TV From The Crypts: Sanctuary (For All)

Hello there my faithful creature-loving followers, I am sure you are already experiencing withdrawal from the weekend for several reasons, but in particular I know you must be salivating in anticipation for another Weekend Creature Comforts post. Although my torture loving self is going to make you agonize and wait until Saturday, this edition of another retired TV show might help you hold over until the end of the week.


My personal creature obsession was overwhelmed by this amazing TV show when I first encountered it. Sanctuary that the SyFy channel was smart enough to invest in for 4 seasons after it debuted online in 2007. The show is about a group of scientists led by Dr. Helen Magnus (played by Amanda Tapping whom I am sure I will be writing about in the future as she is a recurring amazing actress that loves to play science fiction and fantasy roles, and a writer herself). Dr. Magnus has become aware of the world of creatures living amongst us and has founded a group of sanctuaries throughout the world designed to offer safety for any creatures needing it and to preserve and protect those unable to do so themselves from human discovery.

The series starts out setting a bit of the scene, with the first couple episodes surrounding Magnus’ recruitment of Will Zimmerman, an FBI profiler that she personally observes and gets on board to her mission because of his ability to think and see outside of the box. Her daughter Ashley is also a major character in the first season, and we are also introduced to Henry Foss, our token computer geek who just happens to be a werewolf. The last major character initially is only known as “The Big Guy”, and being a Sasquatch himself he serves more as the muscles for the group than anything else. Later in the series another recurrent character is Kate Freelander, a lost youth that is taken under the team’s wing as an unlikely ally for monsters all over the world.

Throughout the series most episodes are stand-alones, surrounding the rescue of a harmless creature or the saving of a human city from possible annihilation by a species they never knew (and never will know) existed. From giant telepathic worms to the more standard mermaids and werewolves, the show is guaranteed to satisfy your creature requirements for the day every time. The home base of our team is a literal zoo with enclosures to help house and replicate natural habitats for hundreds of amazing beasts.

on left: Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping)

And there are several recurring characters and themes that become important for the show as it develops through the seasons, making it incredibly entertaining. For one thing, despite his cute face and increasingly improving sense of hairstyle, Will seems cursed when it comes to his love life, as his most recent relationship interest is almost always a victim when someone seems ready to be killed in the series. Henry’s development in to a werewolf and accepting his status as such are another heart-warming topic that comes up many times. Even “The Big Guy” ‘s personality makes a lot of great developments as the show matures, and his communication in grunts and huffs progresses to come very philosophical discussions later on as he becomes a more and more important person for the group.


But my favorite recurring storyline (and subsequently character) deals with Magnus’ past, as it turns out in her own way she is not a standard human either. She and four other famous scientists were at the top of their field in the mid-1800’s, and were uncovering the hidden world of creatures throughout this earth while other people would have blamed it on witchcraft and sorcery. The group ended up finding a vial of vampire blood, and while vampires were long known to be extinct by the group they also knew the legends of the power vampire blood possessed. As such, they decided to inject themselves with it, each wanting to uncover unknown abilities or possess more knowledge or power. The blood had an effect on all, giving Magnus a drastically slowed aging essentially making her close to immortal. The others included Dr. James Watson (yes, of Sherlock fame), who obtained a heightened intelligence with the injection, Nigel Griffin, who inherited the gift of invisibility, John Druitt (Magnus’ love interest at the time) who gained the ability to teleport through space and time, and Dr. Nikola Tesla (yes, the infamous Tesla who the car is now named after), who it turns out had a long-deceased vampire ancestor and essentially became a vampire after the blood turned on his previously quiescent vampire genes.


This group becomes the center of several episodes, including many that flashback in to the past to explain how certain present day events have developed. And they are my personal favorite group of the whole show. Druitt it turns out was possessed by an evil energy, which became more active when he obtained his ability to teleport and resulted in a 100-year escapade as Jack the Ripper and other serial killer sprees, leading to his and Helen’s split after she injected him with some of her new blood in order to give him longevity as well (and their love-chemistry tension is another issue they both have to grapple with throughout the series). Watson is able to live through the century as well since his amplified intelligence allowed him to build a machine that would keep him “ticking” along at a young age as well. And Nikola Tesla, well, I would make the argument that he is the best character in the entire series.

Tesla, like the scientist we have heard about as being the real inventor of the light bulb and creator of many more electrical engineering feats for the time period of his life, is incredibly intelligent and creative. However, with his vampire genes in full effect he also has an obsession with red wine and quite a nasty side with the ever-consuming blood lust. He also is unbelievably self-centered and pompous, which allows for some great one-liners and scenes in the show. Of course, as we later come to find out being a vampire is something to brag about in some ways. And even though he loves to brag about his self-sufficiency he can’t help himself and keeps coming back to the group to help (or ask for help when he’s created quite a mess himself with his experimentations), making for an ever entertaining individual.


The series did make it for 4 seasons, which is probably pretty good for a SyFy channel show. I strongly recommend watching all 4; they just keep getting better each season unlike many other shows out there. Get ready for your creature-addiction to be fulfilled!



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Posted on September 12, 2013, in Geekology, TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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