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Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2008

Format: TV
By:   Amanda Tapping
Genre:   Sci-fi
Review Date:   October 03, 2008
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)

"The kid sucks brains! Not that I'm being judgmental." -- Comic relief guy who did not immediately get killed

This new series on Sci Fi has a mermaid, a Bigfoot, a Roger Corman carnosaur, a bald guy in a leather jacket, and an action chick who looks like Janice from the Muppet Show.

Sanctuary, the first show named after a hunchback's catch phrase, stars Amanda Tapping, Carter from 10,000 episodes of Stargate SG-1. I don't hold that against her, because this show has some promise. It's also got some good old-fashioned sci-fi goofiness.

The debut spends too much time in the boring real world with the guy who will be our viewpoint guy. He's a police analyst who is really observant but his co-workers think he is nuts. He has a dark secret involving what appears to be Ozzy Ozbourne's "Bark at the Moon" video.

But Helen Magnus takes him away from all that and now he works for her. The first episode goes very, very slowly before the CGI money shot of the Sanctuary mansion and the explanation of the plot and backstory.

They keep dangerous monsters away from innocents and they keep safe the ones who won't suck out your brains. But then Magnus says they don't call them "monsters." They call them "abnormals."

How is that better? Why don't they call them crazy-ass freaks?

This is where it broke down for me. So Sanctuary is like a zoo, and a prison, an aquarium, and loft apartments. The concept is explained a little, but not enough.

The first episode spends way too much time with a crazy ass freak boy with a brain-sucking snake for a hand. So much that, I believed, Brain Sucking Snake-Hand Boy would be a regular cast member. But nope. After the new guy befriends him, the boy is never mentioned again. What will he and his brain-sucking snake hand do all day? Did they chain him to a fence post?

The new guy makes a big deal out of how young and hot Magnus looks, which you should always do with a new boss, except then Magnus reveals she's immortal. She has a 20-something action chick daughter. He really says, "Did you have her when you were 12?"

But Magnus totally looks like she's old enough to be the chick's mother. That's totally OK, Amanda Tapping is still good-lookin'. But this is like when the strippers on Baywatch goo-gooed over the star of the show's Hasselhoffian man-perm and barrel chest.

"Your sensitivity is breathtaking." -- Magnus

It picks up some, after that, except for Magnus going in and out of an English accent. The team's resident strong guy looks like a Geico caveman, but he might be a Bigfoot. Any Bigfoot is better than none.

The arch-enemy is imposing and cool, and looks like the lead singer of Midnight Oil. How can he sleep when the beds are burning? When someone tries to run from him, he plainly states "I'll beat you there." He and Magnus have history, which leads to a flashback of Magnus in a giant Victorian hat and a flouncey evening gown, pointing a blunderbuss at him.

The CGI is a neat idea, but I want more of it. I want it to be CGIed till the virtual cows come home.

What I want is a crazy world with crazy ass freak fighting and scenery. The drawing stuff on a computer instead of building an expensive set offers an open world of fun stuff. I want to go go whole-assed, as opposed to half-assed. If the show does not do that, it's their fault, not my expectations.'

With CGI, they can do anything. So I want them to do anything. Including more Bigfoot.

RevolutionSF's Joe Crowe learns from the deadly as well as the benign.

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