The Sanctuary Network
Sanctuary   Webisode Guide   Episode Guide   Cast & Crew   Characters    
This article page is about the series. For the institution, see Sanctuary Network and Old City Sanctuary.

Sanctuary is a Canadian science fiction-fantasy television series, created by Damian Kindler and funded largely by the Beedie Development Group.[1] The show ran for four seasons, from 2008 to 2011. A six-episode fifth season was planned and eventually green-lit by Syfy but never made.

The show is an expansion of an eight-webisode series that was released through the internet in early 2007. Seeing the success of the web series, Syfy decided to buy the broadcast rights to the series and pay to re-stage the series in a season of thirteen episodes.[2]

The show centers on Dr. Helen Magnus, a 157-year-old[3] English scientist, and her team of experts who run the "Sanctuary", an organization that seeks out extraordinarily powerful creatures and people, known as abnormals, and tries to help and to learn from them while also having to contain the more dangerous ones.


This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Series overview.

Sanctuary follows the exploits of Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and her quest to protect various cryptids, legends, and abnormal animals/people with certain extraordinary powers and abilities (which most people would consider "monsters"). She heads the Sanctuary Network, which consists of large facilities known as "Sanctuaries" scattered throughout the world serving as safe havens for these "abnormals". She is initially aided in her quest by her reluctant protégé Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne); her intrepid, if somewhat reckless, daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup); the talkative geek and lycanthrope Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins), a computer and security expert; and her taciturn, Homo heidelbergensis-like assistant, played by Christopher Heyerdahl (whose character is unnamed, but listed as "Bigfoot" in the show's credits).[4]


This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Cast.[5]

Main characters[]

This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Main characters.[6]
Cast Character Description
Amanda Tapping Dr. Helen Magnus An English medical and scientific researcher who has devoted her life to both hunting and protecting abnormals — creatures with genetic abnormalities. She runs a "Sanctuary" in the fictional Old City, where the abnormals may find refuge while she attempts to help them and to understand them further.
Robin Dunne Dr. Will Zimmerman A forensic psychiatrist who is recruited by Helen Magnus to help her treat abnormals.
Emilie Ullerup Ashley Magnus
(seasons 12)
The daughter of Helen Magnus and John Druitt. Ashley is an expert monster hunter, and provides a counterbalance to Helen Magnus's desire to protect creatures.
Christopher Heyerdahl Bigfoot A former Neanderthal-like patient of Helen Magnus who would not leave after he recovered, so Helen Magnus offered him a position at the Sanctuary as a butler, chauffeur, body guard, and surgical aid.
Ryan Robbins Henry Foss
(seasons 24; recurring season 1)
A technological wiz and lycanthrope.
Agam Darshi Kate Freelander
(seasons 23; recurring season 4)
A con-artist with Cabal connection who has a vast knowledge of their tactics and movements. After she is hunted by the Cabal, she reluctantly switches sides to the Sanctuary Network, staying on as a member of the team.

Recurring characters[]

This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Recurring characters.[7]
Cast Character Season
Christopher Heyerdahl John Druitt Season 1, season 2, season 3, and season 4
Jonathon Young Nikola Tesla Guest season 1; season 2, season 3, and season 4
Peter Wingfield Dr. James Watson Season 1, season 2, season 3, and season 4
Robert Lawrenson Declan MacRae Season 2, season 3, and season 4
Lynda Boyd Dana Whitcomb Season 1 and season 2
Pauline Egan Erika Myers Season 3 and season 4
Ian Tracey Adam Worth Season 3 and season 4
Pascale Hutton Abby Corrigan Season 3 and season 4
Brian Markinson Greg Addison Season 4
Carlo Rota Richard Feliz Season 4


This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Production.

The series was produced by Stage 3 Media based in Vancouver, British Columbia, founded in 2006. The webisodes were filmed from January 3rd to January 31st, 2007, at Bridge Studios.[8] Sanctuary was filmed almost entirely using the green screen technique. Unlike many other shows, no elaborate sets are built for the scenes to be filmed; instead, they are created using CGI technology. Production on the television version of Sanctuary began in early 2008, with a reshooting of the pilot episode, "Sanctuary for All"..[9] [10] The first season cost an estimated $21 million (CAN), and filmed in Burnaby, British Columbia.[11] In December 2008, the series was confirmed to have been picked up for a second season of thirteen episodes.[12] The second season began production in the end of March/beginning of April, 2009. Guest stars for the second season include Agam Darshi, who will play con-artist Kate Freelander,[13] former "Stargate SG-1" actor Michael Shanks as Jimmy for the ninth episode, entitled "Penance",[14] and former "Stargate Atlantis" actor Paul McGillion, who will play Terrance Wexford, a character he played in the web series, in the final two episodes..[15]

Sanctuary was the first television series in North America to use the RED camera exclusively. The RED camera system does away with tape and film and records straight to a hard drive allowing the Anthem Visual Effects and the series' post production team immediate access to the day’s footage, and is capable of recording at resolutions up to 4096 horizontal by 2304 vertical pixels, four times the resolution of current day HD.[16] Along with being a primary cast member, Amanda Tapping was also an executive producer on the show, but according to Tapping herself in an interview with The Today Show, she does not get paid extra as an executive producer, mainly because what salary the executive producers would get would go towards paying for the sets, because the series was not backed up by a studio.[17] Although heavily reliant on virtual sets, a few episodes in the first season, including Episode 1x05 - "Kush" and Episode 1x09 - "Requiem", were filmed on practical sets, including the fuselage of an aircraft. The series also took a different filming style for the "Cloverfield"-esque Episode 1x11 - "Instinct".[12][18]

Broadcast and release[]

This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Broadcast and release.

Unlike traditional TV series, the primary distribution channel for Sanctuary was originally the Internet. Episodes were sold directly to viewers on the official website. The web episodes or "webisodes", are about 15–20 minutes in duration and were released bi-weekly. The success of the webisodes led the Syfy Channel to commission a thirteen-episode season for 2008.[2] The first four webisodes were rewritten and reshot as a two-hour premiere episode, "Sanctuary for All".[10] After the deal with the SciFi channel, the webisodes were moved to the Sci Fi network on[19]

Air dates, timeslots, and renewals[]

The series premiered on October 3rd, 2008, in both Canada and the United States and on October 6th in the United Kingdom. The premiere drew in more than 3 million viewers, making it the highest rated original series premiere for Syfy since "Eureka" debuted in July 2006.[20] The premiere two-parter, "Sanctuary for All", was a combination and rewriting of the first four webisodes and was followed by Episode 1x03 - "Fata Morgana", based on Webisodes 5-8. Amanda Tapping, with all of the original cast from the web series, made the transition to the television series.

A second season of 13 episodes aired in 2009–10,[12] and Sanctuary was renewed for a third season of 20 episodes on December 12th, 2009.[21] The second season premiered on Friday, October 9th, 2009, in the 10 pm timeslot.[22] In Australia, the program debuted on Pay Television's Sci Fi and on free-to-air channel ABC2, where season 1 started on March 1st, 2010, each Monday at 9:30 pm. Season 2 commenced on July 12th, 2010, in the same timeslot.[23]

Season 3 premiered Friday, October 15th, 2010, on Syfy in its original 10 pm timeslot.[24] In January 2011, Sanctuary was renewed for a fourth season, which finished airing on December 30th, 2011.[25] On May 21st, 2012, Syfy announced that Sanctuary will not be returning for a fifth season and that the show has been cancelled.[26] [27] [28] [29]

On October 8th, 2012, PPI Releasing announced that it would distribute the series in U.S. syndication, starting fall 2013.[30] As of 2021, the series is available to watch for free with ads on Vudu.


This article page section uses content from: Wikipedia:Sanctuary (Canadian TV series)#Broadcast and release.

In its first season on Syfy, the original series, Sanctuary has averaged a 1.9 Household rating; 1,044,000 Adults (ages 18–49); 1,371,000 Adults (ages 25–54) and 2,366,000 total viewers. The pilot episode, "Sanctuary for All" received a Nielsen household rating of 2.2, the highest rated original series premiere from Syfy since the series premiere of "Eureka" in July 2006. The 2.2 rating represented more than 2.7 million viewers; 1.08 million among the adult 18–49 demographic and 1.4 million among the adult 25–54 demographic. This placed Sanctuary the number one cable program among adults 25–54, and number four among adults 18–49. The ratings success also boosted the web series to 1.2 million views.[31] In the United Kingdom, both parts placed the series first place on the top ten viewing programmes for ITV4 during the two weeks they aired. The first part was viewed by 565,000,[32] while the second part received a higher viewing figure of 608,000.[33][34]

Home media release[]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date Blu-ray release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
W 8 March 14, 2007 August 30, 2007 September 15, 2009 [35] October 12, 2009 [36] September 9, 2009 [37] June 15, 2010 [38]
1 13 October 3, 2008 January 5, 2009 September 15, 2009 [35] October 12, 2009 [36] September 9, 2009 [37] June 15, 2010 [38]
2 13 October 9, 2009 January 15, 2010 June 15, 2010 [39] October 4, 2010 [40] June 9, 2010 [41] June 15, 2010 [42]
3 20 October 15, 2010 June 20, 2011 September 13, 2011 [43] September 29, 2011 [44] September 14, 2011 [45] September 13, 2011 [43]
4 13 October 7, 2011 December 30, 2011 July 17, 2012 [46] July 2, 2012 [47] August 29, 2012 [48] July 17, 2012 [46]
The Complete Series October 23, 2012 [49] November 14, 2012 [50]

The Complete Series[]

Sanctuary - The Complete Series (Front)

Front cover art of Sanctuary: The Complete Series DVD boxset.

Sanctuary - The Complete Series (Back)

Back cover art of Sanctuary: The Complete Series DVD boxset.


Dr. Helen Magnus (AMANDA TAPPING) is a beautiful and enigmatic scientist who seeks out all manner of monstrous creatures. Aided by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (ROBIN DUNNE), tech expert Henry Foss (RYAN ROBINS) and the real Bigfoot (CHRISTOPHER HEYERDAHL), the Sanctuary team tracks down, studies and protects the strange and often terrifying creatures that secretly populate our world.
Content 59 Episodes / 18 Discs
Running Time 2650 minutes approx (Over 44 Hours)
Aspect Ratio Format DVD
16X9 (1.78:1)
Audio DVD
5.1 Surround Sound / 2.0 Dolby Digital
Language English
Subtitles English SDH
Studio E1 Entertainment
  • Over 20 Making-of Featurettes
  • Audio Commentaries on Select Episodes
  • Bloopers / Outtakes
  • Deleted Scenes
Release Dates
DVD Region 1
June 3rd, 2019


  • Watch Online: As of 2021, the series is available to watch for free with ads on Vudu.
    • Update: The series was available to watch for free with ads for about three years. By (at latest) June 2024 (exact month of 2024 is unknown) the show, though still available, is no longer free and must be purchased in order to watch.
  • Trivia: Near the very end of the opening title sequence (which is used throughout the entire series), just before the main cast image is shown, a tablet / screen is featured. Displayed on it is a digital file depicting a cyclops. On the left side of the file, the date "Wednesday October 1, 2008" is written. The significance of that date is not outwardly apparent. It is interesting considering that the first season of Sanctuary originally premiered two days later on Friday October 3rd, 2008.
    • Continuity / Chronology: It's not possible for the date to be reflective of Helen Magnus's research on a cyclops, as 1) aside from this visual, the species are never seen nor mentioned within the series, and 2) the in-universe date for the first episode is set in/around January 2008, well before then.

Stats and facts[]

This article page section uses content from: - Sanctuary Stats and Facts.
  • Sanctuary by numbers: [51]
    • 80: crew working on the show.
    • 4: approximate number of months it takes to complete one episode, from first day of shooting to final delivery.
    • Over 1,000: approximate number of visual effects shots in only the first four episodes.
    • 5: hours spent in the prosthetics makeup chair by an actor to evolve into one of the creatures in Sanctuary.
    • 2: hours spent in the makeup chair by an actor to get out of prosthetics.
  • Firsts:
    • Sanctuary was the first television series in North America to start production using the new RED camera exclusively, capturing images at four times the resolution of a high definition camera.
    • Sanctuary is one of the only television series to shoot extensively on green screen with virtual sets.



  1. Now, Burnaby (2008-10-08). Made-in-Burnaby show gets Beedie's backing.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sumner, Darren (January 31, 2008). SCI FI picks up Tapping's Sanctuary. GateWorld.
  3. as of August 27th 2007
  8. Read, David (January 31, 2007). Stargate cast and crew seek Sanctuary. GateWorld.
  9. Lowry, Brian (October 2, 2008). Analysis of Sanctuary the TV Series. Variety Magazine.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eramo, Steven (September 10, 2008). Green Screen Cowboy: Directing SCI FI's 'Sanctuary'.
  11. Price, Nic (October 8, 2008). Made-in-Burnaby show gets Beedie's backing. Burnaby Now.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Fox, Erin (December 4, 2008). Sanctuary Gets Caught in the Bermuda Triangle. TV Guide.
  13. Amith, Dennis (April 6, 2009). Sci Fi's Sanctuary Begins Production on Season 2. J-ENT.Template:Dead link
  14. Busch, Jenna (June 10, 2009). SG-1's Michael Shanks will guest-star in an episode of Sanctuary. Sci Fi Wire.
  15. Moody, Mike (July 21, 2009). Stargate's Dr. Beckett to guest star on Sanctuary. TV Squad.
  16. Pachel, Peter (January 13, 2009). How the RED One camera makes SCI FI's Sanctuary look good. Sc Fi Wire.
  17. Carnevale, Alex (October 3, 2008). Tonight's Sanctuary Premiere Is Green, But Green's Good. io9.
  20. Cochran, Jay (November 13, 2008). Sanctuary is a hit. Entertainment News International.
  21. Hibberd, James (December 13, 2009). Syfy renews 'Stargate: Universe' and 'Sanctuary'. The Live Feed. The Hollywood Reporter.
  22. Thielman, Sam (July 20, 2009). Syfy announces fall schedule. Variety.
  23. ABC2 Programming Airdate: Sanctuary (season two, episode one). ABC2 Television Guide. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  24. Seidman, Robert (September 8, 2010). Surprise! Syfy's Caprica Returning Sooner Than Planned; Sanctuary Moved Back to Friday Night. TV by the Numbers.
  25. Gorman, Bill (January 18, 2012). Sanctuary Renewed For A Fourth Season By Syfy. TV by the Numbers.
  26. Syfy cancels Sanctuary.
  27. Gibbons, Kent (May 21, 2012). Syfy Ends 'Sanctuary' Run After Four Seasons. Multichannel News.
  28. Ng, Philiana (May 21, 2012). Syfy's 'Sanctuary' Will Not Return for Season 5. Hollywood Reporter.
  29. Kasperowicz, Leslie (May 21, 2012). Syfy Cancels Sanctuary. Cinema Blend.
  30. Nordyke, Kimberly (October 8, 2012). Syfy Drama 'Sanctuary' to Launch in Syndication Next Year. The Hollywood Reporter.
  31. Gorman, Bill (October 6, 2008). VIEWERS SEEK 'SANCTUARY' ON SCI FI, No. 1 Program Among Adults 25–54.
  32. BARB's multichannel top 10 programmes (Go on w/e 12/10/08, and scroll down to ITV4).
  33. BARB's multichannel top 10 programmes (Go on w/e 19/10/08, and scroll down to ITV4).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Sanctuary-1st Season. Retrieved on June 14, 2009.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Sanctuary Complete Season 1 [DVD [2007]]. Retrieved on June 14, 2009.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Sanctuary – Season 1 (4 Disc Set). EzyDVD. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved on September 4, 2009.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Sanctuary – The Complete First Season [Blu-ray (2008)]. Retrieved on May 20, 2010.
  39. Sanctuary – The Complete Second Season. Retrieved on May 20, 2010.
  40. Sanctuary: Series 2 Box Set (4 Discs). Retrieved on February 10, 2010.
  41. Sanctuary: Season 2 Box Set (4 Discs). Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved on April 8, 2010.
  42. Sanctuary – The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]. Retrieved on May 20, 2010.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Sanctuary – 'The Complete 3rd Season' of the Syfy Series: DVD and Blu-ray Date, Extras, Box Art. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved on June 26, 2011.
  44. Sanctuary Season 3 [DVD]. Retrieved on May 29, 2011.
  45. Sanctuary – Season 3 (6 Disc Set). EzyDVD. Archived from the original on April 6, 2011. Retrieved on July 18, 2011.
  46. 46.0 46.1 Sanctuary – Release Date Tweeted for 'The Complete 4th Season' on DVD and Blu. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved on March 28, 2012.
  47. Sanctuary - Season 4 [DVD]. Retrieved on April 21, 2014.
  48. STACK Australian DVD release dates. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved on July 12, 2012.
  49. Sanctuary - Finished Box Art Appears for 'The Complete Series' on DVD. (August 23, 2012). Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved on August 23, 2012.
  50. JB HiFi Sanctuary Seasons 1-4. Retrieved on May 13, 2013.
  51. - Sanctuary Stats and Facts