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Series: Sanctuary Escapes The Web

Samantha Carter’s time as the head of the Stargate Program’s Atlantis mission is apparently coming to a close. As Stargate: Atlantis hits the midpoint of it’s fourth season, comes news that Amanda Tapping’s involvement in the series fifth season will be limited to a (currently unknown) number of guest appearances. However, what makes this news more interesting than disappointing — aside from the fact that Tapping has been, so far, criminally underused in Atlantis — is that Tapping’s other project has been picked up for a 13 episode run on the SciFi channel.

That other project is the web series SANCTUARY. Sanctuary is an eight part (so far) hi-def web series in which Tapping plays Dr. Helen Magnus, a character who seeks to find and provide a safe haven [Get it – Sanctuary!] for all manner of unusual creatures. The series also features Robin Dunne, Emilie Ullerup, Christopher Heyerdahl and has played host to many a face familiar to any fans of the Stargate shows.

What is immediately apparent — and clearly sets Sanctuary apart from most other web only series — is the quality of the production. Created using similar methods to those used in the production of movies like Sin City and 300, Sanctuary is shot almost entirely in front of a green-screen, with virtual sets and environments added later.

The series is the creation of Australian born writer / producer, Damian Kindler (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis) and producer / director, Martin Wood (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis). Kindler, Wood, Tapping and Sam Egan (Northern Exposure, The Outer Limits) act as Executive Producers for the series, which again serves as evidence that this series is beyond your normal web focused content. What is interesting, and affirmation that some who work in the entertainment industry are starting to take the internet seriously as a delivery method for their work, is that this team of people chose to make Sanctuary in the first place.

Shows like LOST and HEROES use the web as an asset to a large degree and The SciFi channel’s AFTERWORLD is a true multi format series, however the team behind Sanctuary took a punt on a web only series and are now seeing returns. In fact, Tapping has so much faith in the future of Sanctuary that she has apparently turned down a ‘competitive offer’ to remain a series regular on Stargate Atlantis. Hopefully if Sanctuary sees success on the SciFi channel then we’ll be seeing more, high quality, web only content from others too (Joss Whedon, I’m looking at you!). [source] [source]

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    I agree, it’s about time the web was taken seriously as an alternative medium for seriel video content… and I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill, lowest-common-demoninator target “Youtube”.

    All we need now is a decent video content delivery service (Like Steam, but for video, and – here’s the kicker – not crap) that we can tune in to our favourite web series and watch it streaming from the Internet to our TV.

    And before anyone says “But Furious, this exists!”, I would like to point out that it should be “NOT CRAP”

    Or affiliated with Fox.

  • The problem is that most of the people trying to implement this think it’s a great idea to slap DRM on it to only allow it to be played on certain devices. If they use standard formats and distribute them via bittorrent, I think they’ll see that nerds would snatch it up…they’d actually be targeting our preferred distribution method. They could even continue to include commercials…savvy users would skip them or edit them out, while others would watch them- just like vanilla TV.

    I haven’t checked Sanctuary out yet. I’m wary of anything that the SciFi channel thinks is worth watching, but since this didn’t originate from them it stands a better chance.

  • xlke, Sanctuary is available in SD or HD .mov or .wmv files (not sure why they chose those formats) and doesn’t contain DRM. It is also available from which uses the Azurus bittorrent client however if your looking to buy it I’d encourage you to do it through the Sanctuary site.

  • Darren, I wasn’t speaking about Sanctuary specifically, but more about the general state of content distribution on the web. It is unfortunate that they picked .wmv and .mov…I can watch both, but would have to convert either one if I wanted to stream to my upnp-av devices.