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View Full Version : Why is Sanctuary (by Season 4) not more popular?



Dean Grr
April 6th, 2012, 09:44 AM
Hello!

It's hard to look at a show you love from a distance, sometimes. If I went by the positive word of Sanctuary's fans and creators, the show ought to have 5 more seasons guaranteed!

Here's some thoughts on why Sanctuary isn't more popular, which doesn't necessarily speak to quality.

*Network,Scheduling: the biggest reason affecting viewers. It ran after wrestling on Friday nights, and when moved to Monday in Season 3, lost close to 50% of its audience. That's tough on any show, even one skillfully produced on a modest budget.

*Sanctuary is a mythology show: it's about monsters, "Abnormals" and about stigma and tolerance. It's partly serialized, and to understand the show you need to watch previous seasons. A first time viewer could have a hard time following the show. In a nutshell: it's a quirky, cult show whose themes don't relate well to mass audiences. It's not like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where fighting vampires is pop culture and going to high school is relatable.

* War on Terror: Sanctuary's references to terrorism and genocide, made the show more serious than usual, and I think the subject is painful given it has been analyzed closely for a decade now. It's good that Sanctuary weaves important issues into the show, but this dominated Season 4.

*No central antagonist: The threats that SCIU and the Hollow Earth tribes posed were diffuse, and lacked urgency, through most of the season.

*Lost its Ensemble-ness: If you like a sense of family, and ensemble shows, by Season 4, characters were dropped or had limited showtime (Kate, Druitt, Henry to a degree). The show also focused more on its leads (Magnus, Will), who were fighting each other a lot of the time in Season 4.

I'm not sure how to make a mythology show more accessible to a larger audience. In the past, this meant dumbing down a show (i.e. mindless action), which I'm sure no one wants Sanctuary to do. Perhaps there's just a limitation to what a cult show like Sanctuary can do.

Snowman37
April 6th, 2012, 11:04 AM
It's an obscure cable show. If not for GateWorld and the SciFi Channel, I never would have heard of it. Meanwhile, Stargate: Atlantis was advertised like crazy. Consequently, I know people who aren't science-fiction fans yet made an exception for the show. Advertising equals awareness equals more viewers.

Dean Grr
April 6th, 2012, 12:33 PM
Advertising equals awareness equals more viewers.
You're probably right that a lot more advertising (and therefore more $$) would mean more viewers. My argument is that even if you think Sanctuary has good ideas, good writing, that its material (the sanctuary, abnormals) attracts a small group of viewers (ardent viewers, but cult status). The main problem is, that whatever assertions we make, how can we tell what really makes the difference in ratings? (A reasoned debate will usually yield good answers, but it's not easy to prove).

Dean

blueray
April 11th, 2012, 07:43 PM
ot i agree somewhat other than the part with less henry (there was lot more of him in season 4 :) ), and i loved how you saw bits of his and helen's relationship (she raised him, i just wish there was a flashback on that).

that being said i love sanctuary for its uniqueness and that it doesn't quite fit into strictly fantasy or sci-fi but crosses into both. the only thing i would really change is that i wish that there was more group episodes (like hangover), its great to see them act like a team and i wish there were more scenes showing them socialize like friends or family.

Skydiver
April 12th, 2012, 06:28 PM
What made it so interesting to me is tossing bits of real history into it all...brings up the fun with early SG1, when they were dealing with 'gods' that were from earth's history.

Seeing the 'monsters' that were real earth legends. It brings the whole 'what if' into it that's a lot of fun.

MasySyma
April 13th, 2012, 01:55 PM
Season 4 was weaker for so many reasons:

The best characters were absent or poorly used. Druitt's "ending" needed much resolution or reaction. Tesla didn't have enough to do. Kate was gone too often, and Biggie gone "evil" made him essentially disappear as well.

Officials from planet moron running various oversight committees. Many shows weaken or die when they attempt to add a governmental structure where they didn't have one before. Restoring the Commonwealth killed Andromeda, and with each new government official that couldn't understand the SG-universe all three shows weakend. Sanctuary was cool because it was outside of those systems, until it suddenly wasn't.

Too much concept, not enough substance. Fugue was a great example of this, and I am not complaining about the mediocre singing. That episode has a weak story. The bottle episode with the electro-rock has the same problem. So did the ice critter one. I saw too much Gavin, snotty Will, and Abby.

Will. I haven't liked him since the days of his dancing, but leaving the viewers with WAY too much Will when everyone else was gone did not make me appreciate Will. It made me hate him more and miss the others even more.

Few Awesome episodes. Fourth season lacks a Normandy. Chimera is good, but why it is good is that the preceding episodes are weak.

I still hope the show gets renewed but only if the crew is back and the show is not full of filler. I either want good Sanctuary or no Sanctuary. I'd rather remember the great episodes on DVD than turn away from the show while it still airs.

Dean Grr
April 13th, 2012, 02:36 PM
Many shows weaken or die when they attempt to add a governmental structure where they didn't have one before ... Sanctuary was cool because it was outside of those systems, until it suddenly wasn't.

Thanks, it's not something I've considered before. Bureaucracy is boring on tv and real life, and hard to spell ...;)


Will. I haven't liked him since the days of his dancing, but leaving the viewers with WAY too much Will when everyone else was gone did not make me appreciate Will. It made me hate him more and miss the others even more.

If there's a universal theme, it's that Will has changed, and not for the better. Melodrama does not great storytelling make, but does make it slightly harder to fall asleep. Ah, that's what the volume button is for ...


I'd rather remember the great episodes on DVD than turn away from the show while it still airs.

Can't agree more. No season is better than a bad one, absolutely, relatively speaking ;)

fems
April 14th, 2012, 04:08 AM
Personally I really dislike the Will character and think RD's acting is awful, which often ruins episodes that heavily focus on him. Especially one of those bottle episodes, with just him and Magnus. It just highlights the contrast between AT and RD's acting and it takes away from my enjoyment.

Also don't like how, as the show progressed, it seemed more like a Will and the gang show (with juvenile humor and Will/Abby "half-clothed on the couch"-scenes) with Magnus being the boss/mother. Instead of Magnus teaching her protege (or said protege actually acting like one) and with her capable other employees.

And like someone else said it's a shame we didn't see more Druitt and Tesla, because they are excellent characters and personally I think their actors and AT are more in the same league when it comes to acting, which makes their scenes all the better.

NumberSix
April 14th, 2012, 08:19 AM
Season 4 was weaker for so many reasons:

The best characters were absent or poorly used. Druitt's "ending" needed much resolution or reaction. Tesla didn't have enough to do. Kate was gone too often, and Biggie gone "evil" made him essentially disappear as well.

Officials from planet moron running various oversight committees. Many shows weaken or die when they attempt to add a governmental structure where they didn't have one before. Restoring the Commonwealth killed Andromeda, and with each new government official that couldn't understand the SG-universe all three shows weakend. Sanctuary was cool because it was outside of those systems, until it suddenly wasn't.

Too much concept, not enough substance. Fugue was a great example of this, and I am not complaining about the mediocre singing. That episode has a weak story. The bottle episode with the electro-rock has the same problem. So did the ice critter one. I saw too much Gavin, snotty Will, and Abby.

Will. I haven't liked him since the days of his dancing, but leaving the viewers with WAY too much Will when everyone else was gone did not make me appreciate Will. It made me hate him more and miss the others even more.

Few Awesome episodes. Fourth season lacks a Normandy. Chimera is good, but why it is good is that the preceding episodes are weak.

I still hope the show gets renewed but only if the crew is back and the show is not full of filler. I either want good Sanctuary or no Sanctuary. I'd rather remember the great episodes on DVD than turn away from the show while it still airs.

I agree with what you said about Druitt and Tesla, and it seemed like just what I started to actually like Kate, rather than just tolerate her, she was gone.

Good point about governments and the SG shows. That scenario is getting overused, imo.

While I don't HATE Will, it did seem like he was being pushed to the forefront too much for my liking. And I liked him better when he acted more serious and intelligent (the profiler) instead of whining so much.


Personally I really dislike the Will character and think RD's acting is awful, which often ruins episodes that heavily focus on him. Especially one of those bottle episodes, with just him and Magnus. It just highlights the contrast between AT and RD's acting and it takes away from my enjoyment.

Also don't like how, as the show progressed, it seemed more like a Will and the gang show (with juvenile humor and Will/Abby "half-clothed on the couch"-scenes) with Magnus being the boss/mother. Instead of Magnus teaching her protege (or said protege actually acting like one) and with her capable other employees.

And like someone else said it's a shame we didn't see more Druitt and Tesla, because they are excellent characters and personally I think their actors and AT are more in the same league when it comes to acting, which makes their scenes all the better.


*nods in agreement*
IDK maybe SyFy was trying to appeal to the younger audience by having Will that way, but I didn't like it, and I don't like the way Magnus had to "mother" him rather than relate to him like someone she hoped would one day step in and run the Sanctuary.

CH and JY are both excellent actors and I so wish we had more episodes with their characters. And I liked seeing CH best as Druitt rather than Biggie.

fems
April 14th, 2012, 08:36 AM
*nods in agreement*
IDK maybe SyFy was trying to appeal to the younger audience by having Will that way, but I didn't like it, and I don't like the way Magnus had to "mother" him rather than relate to him like someone she hoped would one day step in and run the Sanctuary.

Considering I am part of that younger audience I feel they failed, miserably... :rolleyes:

Skydiver
April 14th, 2012, 08:49 AM
I also feel there was a skiffy influence in Will's 'up front and center' presence. There seems to be a pattern with Skiffy and the 'male lead must be in front' idea.

MasySyma
April 14th, 2012, 10:22 AM
I also feel there was a skiffy influence in Will's 'up front and center' presence. There seems to be a pattern with Skiffy and the 'male lead must be in front' idea.

Yes, and they always turn the leading men into semi-buffoons. Cam, Shepard, and later Will are all the same "Guy."

If the wanted a leading man, they should have reformed Druit after they figured out how to destroy his creature.

jckfan55
April 14th, 2012, 02:48 PM
I agree about there being too much (immature) Will. I wasn't a major Kate fan, but her absence hurt the balance. I wasn't a big fan of the going up against government agencies story arc either. Magnus, the Five and the abnormals are always the most interesting to me.

Deevil
April 14th, 2012, 03:25 PM
Yes, and they always turn the leading men into semi-buffoons. Cam, Shepard, and later Will are all the same "Guy."

If the wanted a leading man, they should have reformed Druit after they figured out how to destroy his creature.

In all fairness, Cam and Shepard were probably the same guy because the SG writers thought that archotype was 'freaking awesome'. I very much doubt that had anything to do wih Skiffy.

About reforming Druitt, that would be a bad idea IMO. His darkness is an appeal, a reformation would get rid of that to a degree.

I think season 4 suffered from not being able to get hold of actors that they've been using so readily so improvasarion lead to some... Disappointment.

Skydiver
April 14th, 2012, 05:18 PM
druitt all the time would have been boring, imho

but they could have had declan more, and had him more as a partner to magnus....kinda like mommy and daddy to will growing up.

Teal'c_PI
April 15th, 2012, 12:27 PM
Yes, and they always turn the leading men into semi-buffoons. Cam, Shepard, and later Will are all the same "Guy."

I personally think O'Neill fits that description much more than Cam did, although I agree on Sheppard and Will too. Still, I think that their characters are somewhat more up to the writers/producers than Syfy themselves, although the network may also have a say. (I'm not very knowledgeable at all about how much influence the network has nowadays.)

As for Druitt and Tesla, I'm divided. I would've very much liked a lot more Druitt, because I'm a John/Helen shipper and to see their relationship explored just a bit more would have been wonderful.
But when it comes to Tesla, well...the last episode I saw with him, Awakening, was so unbelievably awful for me that even Tesla couldn't save it. It seemed to me as though they were beginning to simply bring him around just so he could wisecrack a bit, which in my opinion wasn't the best thing to do, especially when the rest of the storylines featuring him suffered as a result.
So basically, I'd love more Druitt, but I think Tesla was doing fine in cameos. Having him appear once in a blue moon just made his appearances all the more interesting to me.

I'm not a fan of Declan for reasons that I still can't figure out, so I wouldn't've minded him not showing up at all :o

suse
April 15th, 2012, 06:32 PM
druitt all the time would have been boring, imho

but they could have had declan more, and had him more as a partner to magnus....kinda like mommy and daddy to will growing up.


I loves Ravi. :) I was sooo disappointed.

Skydiver
April 16th, 2012, 02:59 AM
Ravi would have been good....just another 'competent' male to be a counterpart to Magnus...and by that I mean someone to bounce ideas off of, maybe that bridged the gap between 'young learning human' and 'immortal know it all abnormal'


I wouldn't have even minded Will being put forth were he behaving more like he did in the earlier seasons. It was like after Kali he regressed to immature male and never pulled out of it...and was never called on it either. It could have been a good point and plot for him if his acting out was a reaction to the stress and trauma of dying and perhaps losing his humanity, but it was never addressed that way.

Rogue immature male seems to be an archtype scifi writers are fond of...maybe they think it appeals to the younger viewers, but to this one (well i'm not a young viewer so maybe that's the issue) but i just want to smack him and tall him to grow up.

DigiFluid
April 16th, 2012, 04:53 AM
For my part, it was the writing and the terrible characters that drove me out and away at the end of Season 2.

The lack of any real central cohesive story kind of put me off. Well, 'put off' isn't the right wording, but it certainly contributed to me not wanting to bother anymore. There's no story unfolding, no major mysteries to be revealed (besides the Five, which was explained about half a dozen episodes in), and no central antagonist against which to contrast how the protagonists are good rather than just 'people doing stuff'
Will is about as cardboard cutout as I can possibly imagine. Flat, uninteresting, boring. Never mind that he never had much in the way of stories while I was watching, the fact that he was less a character and more there just to deliver lines means I just don't care about the character. Which is bad news, for a male lead.
Helen....gods help me, because Amanda Tapping certainly brings her all to the role, but the character was also dull. Yay, she's immortal, and had a thing with Druitt once. Yawn. The most exciting thing about her character was the very real possibility of friction with Ashley, but that was never really explored and then Ashley got killed off.
Bigfoot: Alright, so there's a sasquatch wandering the halls, making tea and doling out Pez dispenser personal advice. Oh how insufferably quirky. Sigh.
Kate/actress, though, my god. I was ready to see her die in a gruesome fashion at the end of her first episode on the show. By the end of Season 2, my hatred had reached critical mass and I just couldn't take any more.
Can't just blame it all on one character/actress though; frankly I found much of the writing--when it wasn't cringe-inducing--to be just dull and uninspired. Between the characters not getting any development to pique my interest and being really just nothing more than glorified plot devices to push forward one inane plot after another, the whole thing was just very tedious to watch.
And then occasionally, it crossed into the truly ludicrous which was so bad it wasn't worth watching anymore. See: the Season 2 finale. When they started having Will do his LSD Bollywood number, I shut it off without bothering to finish the ep and never looked back. I've had absolutely zero interest in going back to it.

In retrospect, I find the only things I remember fondly are a) how attractive Emilie Ullerup is (hey, I'm a guy :p); b) Heyerdahl as Druitt was always a treat to see; and c) Tesla. But then in Season 2, they had a bunch of high school drama club rejects playing z-movie teenagers who neuter Tesla, one of the show's only interesting characters. Good god.



/sorry AT, Kindler, ex-SG people, I really wanted to like the show
//the words of a disgruntled ex-fan

Gundula
April 16th, 2012, 09:42 PM
I have to agree about Will, he gets too much screen time. He has no backstory, he's not interesting, he isn't even abnormal... he's just plain boring.
I would like to see more of Druitt or Tesla, and more episodes like Normandy, about the past of Helen and the gang.
I also miss Worth as a villain, I think they let him go way too soon.

And about the advertising... well, I'm here too because of Stargate. If it wasn't for it I don't think I've had come across Sanctuary.
In my country (Argentina) there is no channel that broadcasts it in regular cable. Almost nobody knows Sanctuary here.
But anyway, I love the show and I really want a fifth season.

Skydiver
April 17th, 2012, 03:02 AM
For me, Worth died just when he needed to. But I don't have much patience for 'immortal arch nemesis'

will had promise, but he seemed to get caught up in his mid life crisis and went off the deep end and got mired in immaturity. He just wasn't worthy of Helen, if you get what I mean. Miss 140 year old relative immortal who's rubbed elbows with presidents and scholars chooses a spoiled brat obsessing over where to eat dinner as her protogee?

Gundula
April 20th, 2012, 09:00 PM
will had promise, but he seemed to get caught up in his mid life crisis and went off the deep end and got mired in immaturity. He just wasn't worthy of Helen, if you get what I mean. Miss 140 year old relative immortal who's rubbed elbows with presidents and scholars chooses a spoiled brat obsessing over where to eat dinner as her protogee?
Couldn't agree more. I never understood the ending of Fugue when Helen tells him she couldn't be more proud of him and that he could run the Sanctuary network brilliantly... really?? he was *****ing the entire episode!
Really, Will needs to go or a better storyline.

Dean Grr
June 12th, 2012, 05:26 PM
Just watched "Uprising" and Sanctuary gets better with more viewings. There's a lot happening here, and I missed the importance of the Basilisk feeding ground the first time round. I agree with another reviewer, that Uprising should be watched before Tempus, since Magnus' fate would still be in doubt. Also, Will did a fine job as Sanctuary leader here, and there was none of the immaturity seen in other episodes.

...

It would be fun, as a producer like the Beedie group, to be able to sponsor a project like Sanctuary. Anyways, it's fun to dream ... :)

Thank-you to everyone who's posted and shared your thoughts on Sanctuary. - Dean

JanineGrant2
June 17th, 2012, 02:01 PM
RIP Sanctuary...I really wish that they had not cancelled it