Sanctuary (TV series): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sanctuary's intertitle
Format Science fiction, Fantasy
Created by Damian Kindler
Starring Amanda Tapping
Robin Dunne
Ryan Robbins
Christopher Heyerdahl
Agam Darshi
Emilie Ullerup
Country of origin  Canada
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 8 (webisodes)
26 (TV episodes) (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Damian Kindler
Amanda Tapping
Martin Wood
Keith Beedie
N. John Smith
Sam Egan
Running time 42 minutes
Original channel Syfy
Original run October 3, 2008 – present
Status Ongoing
External links
Official website

Sanctuary is a Canadian science fiction-fantasy television series, created by Damian Kindler. The show is an expansion of an eight-webisode long series that was released through the Internet in early 2007 and sold directly to the viewer. Seeing the success of the web series, Syfy decided to pick up the series for a more traditional television-based 13-episode season.[1] It has finished airing a second season of 13 episodes,[2] and was renewed for a third season of 20 episodes on December 12, 2009.[3]

The show centers on Dr. Helen Magnus, a 158-year-old English scientist, and her team of experts who run the Sanctuary, an organization that seeks out non-human intelligent creatures, known as Abnormals, and tries to help and learn from them, while also having to contain the more dangerous creatures.

The series premiered on October 3, 2008, in both Canada and the United States, and on October 6, in the United Kingdom. The premiere drew in more than 3 million viewers making it the highest rated original series premiere since Eureka debuted in July 2006 for Syfy.[4] The premiere's two-parter, "Sanctuary for All" was a combination and rewriting of the first four webisodes. Amanda Tapping with all of the original cast from the web series transitioned to the television series. The second season premiered on Friday, October 9, 2009 in the 10pm timeslot.[5]


Series overview

Sanctuary follows the exploits of Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and her quest to protect what most people would consider monsters. "The Sanctuary" serves as a safe haven for these "Abnormals". She is aided in her quest by her reluctant protégé Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne); her intrepid, if somewhat reckless, daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup); the talkative geek Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins), a computer and security expert; and her taciturn Neanderthal-like unnamed assistant, sometimes called "Big Guy" (Christopher Heyerdahl).

The first season reveals the history of Dr. Helen Magnus, stating that in her youth she was a member of a group of experimental scientists known as "The Five", which included also Nikola Tesla, Nigel Griffin, Dr. James Watson, and John Druitt; who wanted to push the boundaries of their understanding of the physical world through unconventional means. At some point during their partnership, Magnus acquired a vial of untainted vampire blood and used it in a serum that "The Five" injected into themselves. After the injection, they each developed different gifts; Magnus gained a high level of longevity, Nigel Griffin acquired the power of invisibility, Dr. James Watson's intellect was tremendously heightened, John Druitt developed the ability to teleport through time and space, and Nikola Tesla undergoes transformation into a vampire, with the additional power of electrical manipulation.

In the second half of the first season, "The Cabal", a powerful shadow organization that captures, studies, and experiments on Abnormals in the belief that the Abnormal population is a threat to the human species, is introduced. During the season one finale, "Revelations", they test a small amount of a biological weapon named Lazarus, that causes all types of Abnormals to become extremely violent, attacking anyone nearby, before they painfully die. This is part of The Cabal's overall plan to incite humanity against the Abnormals so that they can wipe out the entire Abnormal population and gain a greater amount of power over humanity.

Cast and characters

  • Amanda Tapping as Dr. Helen Magnus, an English medical and scientific researcher who has devoted her life to both hunting and protecting so-called 'monsters'. She runs a 'Sanctuary for All' where they may find refuge while she studies them and attempts to help them. She is 158 years old.
  • Robin Dunne as Dr. Will Zimmerman, a brilliant forensic psychiatrist who is recruited by Dr. Magnus to help her treat people—specifically those who are difficult to reach emotionally, and need to be convinced to trust her.
  • Ryan Robbins as Henry Foss, a self-proclaimed geek. He is both a weapons designer and a brilliant computer scientist. He keeps the Sanctuary's defenses working as well. It is revealed that he himself is a werewolf-like Abnormal (classified as a class nine hyper-accelerated protean life form).
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as John Druitt, Dr. Magnus' former lover, he has the ability to teleport across great distances. The power he received from the vampire blood however changed him and his teleportation powers caused him to become a twisted killer. His insanity appears to be cured after he is tortured by Tesla, but he still exhibits homicidal tendencies. In the Episode "Haunted" it is revealed that an electric type abnormal has been controlling Druitt.
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as Bigfoot,[6] a former patient of Dr. Magnus, she removed "more than a few bullets" from him, and after he recovered, he would not leave so Dr. Magnus gave him a position on her staff, as a butler, chauffeur, and body guard. He appears to be an intelligent Neanderthal and before meeting Dr. Magnus he liked to scare children for fun.
  • Agam Darshi as Kate Freelander, is a con-artist with Cabal connection and has a vast knowledge of their tactics and movements. After she is hunted by the Cabal, she reluctantly switches sides to the Sanctuary.
  • Emilie Ullerup as Ashley Magnus, Dr. Magnus's daughter with John Druitt. Ashley is an expert monster hunter, and provides a counterbalance to Dr. Magnus's desire to protect creatures. The character Ashley was killed off early in season two after being genetically manipulated and her mind controlled by the Cabal into a super assassin with multiple powers to try and destroy the Sanctuary network.


The series is produced by Stage 3 Media based in Vancouver, British Columbia, founded in 2006. The webisodes were filmed from January 3 to January 31, 2007 at Bridge Studios.[7] Sanctuary is filmed almost entirely using the green screen technique. Unlike many other shows, elaborate sets are not built for the scenes to be filmed; instead, they are created using CGI technology. Production on the television version of Sanctuary began in early 2008, with a reshooting of the pilot episode, "Sanctuary for All".[8][9][10] The first season cost an estimated $21 million (CAN), and filmed in Burnaby, British Columbia.[11] In December 2008, the series was confirmed to have been picked up for a second season of thirteen episodes.[2] The second season began production in the end of March/beginning of April, 2009. Guest stars for the second season include Agam Darshi, who will play con-artist Kate Freelander,[12] former Stargate SG-1 actor Michael Shanks as Jimmy for the ninth episode, entitled "Penance,"[13] and former Stargate Atlantis actor Paul McGillion, who will play Wexford, a character he played in the webseries, in the final two episodes.[14]

Sanctuary is the first television series in North America to use the RED camera exclusively. The RED camera system does away with tape and film and records straight to a hard drive allowing the Anthem Visual Effects and the series’ post production team immediate access to the day’s footage, and is capable of recording at resolutions up to 4096 horizontal by 2304 vertical pixels, four times the resolution of current day HD.[15] Other than being a primary cast member, Amanda Tapping is also an executive producer on the show, but according to Tapping herself in an interview with The Today Show, she does not get paid extra as an executive producer, mainly because what salary the executive producers would get would go towards paying for the sets, because the series is not backed up by a studio.[16] Although heavily reliant on virtual sets, a few episodes in the first season, including "Kush" and "Requiem", were filmed on practical sets, including the fuselage of an aircraft. The series also took a different filming style for the Cloverfield-esque "Instinct".[2]

Broadcast and release

Unlike traditional TV series, the primary distribution channel for Sanctuary was originally the Internet. Episodes were sold directly to viewers on the official website. The web episodes or "webisodes", are about 15–20 minutes in duration and were released bi-weekly. The success of the webisodes led the Syfy Channel to commission a 13-episode season for 2008.[1] The first four webisodes were rewritten and reshot as a two-hour premiere episode, "Sanctuary for All".[10] After the deal with the SciFi channel, the webisodes were moved to the Sci Fi network on

In its first season on Syfy, the original series, Sanctuary has averaged a 1.9 Household rating; 1,044,000 Adults (Ages 18–49); 1,371,000 Adults (Ages 25–54) and 2,366,000 total viewers. The pilot episode, "Sanctuary for All" received a Nielsen household rating of 2.2, the highest rated original series premiere from Syfy since the series premiere of Eureka in July 2006. The 2.2 rating represented more than 2.7 million viewers; 1.08 million among the adult 18-49 demographic and 1.4 million among the adult 25-54 demographic. This placed Sanctuary the number one cable program among adults 25-54, and number four among adults 18-49. The ratings success also boosted the web series to 1.2 million views.[17] In the United Kingdom, both parts placed the series first place on the top ten viewing programmes for ITV4 during the two weeks they aired. The first part was viewed by 565,000,[18] while the second part received a higher viewing figure of 608,000.[19]

The first season was released on DVD on Region 1 for September 15, 2009,[20] Contender Home Entertainment, in the UK (Region 2), released a PAL version of the boxset of four DVDs on October 19, 2009.[21] The boxset was available in Australia on September 9, 2009 (Region 4).[22] The second season is scheduled to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 15, 2010.[23]

Critical response

Sanctuary has a score of 56 on Metacritic, signifying "mixed or average reviews" based on 7 television reviewers.[24] Tori Ireland Mell of IGN called the series an intriguing story, and a mind-blowing concept, and believes the series from a production standpoint was executed well.[25] Some reviewers have made comparisons between Sanctuary and British science fiction series Torchwood and Primeval, as well as drawing comparisons between Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) and Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1.[26][27] USA Today reviewer Bill Keveney said that Amanda Tapping had reached her "Comfort zone," and continued with further positive reaction to the TV series.[28] Rick Bentley from McClatchy Newspapers commented Tapping's role as Dr. Helen Magnus was a way for the actress to make a name of herself outside the Stargate universe as character Samantha Carter.[29]

Maureen Ryan of Chicago Tribune dubbed the show as "competent if not particularly innovative sci-fi," and said that the series might be of interest to fans of Tapping's earlier works.[30] Mike Hale of The New York Times believed that the series does not have "the narrative force of Battlestar Galactica or the wit and creativity of Eureka," further stating "it's not an embarrassment for the channel, but it doesn't raise the stakes either.[31]

Sanctuary has been nominated for six Constellation Awards.[32] The series has also been nominated for ten Leo Awards and won four of these in 2009.[33]


  1. ^ a b Sumner, Darren (2008-01-31). "SCI FI picks up Tapping's Sanctuary". GateWorld. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sanctuary Gets Caught in the Bermuda Triangle". TV Guide. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Syfy renews 'Stargate: Universe' and 'Sanctuary'". The Live Feed. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  4. ^ Sanctuary is a hit
  5. ^
  6. ^ Sam Egan reveals who plays Bigfoot
  7. ^ Read, David (2007-01-31). "Stargate cast and crew seek Sanctuary". GateWorld. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian. "Analysis of Sanctuary the TV Series". Variety Magazine. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  9. ^ Romanello, Linda (2007-05-24). "Finding Sanctuary in CG". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  10. ^ a b Eramo, Steven (2008-09-10). "Green Screen Cowboy: Directing SCI FI's 'Sanctuary'". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  11. ^ "Made-in-Burnaby show gets Beedie's backing". October 8, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  12. ^ Amith, Dennis (April 6, 2009). "Sci Fi's Sanctuary Begins Production on Season 2". J-ENT. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ Busch, Jenna (June 10, 2009). "SG-1's Michael Shanks will guest-star in an episode of Sanctuary". Sci Fi Wire. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  14. ^ Moody, Mike (July 21, 2009). "Stargate's Dr. Beckett to guest star on Sanctuary". TV Squad. Retrieved 25 October, 2009. 
  15. ^ Pachel, Peter (January 13, 2009). "How the RED One camera makes SCI FI's Sanctuary look good". Sc Fi Wire. Retrieved June 16, 2009. 
  16. ^ Carnevale, Alex (October 3, 2008). "Tonight's Sanctuary Premiere Is Green, But Green's Good". io9. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  17. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 6, 2008). "VIEWERS SEEK ‘SANCTUARY’ ON SCI FI, #1 Program Among Adults 25-54". Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ "BARB's multichannel top 10 programmes (Go on w/e 12/10/08, and scroll down to ITV4)". Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  19. ^ "BARB's multichannel top 10 programmes (Go on w/e 19/10/08, and scroll down to ITV4)". Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Sanctuary-1st Season". Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Sanctuary Complete Season 1 [DVD [2007]"]. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Sanctuary - Season 1 (4 Disc Set)". EzyDVD. Retrieved September 4, 2009. 
  23. ^ "New Release: Sanctuary and other TV shows". March 15, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Sanctuary reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  25. ^ Ireland Mell, Tori (October 2, 2008). "Sanctuary: "Sanctuary for All" Review". IGN. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  26. ^ Wilson, Mark. "Review: 'Sanctuary' Premiere". Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  27. ^ Hughes, Jason (October 4, 2008). "Sanctuary: Sanctuary for All (series premiere)". TV Squad. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  28. ^ Keveney, Bill (May 10, 2009). "Amanda Tapping finds her comfort zone in 'Sanctuary'". USA Today. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  29. ^ Bentley, Rick (October 10, 2008). "Star's new role more than a change of accents". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  30. ^ Ryan, Maureen (3 October, 2008). "Amanda Tapping provides 'Sanctuary' to freaky critters". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 February, 2010. 
  31. ^ Hale, Mike (October 3, 2010). "TV Review - 'Sanctuary' - Amanda Tapping as a Sci Fi Channel Doctor With a Digital Menagerie". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February, 2010. 
  32. ^ "And the 2009 nominees are...". Retrieved June 16, 2009. 
  33. ^ Glowder, Glen (May 10, 2009). "Sci-fi projects roar at Leo Awards". The Province. Retrieved June 17, 2009. 

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address