Terror Tube: Sanctuary

By Kraven: The  She-Wolf

      It’s not often that an internet-based series
gets the green light to go onto a network series
but back in 2008 that very thing happened for
the series Sanctuary. Starting as a little 15 to
20 minute web series about a woman who runs
a habitat for creatures, giving them a safe place
to live away from the normal world who would not understand their various gifts. A sort of place where
monsters could be themselves and be free, however not all monsters play well with others and some would
have to be tracked down and forced to stay at the Sanctuary so that they were not a danger to anyone else
or themselves. As a web series on its own website, the show was sold directly to his views through the
website itself until (take note indie filmmakers), the Syfy Channel came a calling and wanted to produce
the show on their network.

      The first four episodes of the web series were rewritten to produce the pilot titled “Sanctuary for All”
and shot for the Syfi Channel before a 13 episode order was greenlit by the network and added to their
channels lineup of original programming. Upon its release, it was the channel’s highest rated series at the
time pulling in a 2,366,000 among its viewership knocking out the networks other big hit Eureka. The
series ran on the Syfy Channel for four years until they ended it, however, other smaller local networks
picked up the series in re-runs for syndication.

      The backbone of the Sanctuary is Helen Magnus played by Amanda
Tapping, who is better known for her role on Stargate SG1, who runs not
only the home for unwanted monsters called in the series Abnormal, but
also heads the team who seeks out Abnormals who need to be brought
into the Sanctuary. Some would rather stay out in the world and be a nui-
sance and hurt people and so it’s up to Magnus and her team to stop them
and if need be, force them into the Sanctuary.

      Magnus is joined in her quest to save or capture the Abnormals by a
small team made up of both human and other Abnormals as well as her
own daughter Ashley, who is the action type much in the vain of Buffy,
who is their best fighter on the team. Along with Helen and Ashley,
Magnus are joined by Will Zimmerman, a psychiatrist who aids Magnus
in understanding the people/creatures they are dealing with. While
Ashley may be the kick ass super hero of the group, the real muscle
comes by way of “the Big Guy”, a well-dressed and intelligent Bigfoot
living at the Sanctuary who works with the team. There is also the wiz kid
Henry Foss who can build and fix just about anything and is also a were-
wolf. Later in the series starting with season two, Agam Darshi as Kate
Freelander was added to the cast after actress Emilie Ullerup, who played
Magnus daughter Ashley, left the series and was written out.

      Like other horror based shows, the creatures in the series
looked really well and played their parts to the letter. The team
werewolf Henry was played by CGI when in wolf form, but it
looked good although this writer would have liked a man in a fur
suit to play the werewolf. Other creatures were CGI as in the
case of flying monsters or a giant spider aka Big Bertha, how-
ever, most Abnormals were played by actors in full costume.

      Sanctuary in its run even used real people from history in their storylines
and as returning cast members such as John Druitt who was in fact Jack The
Ripper and the father of modern power and scientist Nikola Tesla who in the
series was yes a man of science…..and a vampire. The side kick of Sherlock
Holmes Dr. Watson was a member of the returning cast members who would
show up in some episodes as well Mr. Hyde….the nastier side of Dr. Jekyll. By
the way, the actor Christopher Heyerdahl who played John Druitt (Jack The
Ripper), also played the Bigfoot in the series as well.

      Although Sanctuary as a series didn’t last very long on TV and never made
the impact that say, Buffy, The Walking Dead or Supernatural have made, but
if you can find it on DVD or YouTube, you will enjoy this smart, fun little show that
ended way before its time.