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.
64 out of 93 found this helpful