Finding Sanctuary

Finding Sanctuary

By ARYEH DEAN COHEN
October 22, 2009 16:25
3 minute read.
sanctuary 88

sanctuary 88. (photo credit: )

We're still trying to track down our neighbor's daughter, whose spine-chilling screams that keep us up on Shabbat afternoons make us certain she belongs in Sanctuary. That would be a strange-looking, dark series of buildings and underground passages that form the backdrop to the research center run by Dr. Helen Magnus on the show of the same name, currently airing on YES Stars Action and sure to be fun for those who like things that go bump in the night. With definite parallels to shows like Torchwood - whose team works to keep an eye on aliens at loose around the world - we caught Sanctuary (or most of it), a Canadian series made originally for the Internet and then expanded and put on the Syfy channel, in its debut episode by checking it out on MegaVideo. We definitely liked most of what we saw (darn 52 minutes viewing limitation time cut off the last 10 minutes or so), especially Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis) as Dr. Helen Magnus, a 157-year-old woman who runs Sanctuary, an organization which takes in "things in this city, in this world, that no one wants to admit are real," or as she prefers to call them, "Abnormals." Into her world stumbles police psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman, a police forensic psychiatrist who sees the world a little differently than the cops he works with would like. When the cops are convinced there's a reasonable rationale for a crime - like the shooting of three people in an apartment lived in by a number of Russian immigrants in the opening episode, including two cops - Will can sense there's more to it. And when he senses it, we get all kinds of weird flashes across the tube to make sure we know Will's got some weird sixth sense. Indeed, Will - who's the laughing stock of the regular cops and whose career and love life are going nowhere fast - just knows it wasn't a regular shooting, but the work of a young boy with a strange power who he notices and begins pursuing. And it's while he's in pursuit of the kid that Magnus literally runs into him, determined to add him to her team. "Not the way I'd hoped we'd meet," she says dryly, the knocked-out Will suddenly having a a nightmare about his mother and a monster. When he awakens, he meets her again, with Magnus urging him to "face the truth you've been seeking since you were a child," and handing him a card reading: "Dr. Helen Magnus -- Sanctuary for All." Well, we all know nightmares come true, especially in dark, scary series like this one, which could go a bit lighter on the thunderstorms, but otherwise is fun to watch. So is Christopher Heyerdahl as tall, bald John Druitt, Magnus's former lover, who is in town looking for her, and not carrying flowers. "I'm looking for a sanctuary - it takes in the most unusual guests," he hisses at a prostitute he meets while on the hunt before killing her, desperate to unlaunch the evil forces within Sanctuary for his own purposes. Will eventually gives in, heading with Magnus to her menagerie of the damned or simply unfortunate with her daughter Ashley - her love child from John and from whom she inherited his ability to teleport through time and space and who is around to provide muscle and Valley Girl talk - Henry the computer geek, later revealed to also be a werewolf and who provides comic relief, and then there's Bigfoot, the hairiest butler, chauffeur and body guard around and from whom she removed "more than a few bullets." We're not sure Will's therapy would work with the screaming girl across the block, or with those mean folks at Megavideo who cut us off, but we definitely liked the show, whose premiere revealed that Will knew as a boy that his mother was killed by a monster. And there's a whole lot more to Magnus's story, too, at least based on what we read online. With that to go on, it's no wonder we felt compelled to see more, had not the Megavideo struck. Still, we're not the only fans -- the debut drew more than three million viewers for Syfy, the highest number since Eureka. While not all's gold in this supernatural offering, it does keep you wanting more - more creatures, more explanations, more of just about everything. That is, everything but more crying from that little girl across the street. Sanctuary, somebody, sanctuary! Sanctuary airs on Sundays on YES Stars Action at 1:15 p.m.


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