Reporters, including your very own TV Addict [purple tshirt, sunglasses] on the set of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. Josh Friedman front row, left [wearing a lovely all blue ensemble]
You just found out your show’s been officially picked up for a second season. TERMINATOR THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES showrunner Josh Friedman, what are you going to do next?
Okay, so spending forty-five minutes trying to fend off spoiler hungry reporters isn’t quite a trip to Disney Land. But nonetheless, executive producer Josh Friedman was in good spirits earlier this afternoon and was more than happy to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to a group of reporters about the continuing adventures of Sarah Connor and Co.
Did the show’s budget give FOX pause when thinking about green-lighting a second season?
No, I don’t think the budget gave FOX pause at all. I think people think we’re spending a lot more money than we are [TV Addict note, I think he's talking to you Mr. Ausiello]. The production team is incredibly responsible and have remained within the parameters Warner and Fox have given us. If the show looks big, it’s just because we’re all doing our job so well!
So what you’re saying is no underwater Terminator this season?
[Laughs] While I do believe heavily in underwater Terminators, someone’s going to have to write me a big cheque to make that happen! Thinking about the buoyancy of Terminators, how they propel themselves, do they sink? Swim? It’s a weird hobby/infatuation of mine.
Looking back on the first season, can you name one aspect of the show that really worked, and one aspect that you’d like to see improved heading into season two.
This is kind of generic, but I love our cast. When casting a series you never know what you’re going to get. But they really did what they needed to do. In terms of things that could be improved, I want to write a show that is complicated and sophisticated and subtle — everyone does, I guess — but I tried to write something that was very serialized and there were some points where the storytelling was a little muddy where I think we could do a better job.
How does the condensed first season [courtesy of the WGA Strike] affect the second season’s story-line?
Initially we had a plan for the whole first season. But in coming back, a lot of the discussion has revolved around what we’re going to carry over from season one and what we have to prioritize in terms of important story. [TV Addict Note: When I asked Josh about the mystery surrounding the high school student's suicide, he said that at least in the short-term, the story will not be re-addressed. And that while he was a fan of the story himself, most of it ended up on the cutting room floor due to episodic time constraints.]
Along with today’s pick-up announcement, it was also announced that Brian Austin Green is joining the cast as a series regular, what other changes might fans expect in season two?
We’re getting rid of Summer Glau [Editor's Note: That noise you heard, the TV Addict fainting]. Just kidding. In case anyone’s worried that we blew her up [in the first season finale], she’s coming back. In full force.
Can you talk a little bit about the success of Brian Austin Green’s character Derek Reese.
I had hopes that Brian’s character would work, but I also knew in terms of expanding the mythology it was somewhat of a risky step. Thankfully, people really responded to Brian’s portrayal of Derek and we’ve got some really interesting things planned for season two. One of the ironies is that because of Brian’s success on the show, all of a sudden everyone wants to hire him. So we really had to make sure we signed a deal so he couldn’t escape ‘Terminator Land.’
Since we all know what a big fan of spoilers you are [Note sarcasm], what can you spill about season two.
I’m not going to give you any spoilers because I never do. But the show is about the family and everything that concerns the family concerns us. Last year John was still in denial and didn’t want the problems of being a hero. This season will be his coming of age year. John will grow up and what will be interesting is that as the boy grows into a man, the less he’ll needs his mother. Sara’s ex will also be back. As will Agent Ellison. And I think it’s fair to say that Agent Ellison has seen some things that will make him re-consider everything he’s known before. He’ll be much less of a doubting thomas.
Will Michael Biehn be back?
I know fans like it, but I’m not a big fan of cameos. We’ve worked really hard to have Lena be Lena and not Linda Hamilton. When you bring characters over from the movies it becomes this weird ‘Where’s Waldo’ You want to have a world that’s self-contained and real. I find it distracting, although I love Michael Biehn.
Will the show be upping the action quotient in its second season?
We’ll definitely be incorporating more action this season. I think one of the big discussions between the Network and Studio revolved around the levels of action versus drama versus special effects. And I think everyone is excited to try and do a bit more of everything.
Will we be seeing more of the Future War?
I had plans to do a number of Future War episodes [in the first season], but they are the most expensive episodes we do, and the most time consuming. The hard part is the CGI. It not only costs a lot of money, but it takes post-production time. It’s hard to turn those things around. That said, I’m hoping to do more. I love the future.
Hoping to catch up on the first season before the launch of season two in September? Why not check out the series on iTunes, or look for the DVD on shelves this August. According to Friedman, the set will include commentaries for the pilot, the season finale, and the episode that focused on Future War. In addition to some mini-documentaries as well as other features.