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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Aliens > TV > Sanctuary: The Complete Third Season (2010 – 2011/E1 Blu-ray Set)

Sanctuary: The Complete Third Season (2010 – 2011/E1 Blu-ray Set)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: A     Episodes: B



This six-disc boxed set collects all twenty episodes of the the Third Season of the popular Syfy Canadian supernatural/science fiction drama series.  Featuring Amanda Tapping, the unchallenged queen of sci-fi ensemble television, Sanctuary follows a model that is very similar to Marvel Comics’ X-Men.  Tapping plays Helen Magnus, a seemingly ageless scientist and researcher whose mission is to find and protect “abnormals,” beings with amazing powers who could prove a danger to themselves and others.  Like Professor-X from the X-Men, Magnus surrounds herself with a special crew of individuals, many of them also abnormals. 


Born in 2008 from a series of “webisodes,” Sanctuary’s characters and plots have matured significantly, and this can be clearly seen in season three’s individual episodes and over-arching plot.  Once a member of a quintet of VIctorian era scientists, Magnus now knows that one of her fellows, John Druitt (wonderfully played by Christopher Heyerdahl, who also plays the Bigfoot character) has turned evil.  Complicating matters is the fact that Magnus and he were once lovers.  Magnus must also come to grips with lingering guilt over the loss of her daughter, Ashely, in Season Two. 


Opposing the Sanctuary in its mission is the Cabal, a shadowy organization who wants to incite a war between abnormals and humans.  This again closely parallels Marvel’s X-Men, as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (among others) try to inflame hatred and sew violence between humans and mutants.  This certainly does not rob the show of any of its originality, but on the contrary, gives its core audience something familiar to latch onto.  Individual episodes and performances in the show also make it easy to lose oneself in. 


Beginning with a bang, season three’s opening episode, “Kali” features a massive tidal wave threatening to engulf Mumbai.  The rest of the season rollicks along with immolating abnormals, unintended bank heists, hidden Cabal labs, insect-laden super-suits, hidden werewolf enclaves, a madman from Magnus’ past, bizarre body-jumping parasites, and much more!  Through all of the individual stories in each episode, a larger season arc progresses that involves the discovery of a previously unknown city (Hollow Earth).  The season ends in a thrilling cliffhanger as Maguns pursues a familiar and deadly villain back in time.


Just about all of the twenty episodes are really strong, but “Out of the Blue” indulges in a now trite artifice of having two characters (Magnus and Will) awaken to seemingly normal lives in suburban North America.  Will lives his “normal” life as a cardiac surgeon, and Magnus is an artist.  Of course, we know this is some kind of illusion or put-on, and the characters are plagued by weird dreams as they fight against the unreality of their seemingly normal lives.  We’ve seen this before in so many guises that it just falls a bit flat.  The show’s writers and producers were looking to throw a bit of a change-up, but fans tune into Sanctuary to see supernatural action, not a humdrum battle against suburban ennui. Despite this bump in the road, season three does boast solid stories overall.


This box features plentiful extras, and includes several making-of featurettes (Visual Effects for season three, Amanada Tapping directs “One Night,” “Hollow Earth,” a Damian Kindler as director special, The Music of Sanctuary, Behind the Scenes of the spisode “Normandy,” and a character profile of Nikola Tesla.  Longtime fans will want this to add to their collections, but new fans will likely want to check out seasons one and two before diving into this one.



-   Scott Pyle


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