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Do The Critics Feel Safe Recommending SciFi’s SANCTUARY??

I am – Hercules!!
A sci-fi procedural from writer-producer Damian Kindler (“PSI Factor,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Stargate: Atlantis”), “Sanctuary” follows an immortal doctor (“Stargate” vet Amanda Tapping) who makes it her business to contain and protect a menagerie of otherworldly creatures. It employs an unusual amount of green-screen and apparently started life as a Web series on last year. The New York Times says:
… sits at about the same level of writing and performance as the “Stargate” shows, which means it doesn’t have the narrative force of “Battlestar Galactica” or the wit and creativity of Sci Fi’s best original series, “Eureka.” It’s not an embarrassment for the channel, but it doesn’t raise the stakes either. … You might think, “Well, the animation can’t be cheap,” but you haven’t seen the show …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… a draggy piece of somber silliness …
The Chicago Tribune says:
… pace is a little on the stately side, and the show is competent if not particularly innovative sci fi. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… another disappointing entry. It's a lot like BBC America's "Torchwood," just without the wit and a charismatic lead actor. The show isn't helped by a two-hour premiere that states and re-states its premise too many times. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… The problem with "Sanctuary" comes when it settles in to a predictable pace and denouement during the second half. It takes on an early thrilling ride, only to inexplicably start coasting when we need it to shift to the next gear. But the show's pedigree and premise, along with the technological breakthrough it brings to the table, make it worthy of a second look. …
Variety says:
… If yet another "Men in Black"-style, "Things that go bump in the night are real" drama sounds right up your dark alley, then "Sanctuary" is perhaps for you. Otherwise, there's little to recommend this dense drama, which recycles a number of familiar sci-fi tropes … suffers by comparison with any number of similarly themed dramas, most recently BBC America's fun-loving "Torchwood." …
9 p.m. Friday. SciFi.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST

    This is going to be shit...

    by Strabo

    But Sci-Fi had a bunch of scripts left-over from The Dresden Files, so, hey, what the hell, why not?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:23 a.m. CST

    by Quartermass-87

    shit without having seen it? spoken like a true talkbacker.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:34 a.m. CST

    It's on Sci-Fi.

    by Strabo

    Do you really need any more evidence than that? BSG and Farscape were freak accidents that Sci-fi has wasted no time in correcting.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:31 a.m. CST

    When a show is compared to Torchwood....

    by IAmMrMonkey! know it's a load of shit.<p>When a show is compared to Torchwood but the later series is regarded as better, you know it's worse than shit.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:43 a.m. CST

    once every five years

    by jack_effing_bauer

    SciFi puts out something decent. the rest of the time, it's utter shit and a waste of our evening. We've still got BSG for the good stuff. Not time for anything else good to be on yet.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:56 a.m. CST

    so they actually stole the "immortal boss" angle, too?!

    by blue1622

    Jeeeesus, this looked like a pretty shameless Torchwood knock-off, from the trailers...but finding out the "Sanctuary" leader is also immortal. Isn't that enough for BBC to sue over? <p> <b>I love Torchwood.<b>

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Going to be better than BSG

    by Dazzler69

    you know it. I want to kill myself after every ep I watch of that now. So depressing.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 7:46 a.m. CST

    skiffy channel only bought into sanctuary

    by palewook

    b/c it got the show super cheap.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST

    It would be good if everyone was naked

    by Barmat

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:54 a.m. CST

    so what's "an unusual amount of green-screen"?

    by newc0253

    as opposed to the regular amount for a SF show? i'm not being facetious, just curious.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    If anybody is familiar with the phrase Res Ipsa Loquitur

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    then just saying it's on Sci-Fi is enough.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    To answer newc0253

    by Jodet

    There are very few sets for this show, it's mostly done CG with green screen. Think 'Sky Captain' only even lower budget.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 10:40 a.m. CST

    So is the premier....

    by Blackguard

    ...going to be all the Webisodes lumped together? You all know that this show HAS been online for a while now right? It's a fun show with a little camp. What more do you expect? Just be glad it's not "Mansquito: The Series."

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    "states and re-states its premise"

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Last show that I saw that did that was Threshold

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:04 p.m. CST

    sequel to Logan's Run?

    by Sir Loin

    Some of you old-timers will get that...speaking of Logan's Run, are they still planning a remake? Keep Singer away from it, though.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:04 p.m. CST this is american?

    by Bouncy X

    i'm in canada so this is airing on TMN and when i saw the commercials, i thought it was a canadian show, it has that cheap look all canadian shows, especially sci-fi ones have. but since that stargate girl is in it, lemme guess...its made and produced here thus the cheapness right?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    once again BSG fanboy-haters

    by dioxholster

    u know what after 10 years you look back and u will say MY GOD I CANT BELIEVE I USED TO LIKE THAT RETARDED NIHILISTIC SHOW!!! BSG IS AN ABOMINATION! IF ONLY I KNEW BETTER! admit it folks sanctuary is pretty unique and offers something new so why the hate? and stargate rules you just dont know it yet. how dare that new york idiot say stargate is not funny. are u kidding its hilarious in a subtle way that one only gets if he actually watched the show and understood the characters. couldnt say the same for all the other crap including BSG which is only famous coz of two know them and it shows you in an introspective way how superficial u are.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Webisodes were NOT on

    by whoopdeedoo

    Hey Herc! Get your facts straight. The webisodes this series is based on were NOT on They were an independent production available on last summer. Might want to do a little fact-checking before you post a story.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST


    by oisin5199

    Never could get through a Stargate episode without being bored to tears, and I certainly never thought much of Amanda Tapping. But seeing her in a preview for this show, with long, dark hair, a choker and a British accent, makes me a bit more interested in the show. See, cause she's hot now.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    actually they were also on Youtube!

    by dioxholster

    the first four episodes were on youtube. if u liked them u had to pay like 2$ to get the whole season. i thought it was a good idea. no wonder why SGA got canceled and replaced everyone is just looking for another BSG, if it aint it its not good sci fi then. sci fi channel is now faced with a dilemma, all its shows have to be clones of BSG. actually in reality BSG is bad sci fi which is why its so mainstream... here check this out this tells you why its bad sci fi:

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    oisin5199, i disagree

    by dioxholster

    she was always hot especially in that military SG-1 uniform with the big army hat lol that was so cute.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 2:28 p.m. CST


    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Most of the Stargates are filmed in Canada.<p> Don't care tho.<br> Over all I really enjoy the Stargates.<br> They're a good space opera. They mostly stick to their own rules (just a couple times the rules were ignored). Good characters, well written and portrayed. A nice subtle sense of humor. Good villains also written and portrayed well.<p> If Sanctuary does as good a job, I'll be tuning in

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST


    by FamousEccles

    It's a lot like BBC America's "Torchwood," just without the wit and a charismatic lead actor?? someeone actually wrote that?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST

    As long as it's not

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Special Unit 2 stupid, I'll watch

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST


    by alice 13

    im surprised they havent shown up on bsg yet.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Everyone's forgetting the main reason to watch Sanctuary!

    by Amy Chasing

    Amanda Tapping as a brunette.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:05 p.m. CST


    by Melvin_Pelvis

    that was a Goa'uld with the kid

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Heavily Cliched

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    But not to bad<p> I'll give it a few weeks to see if it gets better

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Supporting actors are horrible

    by jccalhoun

    Wow, the daughter and Doctor Jackson or whatever his name is supposed to be are pretty bad actors. Recast them and it might be a decent show.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Borrowed heavily from

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    the Stargate guest actors pool.<br> The detective, the bad guy, the nerd / tech guy.<br> Maybe a couple I missed.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Kinda reminded me of early Star Trek TNG...

    by one_crazy_nagger

    in that special effects looked very low tech, stories and characters are too cliched and stolen from better shows, and the writing needs A LOT of work. There is ample time for improvement; however, and I would like for it to succeed. God knows Sci Fi needs more science fiction and less wrestling. For the Sci Fi channel, I have to admit it wasn't really that bad, but it definitely needs major revamping if it is ever to be on par with Farscape, Stargate, or BSG. Maybe they need to throw in some muppets?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 11:31 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen the televised version so...

    by Amy Chasing

    could someone please let me know if Sanctuary on SciFi is the same as Sanctuary made for the web? If so that may explain why it may not be so good - I don't think it ever had the budget of a TV show because it was never made for TV.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 12:31 a.m. CST

    It has potential, they had to set up the freakin premise people.

    by Ka Dargo

    And Tapping is way hotter as a brunette. Nice cleavage shot in that blue top!!! Didn't know she had such a nice rack!!! They could make some cool shit with the CG if they do it right. And the daughter is pretty hot too for a blonde.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST

    It's like Torchwood...

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    But without the creepy, unnecessary sex and the completely inept team members.<p>Like Torchwood, it's not great, but has promise... but certainly won't rise to BSG-level quality. With luck, it COULD end up being as good as Britain's "Primeval," but only time will tell.<p>Overall, the premiere was a B-.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Get the web episodes in high quality from

    by ulcer

    Santuary is now available for free in pretty high quality on Vuze (the new name of the bit torrent client Azareus). Download the client and just search in the directory for Sanctuary. The SD version is free. Don't waste your time watching this on YouTube (where only half of the episodes are)

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 1:21 a.m. CST

    They re-shot/wrote everything for the TV series

    by ulcer

    I just saw the two first episodes. It's not the same thing as the web episodes. it's similar, but they basically re-wrote, re-shuffled and re-shot everything. They now have a lot of actual sets and better CG.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 5:24 a.m. CST

    I'm in two minds about this one

    by Maniaq

    I hear that it's COMPLETELY done green-screen - as in COMPLETELY - which is kinda interesting, but on the other hand the premise sounds completely boring and the writing hardly sounds inspired... <p> ...which is no surprise considering the Stargate pedigree here, really...

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST

    not entirely green screen but mostly

    by jccalhoun

    It is something like 90% green screen but not 100%

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Wait. The NY Times thinks Eureka's better than BSG?

    by flickchick85

    Makes me feel better about never paying attention to their TV critics before.<p> That was the only thing in this article that caught my attention. Sanctuary, not so much.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 3:47 p.m. CST


    by alice 13

    wtf rubber suit monster thing with the digital smoke trying to cover its shittiness! this show is awful. AND JACK THE RIPPER??? JACK THE FUCKIN RIPPER??? AWFUL I TELLS YA! makes me want a nite breed sequel even more now.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Wait. The NY Times thinks Eureka's better than BSG?

    by 1895DCSkate

    I concur, choice would watch Eureka, DVR BSG. Santuary sucked, though the wife dead jump at the boy under the bed scene.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Bloody Awful

    by frankenstone

    Nice special effects. Good production values, competent acting and direction. Premise is stupid, kind of like that Hellboy movie. Writing is extremely awful. Pain-inducingly awful. Wow. What a horrible script. I doubt the show can be saved, given its ridiculous premise. Perhaps if it were played totally tongue-in-cheek, instead of so drearily serious, it might be watchable.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST


    by frozen01

    Just because you need to be constantly reminded why you want to exist doesn't mean Battlestar Galactica was a bad show.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:39 p.m. CST


    by frozen01

    "I concur, choice would watch Eureka, DVR BSG. Santuary sucked, though the wife dead jump at the boy under the bed scene." <br>Not following...

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Eureka good, but not as good as BSG

    by frozen01

    Also, Torchwood was terrible. I kept hearing all these great things about Torchwood so I started downloading them from iTunes. I couldn't even finish watching the ones I paid for. Yelch.