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School Shooting Scene in Terminator TV Pilot To Be Cut

During the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Monday, Josh Friedman — Executive Producer of The Sarah Connor Chronicles — announced that the opening scene of the pilot episode would be rewritten and reshot in the wake of the Virginia Tech Massacre.

The scene in question is embedded above, courtesy of YouTube user camotrooper. The brief synopsis is that John Connor is attacked by a Terminator in his classroom that is posing as his substitute teacher doing a roll call.

For me, it’s no surprise that the scene in question is already so light and relatively pithy. No kids are killed. The only person who is shot is another Terminator. So I guess I’m surprised that they are removing it.

After all, was there ever a time that gunplay in schools wasn’t a sensitive topic? Would this scene have been appropriate a month before VT or Columbine? You see this all the time: producers or directors lay off a certain type of story for a couple years after some big atrocity, then just dig back into it with a vengeance a couple years later. After September 11th, films had to be reshot just to avoid showing the Twin Towers in them. Six years later? I Am Legend features a biochemical plague unleashed upon NYC and the explosion of the Brooklyn Bridge, and J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield features the destruction of the Statue of Liberty.

My feeling is the school shooting scene is fine. It’s tastefully done for what it is, and we expect Terminators to go on bloody rampages. If the producers and directors think that the best way to excite us, to scare us, to horrify us is by setting a rampage in a school, they shouldn’t back down from it just because the front page of America’s newspapers aren’t on their side.

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