Ta Da! Here it is at last! A week or so late but here nonetheless. One thing to keep in mind is that we both had a little trouble getting into a review frame of mind because of the format. Both RealmOfX (RoX) and I are used to reviewing complete episodes of approximately 45 minutes with the occasional 2 or 3 parter thrown in and they have a certain format or style. We haven't quite come to grips with Sanctuary's format yet, it isn't episodic TV as we are used to nor is it truely serialised so we decided to treat it as a 2 hour movie that has been broken into 8 parts. It may not mean anything to people reading this but we had to establish a frame of mind to review this.
Here be spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet (WHY NOT??) and don't want to be spoiled, adios amigos.
This webisode has a touch of many things, sinister plottings, a drawn out death, fear and discovery, humour, puzzles, danger and scones! Oh yes, and Ashley got to speak!
Ashley speaks! and what an attitude! That is one little spitfire and I can see many things possible for the young lady. She is definitely kick butt, however she is cocky and incautious and I see a lot of learning life lessons in a difficult manner in her future. Ashley's relationship with her mother shall prove to be interesting and I hope complex as things develop. It was obvious that Helen has high standards and holds herself and her daughter to them and we saw an understandable clash when Ashley was tired and cranky after they captured Alexei. She certainly gave her mother a mouthful and I look forward to more sparkage on this front.
One thing I want to know about Ashley is how did she move so quietly dropping down right behind the guards and not be heard? She also made a comment to Helen "Tall dude, moves faster than me, if that's possible". Implying that she is very fast,so does Ashley have special powers, is she an Abnormal? or is she just extremely fit and is supremely confident / over confident in her skills? Time will tell I suppose.
Dr Zimmerman's introduction to Sanctuary began with a humorous faint in the shower, though I must admit I cringed at the double clunk of the bathtub when he hit bottom. His second attack of the vapours was not so funny but his awakening chat with Helen was quite humorous. Now whilst I do enjoy humour and this webisode was quite humorous in a nice low key manner. Here's hoping that they keep it light as a touch of humour can do wonders for a dark subject but as humour is very subjective it can, if overused, lead to turning off huge sections of fans.
I wasn't overly sold on Will's introduction to Sanctuary though. I can see that we are being introduced to Sanctuary through the newcomer Will but maybe a bit more on reasoning as to why he was chosen as her new protege would have been more beneficial. I got that she saw something in him in his interview of Tolson and she deliberately tweaked his interest to see how he would react but I think there was something missing between the parlour scene and Helen and Will turning up at the crime scene in the rail tunnel. Mainly what was missing is a bloody good reason why Will went straight from scepticism to going out on a hunt with Helen. Why? Because of Helen's impassioned speech? I just thought it needed something a little more as the jump was too abrupt, though that scene change with the river view of the city was impressive.
Also, why was Sasquatch sent to Will's apartment? Was Helen with him? Did Helen plan it that way, to first approach him after his interview with Tolson and liking what she saw of his reactions then followup quickly with a visit by Sasquatch? Again to judge his reaction. Maybe.
I'm totally impressed with how Amanda Tapping and Christopher Heyerdahl are bringing their characters to light. Both are obviously complex characters so I'm hesitant to comment too much on them so early in the piece except that I am looking forward to seeing so much more from the pair of them. John Druitt totally creeps me out and I loved the whole "I love the dark" bit with Alexei. Helen is more of an enigma at this stage and we will obviously get snippets from her long life as things progress but what impresses me the most is not once have I thought "Oh this is Amanda playing a new character", it's always been "Hey here's this new character Helen and I want to know more about her". I've always been impressed by Amanda's acting, she is always so totally in character and it's impressive. Her non vocal acting always conveys feelings, her facial expressions, body posture etc. AND most of it is so subtle that you don't consciously notice it, she simply becomes the character. If you want to know what I'm talking about just go watch a Season 1 episode of Stargate: SG-1 and then one in the later Seasons and compare it to this webisode, also try viewing with the sound off. You'll see how totally into the character she is and how she constantly adapts the character over time, truely impressive.
Now on to some of the more physical aspects of the show, the sound track continued on with it's great form from the first webisode but there were a couple of spots with the visuals that jarred. On the whole I think the show is absolutely amazing in it's audio and visual presentation but two things did jar me out of my watching the story unfold. They were as the car entered through the gates, whats with the fake slow bouncing? Why not just move forward and continue with the motion established on approach to the gates? The other was in the tunnel with Helen and the torch (flashlight), they managed to transform Helen into a one dimensional shadow and that totally distracted me.
Actually Rox and I were discussing if they had deliberately lightened the show after some complaints of it being too dark, and that this might account for some of the effects being more noticeable? Mostly I don't even notice that the majority of the background is green screened and that is a major plus. Keep up the good work!
So 33 minutes into the pilot and I'm loving it, this webisode was very good even with a couple of niggly problems and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Catch ya later,