Movie Reviews

Netflixs Terminator Animated Series Is The Terminator Project Ive Been Waiting For Since Ever?

Summary

  • Terminator Zero is a Netflix animated show from Production I.G
  • Terminator Zero’s animated format allows for expanded storytelling and visuals exceeding live-action limitations.
  • Compared to recent live-action releases, Terminator Zero’s shift to animation provides a fresh, exciting take on the franchise.



Terminator Zero, Netflix’s animated Terminator show, is the project that I’ve been waiting for since I first watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 travel through time. Having rewatched Terminator 2: Judgment Day countless times, I find it disappointing that there was never another Terminator movie that good again. Terminator 2 received a lot of sequels, from direct follow-ups to prequels to reboots, none of which nailed what made the saga’s first two films so good. With Terminator7’s status unclear, I was starting to lose hope the franchise was ever going to find its food again.

Fortunately, while Terminator’s future on the big screen remains a mystery, the saga is returning in 2024 with a Netflix series. Terminator Zero will be the first Terminator show since The Sarah Connor Chronicles and will take place both in 1997 and 2022. Terminator Zero’s timeline and synopsis suggest it will be tied to Judgment Day, which is widely considered the best Terminator movie. The fact that Production I.G, which is known for series like Haikyuu!! and Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, is behind Terminator Zero makes it even more exciting.



Terminator Zero Is The Terminator Animated Show That Should’ve Happened Already

Terminator and animation always felt like a perfect match

Multiple live-action movies and one short-lived TV show later, I don’t think there is a better way to bring Terminator back than with an anime series. Not only can the serialized format allow Terminator to tell stories the movies never could, but the animation medium means it can do things the live-action projects never did. Terminator is one of the most influential sci-fi franchises of all time, yet it still hasn’t received an animated project. Some of the best sci-fi movies and shows ever are animated after all, including all-time classics like Ghost in the Shell.


For a saga that has been around for almost 40 years, it is surprising that Terminator is only now getting an animated series. It must be noted that Hollywood’s approach to animated movies and shows has changed recently, with streaming platforms allowing for all sorts of stories to be told in animation form. R-rated animated projects are now much more common than they were a few years ago, meaning there is no better time for a Terminator anime to be made. Although Terminator shouldn’t have given up on television after The Sarah Connor Chronicles‘ cancelation, I’m happy that another series is finally happening.

Terminator Zero
releases August 29, 2024.


Why An Animated Show Suits Terminator Perfectly

A Terminator anime can lean on the sci-fi aspect of the franchise

Custom image by Yeider Chacon

Science fiction is a genre that allows stories to go beyond the limitations of the era in which they were crafted, and the same can be said about animation. Whereas live-action movies can only do so much in terms of action and set pieces due to budget and a three-act structure, animated series have virtually unlimited potential when it comes to visuals and stories. Part of the reason why Terminator 2: Judgment Day was so successful was its groundbreaking special effects, but recent Terminator films have played safe in that regard.

There have been some fantastic sci-fi and fantasy animated series recently, particularly from Netflix, most of which took an existing IP and expanded it with original stories.


There has not been a game-changing Terminator release since Judgment Day, after which the franchise almost became a parody of itself. Terminator has relied too much on nostalgia, particularly regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800, a problem that Netflix’s Terminator Zero might not have. The upcoming Terminator anime will follow original characters and tell a brand-new story in a media that the franchise has never explored before – this is exactly what I’ve been wanting Terminator to do for years. Terminator’s first TV project sadly didn’t work, but Terminator Zero is what the franchise needs right now.

Terminator Zero Can Join Other Recent Animated Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hits

Some of the best sci-fi and fantasy shows recently have been animated

Custom image of Jinx from Arcane and Richter Belmont from Castlevania: Nocturne
Custom image by Yailin Chacon


There have been some fantastic sci-fi and fantasy animated series recently, particularly from Netflix, most of which took an existing IP and expanded it with original stories. For example, Arcane, based on League of Legends, told a prequel-ish story that pleased fans of the game while also charming new viewers all over the world. With stunning visuals and a compelling story, Arcane was one of the best TV shows of 2021, yet was not the only great animated video game adaptation released by Netflix. Castlevania, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, and Castlevania: Nocturne are other great examples.

Related

Terminator Animated Series’ Judgment Day Connection Makes The Upcoming Netflix Show Even More Exciting

Netflix’s Terminator Zero has a promising connection to Terminator 2: Judgment Day that makes the upcoming animated series even more exciting.


One of the best anime series of recent years, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners perfectly illustrates how great a Terminator anime can be. Even superhero shows like X-Men ’97 have sparked a discussion on the limitations of the live-action format, limitations that animated productions don’t have to deal with. While I hope Terminator returns to the big screen with a live-action project soon, Terminator Zero sounds more exciting than Terminator 7. Whether the Netflix anime will live up to the expectations remains to be seen, but everything about the project sounds promising.

Terminator

The Terminator franchise, launched by James Cameron in 1984, explores a dystopian future where intelligent machines wage war against humanity. The relentless pursuit of key human figures by time-traveling cyborg assassins known as Terminators is central to the narrative. John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance, is the core target of the malicious machines.

First Film
The Terminator (1984)

Cast
Arnold Schwarzenegger , Linda Hamilton , Michael Biehn , Edward Furlong , Robert Patrick , Nick Stahl , Claire Danes , Christian Bale , Sam Worthington , Jason Clarke , Emilia Clarke , Mackenzie Davis , Natalia Reyes

TV Show(s)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)

Character(s)
The Terminator , Sarah Connor , Kyle Reese , John Connor , T-1000 , Kate Brewster , Marcus Wright , Grace (Terminator) , Dani Ramos

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