TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. 8 p.m. Sunday and 9 p.m. Monday, Channel 29.

MASTERPIECE: PERSUASION. 9 p.m. Sunday, Channel 12.

"Masterpiece Theatre" fans, meanwhile, may be less confused by Gillian Anderson's appearance as host - she did make a splash in the series' popular adaptation of "Bleak House" - than by the loss of "Theatre" from the title.

"Masterpiece," which is also being called "Masterpiece Classic," will continue to feature the period dramas we've come to expect, including "The Complete Jane Austen," which begins Sunday with a new adaptation of "Persuasion."

This summer, we'll get our British detectives back in "Masterpiece Mystery!" and next fall, "Masterpiece Contemporary" will show "dramas set in modern times," according to PBS, whose view of modern times may not jibe with Fox's.

As an Austen maniac whose knowledge of Arnold Schwarzenegger's non-government work is pretty much limited to "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop," I expected to be pushing "Persuasion."

But like Scully, I must have hidden depths. Or shallows.

Because while this particular Austen film didn't wow me, I was kind of jazzed by the estrogen-fueled drama of "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which, when you set aside the robots from the future, is really just a story about a woman (Lena Headey) trying to protect her only son (Thomas Dekker).

And, OK, maybe save the world.

Saving the world is usually Jack Bauer's job, but when the writers strike sidelined "24," Fox decided to give its "Terminator" series the "24" treatment, premiering it over two nights. (On Monday, the second hour will air in the show's regular 9 p.m. time slot.)

"Terminator" fans will know better than I whether Sunday's premiere, which finds Sarah Connor and her son, John, on the run from both the government and those pesky robots, is faithful to the mythology of that particular action franchise.

I just thought there was an awful lot of shooting (some of it takes place in a school, Fox having apparently decided that enough time had elapsed since Virginia Tech).

It was Monday's episode that started to hook me, beginning with the moment that Sarah, or whatever she's calling herself by then, shows a lighter side as she explains to her teenage son, who's someday supposed to save us all, how to uncover the turkey he can't seem to find in the fridge.

Summer Glau ("Firefly"), too, has a little fun as the Connors' cyborg companion - she's the Terminator - trying to fit in with the humans around her.

When she's not shooting them, I mean.

Though no more violent than "24," "Chronicles" has the advantage of taking place in a world that its producers acknowledge isn't real - at least I think they acknowledge that - which somehow makes what happens there a little less upsetting.

Fox has made a big deal out of making sure troops overseas get to see the show, but unlike "24," I doubt anyone in the military will be studying its use of torture.

And for people who never get upset by anything Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) does, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" may be the adrenaline fix they need to keep going until Jack's next very bad day.

Me, I'm not over Austen just yet.

While "Persuasion" suffers badly by comparison with the 1995 film that's probably the best and most faithful big-screen Austen adaptation, it's also one of the hardest of her six completed novels to dramatize, since so much of the drama takes place quietly, in the heart and mind of the regretful Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins).

Simon Burke's screenplay nevertheless weighs some of its characters down with so much exposition, they never get off the ground (though "Buffy the Vampire Slayer's" Anthony Stewart Head is amusingly cast as Anne's peacock of a father).

There's more to come, though, in "The Complete Jane Austen." From now through spring, we'll see three more new adaptations, of "Northanger Abbey," "Mansfield Park" and "Sense and Sensibility," repeats of the wildly popular "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and the "Emma" film with Kate Beckinsale, as well as a Feb. 3 biographical film, "Miss Austen Regrets," that appears to be a bit more rooted in Austen's reality than the recent feature, "Becoming Jane."

I'll be back. *

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