After two half-seasons, it felt somewhat odd to have a full season of ‘Sanctuary’ for its third year. It must have felt that way to the writers as well because there was the occasional lack of continuity, at least in a time sense, between stories. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Many of the episodes were outstanding but the absence of some members of the cast occasionally still indicated a strong budget control despite more episodes. In the extras, show-runner/creator Damian Kindred doesn’t make much of it but all the stories had to go through the suits before they were filmed strongly suggesting that they were fighting for budget all along. Considering the use of CGI throughout, you have to admire just how much was made out of a small budget for a series that spanned the globe with so many international disasters. Looked at the deleted scenes in the sixth DVD where you can actually see the green screen backs up the seven audio commentaries as to what was and wasn’t really there and shows the acting chops of the cast to make you believe otherwise. I should point out that this time around, the UK and US editions are the same so if you live this side of the pond, go with region 2.
From resolving the problems with Kali the spider to discovering the Hollow Earth, things move at a pace. Occasionally, there’s a feeling of a tick-off list as to what they want to cover this time around. Star of this being ‘Normandy’ where the focus is on Helen Magnus (actress Amanda Tapping) and members of The Five infiltrating France during World War Two to beat a menace that would jeopardise D-Day. Such missions have been mentioned before but this is the first time we see one close up. As a guest star, charismatic actor Jonathon Young as Nikola Tesla is a scene stealer and someone really ought to offer him a starring role in something and not just leave him on the stage.
Interestingly, throughout all of this, relationships between the various characters grows and changes, although I think Will Zimmerman (actor Robin Dunn) was a little too free with his FBI agent girl-friend in revealing what is behind the Sanctuary doors, especially even he didn’t know it existed two years previously. Of all the characters, Zimmerman until now had been the only one not to have extensive make-up. In this season, Robin Dunn had two make-up jobs. Even Kate (actress Agam Darshi) Freelander had her early morning make-up calls.
As mentioned before, the extras DVD is massive, containing 147 minutes of material. The focus is on Amanda Tapping and Damian Kindler directing but really there is plenty for everyone. Key though to me is Kindler explaining that he wanted to bring the presence of the Sanctuaries to the world in a big way when many of them make an appearance. He achieved that but it means seeing the resolution in series 4.
Have I said too much without giving away any spoilers? You’ll have to watch to find out. In many respects, ‘Sanctuary’ appears to be the last Canadian grown SF series in the past couple years. They’ve proved they have the expertise to go beyond helping American productions with locations and crew, so a few more home-grown productions really shouldn’t go amiss.
(region 2 DVD: pub: E1 Entertainment ED10725. 6 DVDs 870 minutes 20 episodes including an entire DVD of extras. Price: about £15.00 or less (UK) if you know where to look)
cast: Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunn, Ryan Robbins, Agam Darshi and Christopher Heyerdahl
check out website: www.entertainmentone.co.uk/index.php and www.sanctuaryforall.com