Being a long time fan of the Stargate Series, I was intrigued when I heard Amanda Tapping would be starring in a new sci fi show. The concept sounded interesting...A Sanctuary for all manners of creatures unknown to science, some based in myth, some just plain odd! A team that attempts to locate these creatures and in a way, rescue them and give them a chance to live in this Sanctuary.
As I said, this concept sounded interesting and I was actually pretty excited to see the show for the first time. Perhaps this is one of those situations where I should have had lower expectations or none at all because from the first episode, this show just doesn't seem to get better than marginal at best for me.
One big thing for me is the character played by Amanda Tapping. It's not her character per say but rather the accent someone decided would be a good thing for her to have. Now, I have heard people disagree in a few different ways on this subject but in my opinion, Amanda's English accent just doesn't cut it. There are clearly times when she slips in and out of the accent and it just takes away from the character and the show in general. Also, it's really annoying to hear the constant wavering. I know that may sound like nitpicking but that kind of thing can really wear down on you!
Aside from the accent issue, the two main parts of Sanctuary that really make it a 4 out of 10 as opposed to an 8 out of 10 are acting and presentation.
I did enjoy the acting when it came to guess spots from actors such as Christopher Heyerdahl who plays not only John Druitt on occasion but also is a regular character as well when he plays Bigfoot. Jonathon Young as Nikolas Tesla was another acting positive note in the few episodes he was in. Unfortunately, the acting that comes from the actors playing the main characters just doesn't really sell the show to me. The main character of Helen Druitt is an interesting one as not everyone can live for over 150 years but unfortunately, either Amanda Tapping just doesn't seem suited for the character or the character itself is just not written well. I'm not sure if she is having trouble keeping the accent and trying to act at the same time and if that's the issue but she just doesn't come off to me as being very believable.
The rest of the cast is either a much more "put you to sleep" kind of character such as Dr. Zimmerman or an "I'm appealing to the 13-17 year old demographic" character such as Ashley Magnus. The buffy-esquire member of the troupe. Both of their characters are for a lack of a way to say it...boring and/or cliché.
Honestly...I think the main reason the acting isn't very believable is the fact almost all of Sanctuary is shot on a green screen! Having to not only constantly react to creatures and monsters who are supposedly trying to kill you who also happen to not be real, there are backgrounds and landscapes and buildings that you have to also remember to act as if they are also real.
It's like each episode is it's own, "let's hunt the creatures" and give them "Sanctuary" kind of thing where ironically, at times Dr Helen Magnus declares that all creatures deserve sanctuary, or something along those lines...then turns around and wastes a bunch of other "creatures"! Then she proceeds to actually give one of them an autopsy or dissection depending on how you look at it! So...I guess that guy wasn't eligible for a room at the Sanctuary! One of the main things with this show is the CGI and digital effects. Given the fact that Sanctuary is almost entirely shot on a green screen, one would think there would be a little more polish in the execution. I found that the creatures especially have a tendency to look fake and there just seems to be an over all unpolished look to the way the effects appear on screen.
Overall, this show isn't a complete disaster as there is a somewhat decent foundation for a good show in there somewhere...Perhaps Sanctuary will actually learn from it's first season mistakes and become a better, more entertaining show depending on how many seasons it will ultimately last. That would please me greatly as we really need better sci fi shows and if this show improved I would gladly watch it on a regular basis. Until then, I'll just have to cross Sanctuary off my DVR record list.
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