Sanctuary was one of the most extraordinary shows that Syfy had during its four seasons on the air. It was obviously also one of the network’s least appreciated and most underrated shows as it seemed that network heads kept moving it from time slot to time slot, never really giving it a full chance. But thanks to EOne, fans of this hybrid sci-fi/fantasy drama have the opportunity to enjoy the show whenever they want as it has finally been released in a full four-season box set complete with bonus features included in all four seasons.
Right from the moment that they open this eighteen-disc set, fans are awarded for their loyalty. They are rewarded with a companion booklet that does more than just list episodes. The companion booklet in any box set is far too often overlooked as just another addition to box sets. But in the case of Sanctuary, it’s also an in depth guide for fans both new and old. For all intents and purposes, it serves as a Playbill of sorts. It starts by including descriptions on the show’s primary characters, explaining the role that each one plays in the show. Also noted in the character guide section is the name of the actor in each role. From there, audiences are treated to an episode by episode guide of all four seasons, complete with listing of bonus features included with each season.
The episodes that made up Sanctuary’s four seasons had so much going for them; so much so that it’s impossible to entirely put into words. The first thing that audiences catch about each episode is the balance of live action and CG. From the sets to the characters, the mix of the two elements was very well balanced. That balance of live action and CG based special effects is a small part of the success of the show’s episodes. On a more subtle, but equally impressive note, the people in the show’s make-up department are to be commended for the work done to transform star Christopher Heyerdahl into Bigfoot. Were one watching Sanctuary for the first time, they would not even know that both Druett and Bigfoot were played by the same actor. Perhaps the only similarity between the two would be the characters’ chins. Other than that, the show’s make-up department did an outstanding job turning Heyerdahl into the gentle giant that was Bigfoot.
So much work went into making the world of Sanctuary believable. Just as important as the sets and costumes was the writing for each episode. And even in just four seasons, Sanctuary offered more than its share of enjoyable episodes. The entire season opens expertly with a two-part series premiere that wastes no time introducing the show’s cast of characters. From there, the mix of multi-part story arcs and standalone episodes make for more than their share of entertainment. One of the best of the standalone episodes comes from the series’ first season. “Requiem” sees Will and Magnus answer a distress call from the Bermuda Triangle from a society of undersea beings. They take Magnus’ submarine, “Nautilus”, to investigate the call. The result is a life or death struggle for Will after Magnus is infected by a parasite that took over the beings that lived in the Bermuda Triangle. This plot line may sound familiar. As familiar as it is, the way in which the story line was executed makes it entirely original. It’s just one of the many great episodes from this underrated series.
Another of the series’ standout episodes is another of its stand-alone episodes. It too, comes from the series’ first season. “Instinct” sees the team having to chase down a pair of rather unruly insects which are merely trying to protect their young. The catch is that it’s all caught on tape by a far too overzealous young woman hoping to get her big break as a reporter. The multi-pronged “story here is what makes it so enjoyable. On the one hand, it serves to show just how over the top and too far the news media is willing to go for a story. There’s a lot of truth to how the young lady and her camera man handle capturing the team’s actions. On the other hand, it also helps to point out just how secret Magnus and her fellow associates at the Sanctuary are. Not only that, but as secret as the Sanctuary network is, it helps to illustrate how misunderstood the unknown is.
Sanctuary offers fans plenty of great episodes through the course of its four seasons. But one of the most important and enjoyable is the series finale. How the series ends won’t be given away for the sake of those who have yet to see it. But it leaves the door wide open for the series to be revisited and rebooted should any company ever have the interest in doing so. Even if this doesn’t happen, it serves as a fitting end to what was and is one of the most underrated and underappreciated dramas to ever come to television.
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