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|Index||57 reviews in total|
Interesting way to release this new series - webisodes every couple of
weeks that are about 15 minutes long. Put them all together and you
potentially have a pilot of just over two hours.
For Amanda Tapping, this is a good move - she's not Sam Carter anymore, playing the enigmatic and potentially very sexy Helen Magnus, aided by her slightly stereotypical teen-angst-ed daughter Ashley, some gentle-monster beast and a newly inducted fish out of water type, Will.
The concept is nice, 'Sanctuary for all' - being 'all' are non-humans, (but it does come across that they're all sort of imprisoned anyway). There's a sort of 'Gothic Buffy' feel about the scenario and the circumstances, but minus the classic Whedon Buffy humour.
The production values aren't superior and it's obviously CGI, there are some sub-par blue/green screens going on in places...but you can forgive this for a decent enough premise and storyline. Knowing that this hasn't been funded by a studio and Tapping herself is an executive producer, one should actually give the production some credit.
Tapping is fairly good in this role - we see her move out of the clever and cute Samantha Carter and flex her acting muscles somewhat in the portrayal of an 18th century English woman. Her accent isn't flawless, but you can forgive this - I'm sure it would be explained away that Magnus has been living in the USA for some time. There is no explanation as to why she's in the USA - or if she even is in the USA - the location is not revealed, but one assumes it's in North America.
Other actors put in decent enough performances, but there's nothing outstanding. Character wise the weak link here is the character of Ashley. Far too stereotypical, hard and cold. One supposes that she is in some way meant to contrast her mother, but we've seen characters like this far too many times before...she needs some depth.
This will be compared to Buffy - the characters aren't immediately associated with the former series - but it's there in the design of the monsters - the characters are also somewhat similar - the blonde fighting machine(Ashley/Buffy), the clever researcher (Magnus/Will/Giles) and monsters that work for the 'good guys'.
This 'pilot' doesn't go that far and we need a whole season of this to make a judgement call really. Based on this pilot though, I am intrigued and would like to see more.
What else can a Sci Fi fan ask for? This show has the potential to be
one of the best original shows on SciFi channel. I can't wait for the
new episodes to start.
I especially enjoy the acting. Amanda Tapping, Christopher Heyerdahl, and Robin Dunne give great performances. I wouldn't be surprised if they were nominated for several acting awards.
Some of the episodes standout more than the others. "Edward", "The Five", "Requiem", and "Revelations" are episodes that capture the soul of the series. The stories are compelling. Besides being well planned and acted, these episodes give important background and pushed the story arch further.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just to get this out of the way, "Sanctuary" is one of the best-looking
shows on television; the strange, unique blend of science fiction,
horror, and fantasy really add to the overall strangeness and beauty of
the lush CGI, comic book-style visuals. In fact, "Sanctuary" does seem
like a weird, live-action hybrid combining elements of horror and
sci-fi comics, plus, as a few other viewers mentioned, "The X-Files"
and "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and maybe even the "Underworld" films.
Of course, after watching the season premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel, I'm convinced that I might tune in next week for the second episode, just to see if my suspicions are correct in that the Sci-Fi Channel does have an ounce of credibility left when it comes to halfway decent entertainment.
"Sanctuary" is set in some large, perpetually dark would-be Gotham City, where Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) is a criminal profiler investigating a mysterious triple homicide in an apartment building. Using his skillful intuition, he suspects that something is amiss right away, that whatever killed these three people was not human. It turns out that his suspicions are correct: the killer, a 10-year-old Russian boy with a hideous snake-like appendage, had been adopted by the family and attacked them when he felt threatened.
Zimmerman is then recruited by Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and her mercenary daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) to come work with them at the "Sanctuary," a place that houses all manner of "ab-normals" (people and creatures that are the stuff of folklore, nightmares, and stories that were made up to scare little kids). As it turns out, many of these creatures have lived alongside us for years, with much of the human population not even aware of their existence, and any data that can be mined from them can possibly hold the key to mankind's future evolution, or destruction. Most of the ab-normals are benign, but there are a few out there that would like to use their abilities for destructive purposes.
"Sanctuary" does have the potential to be a rather entertaining piece of weekly viewing on the Sci-Fi Channel. I found it to be rather dark and gripping comic book-style entertainment, although I think the story and writing could use some polishing.
I'll just have to make sure that if I decide to turn in next week, that "Sanctuary" lives up to be the unique piece of strange Sci-Fi Channel programming it promises.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I won't harp on too much but the scripting needs a lot of work to make
this stand the tests of time. There are annoying sequences where a
DEADLY boss "who will kill them all" talks at length at gun
point...when, really, our hero should of just of pulled the trigger and
been done with him. What this does is contradict the premise of the
show - that these are a group of hotshot experts catching monsters and
that they know how to deal with them. US obsession with the English
accent also does this no favours as it makes it a little to much of a
production island, when we in the UK for example just see it as bland
The annoying daughter character is hard to care about, some of the monsters are just silly and there are weak computer graphics throughout - especially on the mermaid. This is a pass - Im afraid. Duff Buffy meets medicine woman.
This show hearkens back to a few of the shows from the 90s like
"Poltergeist: The Legacy" and even the first six seasons of "The
The potential for future story lines is very good, and the acting is decent too, specifically by Amanda Tapping. While her Helen Magnus character retains a little bit of the scientist heart of her Stargate character, there's a much more mysterious and darker side to Magnus. In fact, Magnus is what Samantha Carter could have been in another time and place. It's a refreshing change. The other principles do an okay job. Emilie Ullerup's character starts out as a little too Buffy The Vampire Slayer-ish, with too much of a cautious-less teenage attitude at the beginning -- her character was established as being over 18, which doesn't jive with how she's portrayed -- but she showed a little more maturity at the end of the pilot. Having seen Ullerup in a bit part in Battlestar Galactica, she's more than capable of pushing her character to more grittier areas, which would provide a nice counterpoint to the other characters. Robin Dunne reminds me a little too much of Daniel Radcliffe. I'm half-expecting him to start reciting Hogwart incantations. At the end of the pilot, his character still seems to be a bit 2 dimensional.
The special effects were quite good for work that was done in front of a green screen. But ... I thought that the pilot episode suffered in one particular area: pacing. I'm not sure if it has to do with the editing or directing, or both, but the two hour premiere could have almost been cut down to an hour and a half. Some of the cuts were too slow, lingering on exposition scenes. Tighter pacing and quicker cuts would have made the pilot episode a lot better.
Minor nitpicking... There are two things I wish they would have taken care of. The first was the scene in the train tunnels where Ullerup's character was following the boy. Honestly, if I was wandering through a train tunnel, I'd immediately realize that someone was following me, especially someone with a flashlight. And also, it's kinda weird that two folks could just slip by a crime scene in the same tunnel without even being noticed. (Unless, of course, they used some Jedi mind tricks...) The second was the little side story regarding the police's prime suspect to the murders. For me, this was unresolved and I would have liked to have a resolution to it. I found it disappointing that the main characters would actually let an innocent man take the fall for something that was done by some of the "monsters". Perhaps this was part of the original script? I don't know, but it's unresolved. And considering the task that the main characters are facing, you'd think they'd at least have some sort of moral compass.
Overall, the show has a nice concept, but could benefit from better editing and directing. I'm going to keep watching the show for a few more episodes before I decide if I'm going to be watching this show after Stargate Atlantis.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found the first few episodes a bit silly, and watched them only for
good ol' Amanda Tapping, because I wanted to see how she's doing after
the deep hole of Stargate cancellation, after I saw her a few seconds
in Stargate Universe.
Luckily she found a good new home. As she is involved as a producer, we can hope that she will do everything to prevent early cancellation.
The show itself, as I said, did not quite satisfy me in the beginning, but after say, four episodes, I got used to it. There are some enhancements, and some positive surprises. The biggest surprise is Christopher Heyerdahl, who plays the bad guy, turning into the good guy, and also the monster butler bigfoot. He is in all positions very convincing and obviously a good actor. We can see which potential he had as the Wraith Todd in Stargate Atlantis. Everyone who casted him here had a very good idea.
I must admit, that a big part of the show is simply childish, but it is made with much love and effort, and it is professional, fast and thrilling, given that the viewer will adapt to the completely impossible, not to say stupid, plot. It was interesting for me, seeing myself accepting all those monsters and vampires for watching a good ensemble. What I also felt is that here the people try to pass their enjoyment for doing their job to the audience. Production values seem not so high, but I never had any cheap impression.
Amanda Tapping is not that big Actor, but she has charisma, and she is holding the family together. Again, she is the good and honorable guy, here with some secrets behind, which aren't too ugly to blame her. I think, she could need a couple of real sins, maybe they will come up later in the show.
For now, I can recommend the show to everyone who likes solid acting, nice monsters and (mostly) sympathetic characters, all brought together with English manor atmosphere and sets, kindly broken by welcomed exceptions, like the humorous (but bloody) episode 10 of season two, where we meet one beautiful cylon from Battlestar Galactica. However, you must be generous, because the script writers aren't masters of quality control here.
After season two, ep. 07, and I had to lower my voting, because the spirit of the new is unfortunately gone. After the victory in the war against the Cabal, who attacked mostly ridiculous and silly, the authors and the characters have obviously a lack of ideas what to do. Routine has come to the team, and they became a little lazy. Tesla and John Druitt both disappeared with no further explanations, I don't like such unfilled holes, especially if they are essential. I hope they will do better in the future, otherwise they will not have one bright. Now, after ep. 10, there was finally the return of Tesla, which raised the fun immediately, esp. after a number of really boring and silly episodes. The episode with former SG-1 Tapping's Co-worker Michael Shanks was (for me) the worst.
I too am a Stargate buff & like Amanda Tapping. It is my opinion that the show is worth the watch. On watching the first episode I liked what I saw, then after a few I didn't so much. However, my son had continued to watch it & told me not to give up on it just yet. So I went back to it & got pleasantly surprised. Some episodes were as good as full length movies. I particularly liked Jonathon young's character, Nikola Tesla:) Amanda played an extremely believable lady from England & I thought her accent was just great. It was a complete transformation from Samantha Carter of SG1. This character was a more domineering in control person who knew what she wanted and how to get it. The settings & special effects were pretty darn good I thought. It seemed a fair amount of thought and time went into these areas. Like all TV shows there is going to be an episode or three that doesn't appeal or seems to loose focus to the individual. However, overall I felt good about watching the show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've just finished watching the 2 episode pilot for the TV series of
Sanctuary. I really wanted to like Sanctuary. a good premise and a
reliable actress well able to carry off the lead role. Even the
supporting cast are good.. and the atmosphere was great. Yes I Had high
hopes. As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy over many years I am familiar
with the suspension of disbelief required to immerse one's self into a
created universe. Unfortunately the writing left me wondering exactly
how much disbelief I was expected to suspend. The show is marketed for
all ages but is so simple in its execution that its prime audience must
be young adults.
The situation, atmosphere and flaws are very similar to the English Torchwood TV show. ie clandestine organisation operating outside the law responsible for dealing with bizarre beings/artifacts/events. So what was wrong with the writing? This is where it went south for me..
Magnus knows of a severe security threat to Sanctuary, and has implemented a force shield around it for protection from this individual.. a John Druitt. not only has she kept Druitt a secret from all her staff so that they know nothing about him.. she has even lied about the shields purpose .. effectively making her staff cannon fodder should this threat materialise. As the pilot progresses, her warrior daughter, Ashley, is ordered to stay in Sanctuary following some unexplained power surges... and of course as Magnus is tight lipped about the whole "huge threat thing" which she suspects.. Ashley disobeys and goes out to make an arms purchase anyway. While out she is basically beaten in a fight by "the threat".. Druitt... to be saved by the skin of her teeth by a well placed "taser like" shot courtesy her local arms dealer. Not phased at all by this near death experience she leaves the "very fast and strong" Druitt in the safe hands of the office admin assistant before Druitt is even subdued properly so she can, amazingly, "hit the showers". Entry to Sanctuary is not via a quarantine system either... it is apparently OK to wheel any captured organism thru the main corridors on a trolley before any threat assessment is made. And they also don't have to inform the boss about admitted/captured organisms either... maybe the next morning over coffee is alright... as its a family affair. Predictably Druitt gets the drop on the admin guy and eventually holds Ashley hostage while Helen is taking a bead on him. Well... warrior maiden can't think to grab Druitt's weapon hand or even to slant her head a few degrees to the side to let mom get a clearer shot... which is a mystery in itself as Druitt is at least 6'6" and towers by at least one head over Ashley anyway.. leaving Druitt's jubilant face completely in a clear line of fire. I really don't know how large a target would have to be for Magnus to take the shot.
Helen Magnus certainly has not learned a whole lot about managing Sanctuary in one hundred and something odd years.. and like Torchwood the staff are only barely prepared to follow orders. And like Torchwood there is no coherent explanation for how these incompetent people could have operated their organisation for so long in the manner shown. Its for younger folk or those with far greater skills than mine at suspending their disbelief.
Funny what happens when a good group of people get together with a
This internet series was made on next to nothing, and it still turned out this good..? It's no wonder Sci-Fi has picked up this gem. Fantastic premise, cutting edge production technology, established stars and fresh new faces...
Amanda Tapping totally re-invents herself as an eloquent British matriarch, complete with the full on accent, and a classy brunette look (befitting her new, more serious character). Stargate fans are gonna go bananas...
Robin Dunne is the heartthrob Hamlet of this strange group of heroes, and Emilie Ullerup is the sleek, sexy, leather-clad bad ass. Bad guy Chris Heyerdahl is awesome as Druitt, a nasty "Jack the Ripper" immortal who just can't seem to stop... Add to the mix a whole new level of strange creatures that go bump in the night, and you've got the recipe for a Sci-Fi, TV stew of epic proportions. Looking forward to seeing what they do with it next...
Sanctuary is a fun show to watch. Amanda Tapping and crew do a fine job
of telling interesting stories. Many of the story lines came straight
from the webisodes. However, the topics were highly compelling, the
acting wonderful; especially with all the green screens, and the
production may be the wave of the future for most TV series.
I would not be surprised if several of the actors receive awards for their acting. In addition, I expect to see several technical awards for the production of the show.
Christopher Heyerdahl plays a couple of characters that are very different from each other. From the first episode of season one to the last, you get to see his incredible range as an actor.
Most of the time when an actor or actress plays a role for a very long time, the way Amanda Tapping played Samantha Carter, it is can be difficult to remove that image from the audiences mind. In Sanctuary, Amanda Tapping proves yet again what a fine actress she is as Helen Magnus. She created a new entertaining character for her public to care about and support.
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