Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Asylum from Sanctuary

This is not a review of Amanda Tapping and her awful, awful fake British accent. Or her abysmally un-fitting new hair color. This is a review of the first two episodes of a TV show that I really, really want to like, because I have a huge crush on Lt. Col. Samantha Carter.1

I like a lot of the elements of the show. The problem is that I’ve seen them all somewhere else.

I like the concept of collecting the things of this earth that most people wouldn’t understand; containing the dangerous, and learning from the benign. It reminds me a lot of Warehouse 13. (Sanctuary premiered over 9 months earlier.)

I like the character of Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), who combines the youth and psychological expertise of Dr. Sweets (from Bones), a proximity to the field of forensics (every single character in Bones), the looks of Harry Potter, the hyper-observational skills (with nearly identical special effects) of Shawn Spencer (from Psych), and my rippling abs. After two episodes, he’s shown himself to be inquisitive, intelligent, serious, resourceful, well written (not a compliment you want to give most people to their face; “Hi, you’re very well written ... Um, I mean punctual …”) and overall very likeable.

I also like the character of Ashley Magnus (played by Emilie Ullerup), who I can only describe to you as a combination of the young, headstrong, and street-savvy Elle (from Heroes, played by Veronica Mars), and the overdressed Kristanna Loken (“The Terminatrix” from T3), who I hope can avoid Elle’s anticlimactic storyline, and the disappointing cancellation of Loken’s Painkiller Jane.

Next, I like Christopher Heyerdahl’s character, John Druitt, who we learn is (SPOILER ALERT) … none other than Jack the Ripper. I don’t have a particularly good reason for that, other than that I like the actor.

Finally, I don’t like Amanda Tapping’s character. And honestly, it’s only because of the extremely unnatural hair color and the really, really, really, really, really, really bad British accent. I mean, it’s Army of Darkness bad. It’s MST3K-fodder bad. It’s maybe-we-should-just-be-friends bad.

I’ve compared every character and aspect of the show to something else, because nothing feels truly original.2 And if you thought for a moment that the collection of abnormal creatures was potentially original because Sanctuary premiered before Warehouse 13, then clearly I forgot to mention that there is time travel involved, and clearly you’ve never seen ITV’s show, Primeval. (I’m a huge fan.)

If I keep watching Sanctuary, it will be in hopes that Robin Dunne’s character continues to get the best writing.

And that Amanda Tapping’s accent will improve.3

1 - Though it is common knowledge that Major Samantha Carter was hotter.
2 - Granted, this doesn’t bother me in the least.
3 - It will also mean that I’ve run out of episodes of Leverage, Eureka, and Lost to watch on Netflix, and Highlander, Kyle XY, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Psych, Warehouse 13, and Gravity to watch on Hulu, and that I’m not in the mood for a rerun of Lie to Me. Or re-re-watching all 10 seasons of Stargate: SG-1.

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