Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Exciting sci-fi saga has fewer chases, more drama.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Sarah Connor and her son, John, are fighting to prevent a future apocalypse that nobody else really believes will happen, and they're willing to break the law to accomplish their ends if necessary. Those ends could include murdering people to prevent them from inventing dangerous machines, stealing to support their guerilla efforts, or robbing a bank. The Connors are fugitives, forced to live underground using fake identities and fake papers and often must lie to the authorities who think their wild tales of unstoppable machines are simply symptoms of mental illness. The show features two strong female characters.


The Terminators are plenty tough, and it gets pretty rough when two machines go at it. Expect some serious brawling, shown in explicit detail -- though, since they're indestructible, there isn't much gore. When humans take on the Terminators, expect lots of big explosions as they try bigger and bigger guns, usually with little effect -- and sometimes followed by the unnerving sight of a robotic skeleton rising from the wreckage of a blast that seems like it could have destroyed anything. When a Terminator has the upper hand, it's ruthless and aggressive, killing quickly and efficiently, and leaving corpses in its wake, sometimes in a bloody mess. Some of the robots' wounds appear bloody temporarily, but they don't feel pain.


No sex, but teen John Connor certainly seems to have some chemistry with his attractive robotic protector, Cameron (and she shows a little bit of cyborg skin, but nothing sensitive). Characters sometimes travel through time and must be completely naked for the trip, but there's no explicit nudity.


Includes words like "hell," "crap," "whore," and "bitch."


Part of the successful Terminator movie franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some background/social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles picks up right where the first two Terminator movies left off, centering on the never-ending conflict between Sarah Connor and her son and the indestructible robotic assassins that want to kill them. There's plenty of action, including car chases, explosions, fistfights, and gunfights. But it's not just mindless violence; because the show focuses on Sarah's efforts to protect her son at all costs (so he can grow up to lead the human resistance), it has a strong narrative framework to support all the smash-'em-up scenes. Plus, with her take-no-prisoners attitude, Sarah is one of Hollywood's most interesting female characters; here, she's joined by Cameron, a tough female terminator. By contrast, teenage John is still unformed, and, though earnest, he can also be rash and immature. This series, as the name says, is all about the women.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 12, 13, and 18+-year-old Written byTiffanyKWM October 5, 2010

Okay if you're watching with your teen

My thirteen year old daughter began tuning into this old series after watching an episode with her dad. I watched a few prior to letting her continue to view t... Continue reading
Parent of a 1, 4, 7, 11, 16, and 18+-year-old Written bypopcornpop1997 March 13, 2009

BEST SHOW EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this show is the best show in the history of shows! great for preteens and up! MY FAVORITE SHOW EVER!
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Terminator show is more drama, less action...

I started watching this show expecting nothing less than a bunch of random, cool-looking violence. Just like in the Terminator movies. But what I found was an... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byzhenisawesome March 18, 2016


My kid liked this a lot. not a lot of blood. It is about as bloody as ncis.

What's the story?

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES picks up the Terminator story a few years after the events of the second movie. In the show, Sarah (Lena Headey) and her now-teenage son John (Thomas Dekker) are on the run from both the authorities -- who think the Connors are responsible for several deaths -- and from the Terminators, which have never stopped hunting them. With the help of Cameron, a Terminator sent back by the future John to protect them, they decide to stop running to prevent the creation of Skynet, which launched the war on mankind in the first place.

Is it any good?

One of the most fascinating mysteries of the Terminator stories has always been how Sarah Connor raised son John, who is destined to lead the human resistance in the future after humanity loses its war with the murderous machines. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fills in that gap, showing how she taught him the skills necessary to fight back and win against a seemingly unbeatable enemy. This chapter of the Connors' life is much better fodder for a TV series than a simple rehash of the films' standard chase format would have been -- the result is smart, nuanced, and very satisfying.

That said, this is a Terminator show, so there's still plenty of action and excitement. Cameron (yes, her moniker is a shout-out to James Cameron, who created the franchise) regularly ends up duking it out with her robotic counterparts. The interactions between Sarah and Cameron (Firefly's Summer Glau) are especially fun; these two powerful women dominate the show. By contrast, John is young and unformed, and though he's the focus of the storyline, he's the least interesting part of the show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the media's fascination with time travel. What other movies and TV shows can you think of that revolve around time travel? How is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles similar or different?

  • This series takes place after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Why do you think the show's producers have chosen to ignore the events that occurred in the third film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines? Does it help the series better fit into the overall Terminator storyline?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi action

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