Josh Friedman and Brian Austin Green Talk the Future with Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
The showrunner and co-star of the hit series give us the goods on the season finale and beyond
The two-hour season finale of the hit Fox program Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will air on Monday March 3 at 8 PM ET. I was in on a conference call today with series creator Josh Friedman and actor Brian Austin Green, who portrays Derek Reese on the show. Here's what they had to say about the show, the series finale and the future of this series.
Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming season finale, without giving too much away?
Brian Austin Green: Oh boy. Josh?
Josh Friedman: I'll just say there's a lot of chickens and a lot of roosting.
Brian Austin Green: It's funny. I was online last night, going through some of the chats, just to see what people were talking about, and this is one of those shows, unfortunately, I mean it's unfortunate for me in the sense that whenever I do an interview, if you give any little bit of anything, that people will talk enough about it that they'll start to figure out what's going on. It's a very fine line of what you can and can't talk about.
Josh Friedman: Yeah, I'm kinda with Brian. I'm a facist about spoilers. I'm the biggest pain in the ass to the marketing and promotions department. I think they were very happy that I was on strike for 14 weeks. Since I've gotten back, I get these little emails saying, 'Can we show them this?' and I say, 'No!' If I had my way, the commercials would be 30 seconds of black with the words 'Sarah Connor' on them.
Brian Austin Green: I actually did a talk show one night, and the only clip we could get of me on the show, because I hadn't premiered on it yet, was the teaser from the episode before, so it was like, 'Next week on the Sarah Connor Chronicles' and it showed me running and fighting, everything that everyone else had already seen. We couldn't get anymore footage than that, and I knew at the end of it all that was Josh's doing.
In the past, people assumed that it was very difficult to make time travel jumps, that's why in the past we would have limited instances of it. In the series, it almost seems like there's a time-travel highway going back and forth. How do you keep that highway in check?
Brian Austin Green: (Laughs) Didn't we just talk about this, Josh?
Josh Friedman: I try not to overdo the time travel to much. I think about it all the time. I've been in the writers room and there's times where we've all been like a pinball machine and tilted because we can't wrap our brain around what we wanna do. I think that I have a pretty specific idea as to what the rules of our universe are, and I try not to violate them.
Brian Austin Green: I don't think you've abused the time travel thing at all. You've had the opportunities. We've had the conversation about the possibility of bringing Kyle Reese onto the show instead of Derek, but then within that was the whole concept of, you know, at what point are people actually dead, and at what point do we have to realize that a character is gone. It's a weird, confusing line. I don't know how specific you can really get with any of it, because, at the end of the day, it's something that's completely non-existant at this point, so who knows how one thing can overlap into another, and how one decision can affect another. It'll probably be an argument we'll be having until the end of time.
Brian, do you know of any plans to keep you going in the second season, if there is one?
Brian Austin Green: That's a question for Josh. I have no idea.
Josh Friedman: All I'll say is that I think Brian's doing an awesome job. I think he's brought even more to the series than even I imagined he would, so I'm really happy.
Brian Austin Green: I can carry heavy things. I think that's what...
Josh Friedman: He means furniture. He's like a grip.
Brian Austin Green: I'm really helpful with cleaning days, and stuff like that.
Josh Friedman: That's how he got on 90210. At some point he was just walking around carrying Shannon Doherty's gondola.
Brian Austin Green: (Laughs) That should be Episode 1 of Season 2. I'm just in the house with an apron on, lifting furniture and just cleaning underneath things... because I'm strong enough to do it. That'd be awesome.
Brian, what's it like to be in a scene with an actress that really is a machine and can't react to you the way a normal actor would be able to react to you?
Brian Austin Green: It's fantastic for this job. Summer (Glau) is so good at completely staying in those moments, and I think it's that oddity that creates that tension and excitement in those scenes. You do scenes all day long with people that react, and when you have someone that just sits there and blankly stares at you, they almost become these staring competitions, and Summer and I will sort of laugh by the end of them, if we haven't made it all the way through. It's an interesting relationship between the two of them. They've both known each other a long time, and there's a lot of tension with it.
In the last episode, with Summer doing ballet, are we heading to a point where the Terminator's are going to be more like Cylons, and are going to have more emotional stuff going on? Because it seemed like there was a hint of that.
Josh Friedman: First of all, I would argue, with all due respect to (Battlestar Galactica executive producer) Ron Moore, that Cylon's have wanted to be like Terminator's for many years. Probably all of them wanted to be like Blade Runner. She's a more advanced model, and she has more ability to, at least, mimic emotions and do some things. I think that whenever you have a form of cyborg, android, whatever, there's always a temptation by the writers to start exploring that humanly thing, how far it goes and what our limitations are. It's something that I'm still exploring. It's interesting because I think there are two groups of people who watch these shows. There are the real sci-fi people who watch these shows, and then there's everybody else. The everybody else, has probably never seen Battlestar Galactica, so they're all fascinated by it. Then there are the people who've seen every episode of Star Trek and you sort of have a responsibility, on one hand, to explore in the ways in which it most obviously occurs, and to the people who've seen these things before, which includes me, you want to keep those people interested, so you want to explore it in ways that people haven't seen it before. It's a delicate balance. We're only nine episodes in. Everyone has a different idea as to what Summer should be doing, or where Cameron's actions should be, or is she feeling emotion or is she pretending to feel emotion? Do you eventually feel? How is that possible? It's something that we talk about a lot. We're working through it. When I was writing this show, I would not watch Battlestar Galactica. Honestly, I had to avoid Battlestar Galactica for a year because I couldn't handle... they do those things so well, and I really wanted to go off on my own and not think about it.
There's been some talk about Season 2. Have you officially been renewed for Season 2 yet?
Josh Friedman: No.
Are you expecting an announcement on that anytime soon?
Josh Friedman: I hope so. The ritual for most first-year shows is to come back into the network and tell them what Season 2 is. Things are a little weird this year because of the strike. We sort of have to readjust what our Season 2 plans are. We'll go into the network and we'll do a post-game on Season 1, and we'll talk about Season 2, and they'll make their decision. Fox, I don't think, has made a decision on any shows yet. I still expect an answer pretty soon, because we need to start writing.
You said that Episode 10 might not be a good start for Season 2. Are you still planning on integrating the last three episodes from this season, that you never got to make, into the second season somehow?
Josh Friedman: Well, that's what I've been sitting around thinking about. I can't tell you what Episode 10 is, but Episode 10 was a fantastic Episode 10, and a absolutely horrible season premiere for Season 2. It is heartbreaking for me. I really really wanted to do Episode 10. It was one of my favorite ideas, and I can't do it. I really can't do it, because it would be just a terrible season premiere.
Brian Austin Green: It was a really cool episode, though.
Josh Friedman: Yeah, but it's not doable. It's some re-jiggering, but there are some ideas and beats from those episodes that we had planned and hadn't filmed, that will definitely be making their way in. It's also nice to have a little perspective on the show. When we were working on Episode 10, 11, 12 and 13, we had yet to air Episode 1. It's nice to actually now see the show, and sort of reeducate yourself on your own show, what works and what doesn't work. It gives you a second chance to look at it.
If you do get renewed, will it be a half-season as well, or will you go a full 24 or 22-episode season?
Josh Friedman: Again, that's up to Fox. I don't know. I mean, last year I had 22 planned, and we switched to 13 and we did nine. When I sit down and plan a season out, until someone tells me otherwise, I plan for 22. If it's not going to be 22, I'll make adjustments. I've had ideas for probably the first three or four years. I have arcs for them, so sometimes it's just a matter of moving things up, or moving things back, or seeing where it goes.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles's two-hour season finale will air on Monday, March 3 at 8 PM ET on Fox.