parts of it and we're really sensitive to people's concerns but I think we'll wait and see what it looks like at the end."

Since John Connor is in high school, and his new protector is hottie Summer Glau, the show can hopefully have fun with his hormonal thoughts. "For me, the important thing about her character as it relates to her age is two things: One, the original Cameron conception that terminators were infiltrators. The original T-800 was never Arnie. It wasn't supposed to be Arnie. Arnie just kind of fit in and made it into something bigger. But he in some ways took it away from the original conception of these characters that could blend in with humanity and destroy it from within more. So one, she comes out of that spirit. Two, as it relates to the mother/son element of the story, I think just in terms of a coming of age story for a boy becoming a man, eventually he has to let go of his mother. Usually that requires a third leverage point and for most boys, that third leverage point is another girl. Whether it's a sexual thing or not, I think just having a third point to the triangle which is sort of a female point really solidifies that triangle in a way. You can see him growing up and those two women battling for influence over him."

Of course the big question is: Is there any chance Arnold himself could appear on the show? In between campaign initiatives of course. "I think you're at the wrong press conference to be asking that question. We've talked a lot about it but the reality is that as governor he's incredibly busy. As a star, he's incredibly expensive. So we have great preference for him but we don't know. We just don't know if he's every going to be able to do any guest [work]."

Okay, we'll take Kyle Reese. Michael Biehn should be available. "Wow, good idea."

The Sarah Connor Chronicles premieres in January on Fox.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox.

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