Terminator Genisys came out last week, to some not-so-stellar reviews. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads like the report card of a once-achieving student who peaked too soon and now is on the verge of dropping out:

Terminator: Genisys is a lurching retread that lacks the thematic depth, conceptual intelligence, or visual thrills that launched this once-mighty franchise.”

Ouch. ‘Lurching’ is not often a word that is used positively.

It’s a shame really, because the Terminator franchise still has so much potential, as anybody who has seen The Sarah Connor Chronicles can attest to.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, AKA TSCC (as there is no way I am writing out Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles over and over again), is a television series which ran for two seasons between 2008 and 2009.

It follows on from the events of T2 (scrapping that bloody awful Rise of the Machines) and sees John and Sarah Connor leave 1999 for 2007, with the help of their new cyborg friend from the future, Cameron, after Skynet learns about their whereabouts. From this point on, we watch as they fight for the future, while also trying to get by with everyday life.

The show was brilliant, and as is often the case these days, a ratings disappointment.

What made TSCC so brilliant was its exploration of its characters and their lives.

John Connor (Thomas Dekker) is well and truly a teenager now, and with all those hormones running around, he just wants stability; a father, a girlfriend – a normal life. Sarah Connor (Lena Heady) is of course a badass who will do anything to bring down Skynet and protect her son, but we also see the toll this takes on her and her relationship with John. Then there is Cameron (Summer Glau). Cameron is probably the most interesting character of them all; she is just a little bit off, definitely a robot, but also slightly human in many ways.

The portrayal of these characters makes for compelling viewing.

One of the things I love about television is its episodic nature and how it allows for a story to be told and for characters to be explored in a time-frame that better represents life. This really works for the Terminator story.

In TSCC, we see Sarah and John struggle in their everyday with their burden and the accompanying challenges that are constantly thrust upon them, and we see how they respond and change accordingly. Film doesn’t allow for this ongoing exploration of character, which is one reason why TSCC is so good.

Of course, character development is all well and good, but one of the things that makes the Terminator movies great is all that sci-fi action.

Never fear, there is plenty of that to behold in TSCC.

While I am more partial to the slower episodes, there are plenty of pretty impressive action sequences and some great special effects too (and not just by television standards – which are pretty high these days anyway).

Ultimately, it was the smart and thought-provoking portrayal of life for the Connors that deserved more attention than it ever received, which is why it is a shame Terminator Genisys doesn’t appear to be living up to its television predecessor’s standards.

So if you see Genisys and feel a little let down, track down The Sarah Connor Chronicles and have your faith in the franchise restored.