Why are Terminators so incapable?

I've been watching Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles on Hulu (best legit media site ever!), and I decided I needed to rant (mildly).

Even ignoring the whole problematic issue of time travel (central to the plot)), and the generally poor plot line inherited from the Terminator movies (whatcha gonna do?), the TV episodes inherited another major stupidity from the movies: the completely low-tech Terminator robots. I mean, here you have incredibly advanced AIs capable of emulating humans, however poorly, and yet they have:

  • no distributed intelligence gathering capabilities; imagine how much damage a T-1000 could do with a few remote bugs!
  • no MHC or pheromone detection capabilities; they can't track people (except by blood)
  • no X-ray or infrared version; they're limited to line of sight!
  • incredibly poor aim; sure, guns are inaccurate, but they keep on missing at 10 yard ranges! Heck, a T-1000 with a sniper rifle would be pretty deadly...
  • purely humanoid architecture; 'nuff said.

I think part of what brought this realization to a head today was that I've also been watching Burn Notice (also very entertaining) and in one episode, Michael Weston had this nifty incendiary shotgun round that he used on a car. Heck, that'd do some serious damage to a Terminator, right? if a burned spy can get ahold of such things, surely Sarah Connor in all her infinite capability can do so...

Then there's the other issue -- why do they keep on trying to stop the Terminators with bullets?? They're incredibly ineffective. How about using C4, or phosphorus rounds, or phosphorus mines?!

Ahh well. It's just a TV show. And it has Summer Glau in it. So it's not that bad :)


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