Scifi Channel finds Sanctuary

by Paul William Tenny

sanctuary.jpgI found it too, albeit I never actually saw it, I knew where it was! It was on a crappy website which was the only place you could actually see the series, which will in the end probably be remembered not so much as a pioneer, but one of those "ahead of its time" shows, like early scripted dramas that paved the way for the likes of 24, and Lost.

This is actually worthy news because this is the second instance where a show was created outside of the studio system, for digital consumption only. Meaning it was made with a smaller budget, with shorter episodes, viewable only on the Internet via its home website. If that sounds familiar, NBC recently announced that it was bringing Quarterlife from the Internets to the airwaves, although I think that had far more to do with NBC being very desperate for new content during the strike -- more so than any of its less ratings-challenged competitors.
QL may have gotten an order and made the leap to television first, but Sanctuary has been around a lot longer. I think you actually had to pay to see those episodes too, which is probably why I didn't jump on that particular bandwagon. There may come a day when we get all our "tv" entertainment from the Internet, and pay for it on an episode-by-episode basis as well, but that day isn't here quite yet, and I didn't really think Sanctuary looked like it was worth the price of admission.

In fact, the first episode of Quarterlife which I have seen, kind of sucked. I'm surprised NBC bought it and I'll be even more surprised if it finds a foothold there. Some of the later episodes may have found their way, but if the first episode could be considered a pilot, I didn't buy into it.

So comes the news a few days ago, as I alluded to, that the Scifi Channel is bringing Sanctuary offline and onto your TV sets sometime this year. There is another difference between the two shows that I think is actually quite significant, but is an unpredictable element as to whether or not it will contribute to the demise or success of either show.

Quarterlife had already been produced at the time NBC acquired the rights to air it, and because the writers strike is still on-going, NBC was forced into a position where it couldn't reshoot the series itself, or even do much editing to change the story structure. NBC was going to have air it "as-is", stitching all the shorter episodes together to form something they could fill a half-hour block with. I don't know if the strike will be over before QL airs, and maybe NBC will not end up airing it at all if the WGA signs a deal in the next couple of days.

Sanctuary, while already produced, apparently is going to get a makeover with a new full production of the first season. Where the original bits were shot using mostly CGI backgrounds, this new version figures to use real stages and sets which should provide a nice bump in visual quality.

But will it actually be any good? Was the material already shot and aired any good?

Who knows, but thankfully we'll find out sometime this summer.

**The Quarterlife premier on NBC got moved back to February 26th at 10pm EST (the dead slot on Tuesday night where nobody will see it), and will then take up residence on March 2nd on Sundays at 9pm EST, where nobody really will see it.
in Digital Media, Internet, Streaming Video, Television


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