The San Diego Chronicles, Part 1: Josh Friedman Interview
Following the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles panel
at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego (where some
spoilers were revealed to a
packed crowd!), many members of the cast and crew took some time
to speak with the press.
We'll be rolling out the interviews within this coming week, but
first we'll sit down with executive producer Josh Friedman, who
will share with us a little about what to expect from Season Two.
Be warned, some spoilers may follow.
Friedman began the junket by discussing a revelation that came
out at the convention's panel, which was held preceding the Q&A.
"I think one thing that we revealed at the panel that was quite
shocking to the panel was that one of the people on the panel was
going to die this season, and then since they don't know which one,
it was a little unnerving for them, and they seemed distracted for
the rest of the day," Friedman teases. He wouldn't reveal who
would be on the way out, however. "You could narrow it down
a little bit, but why do that? Lena, literally, was like 'I'll show
up on time, I promise!'," he laughs.
Although the second season doesn't have the challenge of the writers'
strike, other challenges of production are a bit more difficult
in Season Two - even though the show will have a higher budget.
"Ironically, we were given more money this year than we had
last year, so we decided that we needed to make an even bigger show
than we made last year. It's quite challenging. We're doing a lot
more days on location; bigger stunts, and car chases, stuff like
that we did some of last year, but there were certainly episodes
that were smaller, and this year, there are episodes that are quite
large. It's interesting," he says, also revealing that there
will be some really big stunts, including a car flip in the season
Being on a network like FOX, which has cancelled many genre shows
before they really would get a chance, provides no concern for Friedman.
"It's a different group," Friedman says. "Kevin Reilly
[and crew] were not there when the Firefly thing went down."
Friedman seems happy with the show's placement on the FOX network.
"What I like about FOX is that they are a more disruptive network
in terms of their taste. They will do things in order to make noise,"
he says. "A lot of the other networks, they want people to
watch their show, but maybe they're a little more polite about it,
and I think FOX will embrace the things that we need to have on
our show. No one ever says, is that a little too dark, or is that
a little violent, or is that too edgy, or whatever. The Terminator
franchise needs to live out on that edge, and I think that's
FOX's reputation. I think that they're the closest to cable in some
ways, in terms of what they're willing to push."
Another concern or question about The Sarah Connor Chronicles
is whether or not Season 2 will have self-contained episodes or
if it will have an ongoing storyline. "I'm not a big fan of
standalone storytelling. I think the best science fiction is inherently
serialized and I am a serialized storyteller. It's what I like.
I really only want to be doing serialized television," Friedman
reveals. "I think that what we found last year is that there
were people that were trying to access the show some episodes in,
and they were frustrated by that. I felt like I was trying to tell
some very complicated stories and do a very seralized version of
those complicated stories, and I wasn't allowing for any standalone
elements. There were very few access points for people, if they
missed a few episodes." However, Friedman would like to make
the show accessible for new viewers. "I would love for somebody
to be able to jump in on episode 2 or 3 and at least have an experience
where they understood 70 percent of it. It's never going to be CSI
or Law & Order; it's always going to be seralized.
It's a saga, and it'll never not be serialized. It will never be
'Terminator of the Week'," he says.
However, a story device in Season 2 will help stories along. "There
is something that happens in the first couple of episodes, where
they discover something that allows them to have a particular engine
to go on missions, so that there are missions, but they're also
sort of tied in to the larger mythology. There is a little teaser
in the [season 2 preview] clip that if you saw something and froze
it, that perhaps it would indicate how they might go on missions
and have standalone episodes, but it's going to go. I get bored."
Changes are in store for John Connor as the show approaches its
second season. "He's got a tougher haircut, for example. I
hated Thomas's hair last year. He used to come to me on the set,
and I'd be looking at him and all I'd be doing is looking up at
his hair, and he was like 'You hate my hair?' And I go, 'Yeah I
do! Let's shave it off!' We couldn't, because we were shooting a
lot of episodes out of order, so we were stuck in this weird continuity
loop, so I couldn't change his look, because we were shooting Episode
4, but it was airing episode 8, or whatever. It was a mess. But
we always talked about it. And then this year, I had an idea for
the first episode that involved some significant changes between
John and Sarah, and that sort of propelled them forward, and then
as it happened, he did a movie within the break where he had to
shave his head," Friedman reveals. He has nothing but good
things to say about Thomas Dekker, the young actor who plays John.
"Thomas is one of the smartest actors I know, and he's very,
very brave, and he's very aware of the franchise," he says.
As far as John's interaction with Derek Reese, played by new series
regular Brian Austin Green, Friedman reveals that Derek and John
don't always have the same agenda. "Part of what Thomas and
I have talked about is [that] John is getting kind of tougher and
he's coming into his own, [but] it doesn't necessarily mean he's
becoming more mature all the time. He can make a lot of poor choices,
and I think that he's still a kid." Fans looking for interaction
between Derek and John shouldn't have to wait for very long. "There's
one episode we've already shot that's entirely a Derek and John
episode, in terms of the big story, and you get to see a lot of
the contrasts in terms of how they approach things. He's not where
he needs to be yet, and he hasn't seen what Derek has seen, so I
think that there's still a lot of interplay that still needs to
Season Two will also bring a love interest for John, played by
Leven Rambin of All My Children fame. The introduction of
the character, Riley, will bring forth some conflict between John
and Sarah. "In a mother-son relationship, there's always another
woman involved," Friedman says. "Last year, that other
woman was Cameron; this character Riley serves that purpose. I also
think that she'll serve the purpose in challenging the bonds that
are between John and Cameron."
When asked if Cameron would possibly be jealous of the John and
Riley relationship, Friedman reveals that it is in her program to
at least be affected by it strategically. "In the way that
she thinks it's not in the best interest of the future, that John
be away from her, then yeah. Absolutely," he says.
Expect more conflict between John and Sarah as the second season
continues, as well. "One of the big things I've done with Sarah
is take John away from her, sort of, as a dependable son. I think
that last year, that character could really take for granted his
love and his approval, and I think one of the things when you're
writing these things, is that you want to try to find challenges
for the character. What is the most valuable thing to her? Well,
John Connor is the most valuable thing to her. He's not going to
die, but that doesn't mean their relationship can't die. No one
has ever said in the franchise that at the end of the day they didn't
go separate ways strategically. You have to examine it and you have
to try to find things to do with [the relationship], because that's
the stuff that I'm interested in, so you have to challenge it. Lena,
as an actress, loves to run around and kick ass. Put a gun in her
hands and let her get punched or punch somebody, and she's the happiest
girl around, but she also really loves the real nitty-gritty emotional
stuff. She really loves digging into that kind of stuff, and I think
she's so good at it, and she's so intense," Friedman says.
Season Two of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles comes
at a time when a new Terminator film, Terminator: Salvation,
is on the way. Friedman says that this does not add pressure to
his work. "I don't feel the pressure because I'm ignorant,
I guess," Friedman says. McG and I have talked a few times,
but I've never read the script for it; James Middleton who is one
of our other EP's is one of the people who developed the script,
but I've never asked him what happens in it, and I don't really
wnat to know. McG and I have just sort of decided that it was best
if I did my thing and he did his thing. But, you know, it's a 200
million dollar movie. Their trailers cost as much as our shows do.
But, I mean, we've done a lot of hours now on the show, and I feel
like what TV does bet is character. At the end of the day, that's
what we do best." However, Friedman does seem optimistic that
both projects can co-exist. "I hope that the two of them actually
help each other. There's no problem," he says.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns in September
Read more coverage from Comic Con '08: Thomas
Dekker & Summer Glau
Season 2 Image
Gallery - Spoilers
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