Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pilot Review: Sanctuary

Sanctuary (SciFi)
Premiered October 3 at 9pm

This show was heavily profiled in the SciFi magazine fall preview I happened to pick up a month or so ago, and they seemed to be looking rather forward to it. As a sci-fi fan myself, I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to look into it. What it is, as it turns out, is somewhat of an ineffective hybrid of the very poor "Charlie Jade" and the cult sensation "Supernatural." In many ways, it's actually just another version of "Fringe," especially since lead actor Robin Dunne seems to follow in Joshua Jackson's footsteps, appearing as the lead in both "Cruel Intentions 2" and "The Skulls II," both not quite released in theatres. Dunne's actually okay for the role, and that's actually one of the better things about the show. Obviously the token unbelieving cop sucks, but Christopher Heyerdahl makes for a great villain (he has the look and the voice), and Amanda Tapping is a decent mentor. I'd need to warm up to Emilie Ullerup, since she seems a bit annoying at the moment, as does the groundskeeper/cleanup character, or whatever his function is. The show is intent on highlighting its creatures, but its obsession with being dark and mythic is what drags it down. It's dying to be a cult hit, and I'm not sure that's a recipe for success. I'm by no means decrying individualism, but it's just not successful or terribly interesting. I'm not sure why I watched both hours, but the dialogue just got worse and the show got more boring. I can't really stand much more of it.

How will it work as a series? Week-to-week, things should work out pretty well, since it's mostly a "freak-of-the-week" show a la "X-Files," "Smallville," or "Fringe." It does have that undercurrent of Druitt as the recurring villain and Ashley's father, so that should help it along. Basically, anyone who watched and liked this pilot episode should have no trouble getting fully behind this series.
How long will it last? SciFi is often kind to its shows, at least for a while, looking specifically at "Eureka" and "Battlestar Galactica." I think at least a season is in store for this show, but beyond that, this show could go the way of "The Dresden Files" and "Painkiller Jane."

Pilot grade: D+

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