Sanctuary Preview Webisode 7

01 March 2007

Sanctuary - A new Sci Fi series

There's a bit of a buzz building online about a new show called Sanctuary.

What's so special about Sanctuary? Well after hearing talk for the last few years about new mediums of entertainment, someone has actually bitten the bullet and aims to produce a "TV" show direct to the internet. A definite gutsy move and I shall be following it's progress closely with interest.

First off, what is Sanctuary? Sanctuary is the first high-end dramatic series produced and designed specifically for Internet distribution and immersive viewer interactivity. OK, so I stole that from the production company but what is it really? Well, the following is my understanding of the show and I'll provide links to various sites where you can get more information. The show itself is about the exploits of Helen Magnus, a 157 year old doctor from Victorian times, as she seeks out all manner of terrifying and monstrous creatures. Sanctuary is something that her father set up where he gathers disparate creatures like werewolves and such but at this stage we do not know exactly what it is. Helen is aided by her protege, Will Zimmerman, and her daughter Ashley. Helen was engaged to Jack the Ripper and apparently he is Ashley's father! I must admit that I'm not into horror but if it is kept at the level of say Buffy The Vampire Slayer then I can deal with it :) So that is a short but not very descriptive idea of what Sanctuary is about story wise though if you check out the Stage 3 Media site you'll get a better idea of it.

Now for the good stuff! Who is involved with Sanctuary and how do we get to view it?

Sanctuary was created by Damian Kindler. Do you recognise the name? If not, then think Stargate. Now keep on thinking Stargate as I mention more names : Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood, N. John Smith and from the gaming world Marc Aubanel. Sanctuary is produced by the Stage 3 Media corporation comprised of Damian Kindler, Marc Aubanel and Martin Palacios. The Executive producers are Damian Kindler, Amanda Tapping, N. John Smith and director Martin Wood. Amanda Tapping stars as Dr Helen Magnus (SQEEEEE!! Ooops, sorry. Fangurl moment there!), Robin Dunne (Dawson’s Creek, The Big Hit, Species 3) and Emilie Ullerup (Battlestar Galactica). The crew used for the pilot were from the most excellent crews of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis and the computer and Vis FX from people like Marc Aubanel (FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed, Marvel Nemesis), online designer John Kalangis, and computer graphics designer Ron Martin).

The first eight webisodes have been shot (approx. 2 hrs) and the majority of it was green screen. Yep, the backgrounds are virtual!! Cool huh? It's shot in High definition digital media (tapeless), a first I think for a show (as opposed to feature film). From information I've picked up from around the traps the first 4 webisodes are free and the rest will be competitively priced (I'm thinking comparative to ITunes). Cost wise I could live with that but I'll explain why at a later date. There's been no real word on the exact type of interactivity but new information comes to light each week so I'll keep updating on it. As for the delivery system although the exact method has not been revealed it has been said that they wish to stay away from proprietory stuff like ITunes and have the viewer be able to port things to their chosen medium, again more on that later as details come to light. The important things being no streaming (YAY) and no proprietory stuff (double YAY). They are also considering making the series available to DVD and Television in the near future (recognising that not everyone has the capacity to watch via the net.

So what are some of the good points about being an internet series? For me, it's worldwide delivery, no more of this waiting a year or two or more to get a series shown in my country. For the creative team, it's more control over their creation. No studio bosses interfering with their outdated success formulas to adhere to, which will hopefully provide a better quality SF show for us the viewer. It allows creative endeavours to be produced outside of the existing studio system which can be restrictive as to getting a project off the ground as well a stifling creativity. Actually the Executive producers have funded the initial endeavour themselves. In an interview recently with Martin Wood he said that because they aren't tied to the studio formula then they are free to shoot according to the story and not a fixed X minutes structured around ad breaks. I'm imagining director cut webisodes.

So far for advertising they have made a press release, a teaser video clip, Amanda Tapping has done an interview on Urban Rush and has other interviews lined up (one on internet radio I think), they've set up a website, Damian has started a blog, they are talking to the fans via blogs and forums, they have sought beta testers from the fans (now closed I believe) and they are releasing artwork and other goodies to the fans as they become available. So word is spreading and quite a few people have been known to say "Is it Spring yet?". The pilot is expected to debut sometime in May.

This lot are being brave and good on them I say. They are obviously breaking new ground here and are still ironing out details but they have a vision and a commitment to succeeding. They've put up their own money and amassed a lot of talent from various fields. I for one am very interested in how this project progresses and I wish them all success!!

Want more info? Then check out these sites :

The official Sanctuary site
Stage 3 Media site (Check out the presskit too)
Damien Kindler's Blog (both Damian and Marc have posted interesting stuff here)
Amanda Tapping's Urban Rush interview (a must see) on YouTube

If you are into fandom then check out these fan sites :
Sanctuary Forum
Sanctuary Fans Online
Gateworld Sanctuary thread
The Official Amanda Tapping Website
The Amanda Tapping Club

My thanks go out to my friend RealmOfX who convinced me to get off my butt and finally start a blog. I have yet to dream up a suitable retaliation. She also is my beta reader, devil's advocate and fellow SF nut who put me onto this exciting new show Sanctuary. I intend to keep track of this most interesting new show and will keep all of you posted.

Catch ya later,

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