Sanctuary-Complete Second Season (Blu-ray) (2008)

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Released 9-Jun-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-All episodes
Featurette-Making Of-multiple
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 588:53 (Case: 585)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Martin Wood
Brenton Spencer
S.A. Adelson
Peter DeLuise
Tricon Film & Televi
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Amanda Tapping
Robin Dunne
Emilie Ullerup
Ryan Robbins
Christopher Heyerdahl
Case 4-Way Cross-Dual
RPI $59.95 Music Ian Browne
Joel Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD High Resolution Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Sanctuary is a high-concept sci-fi action series about the exploits of a team of individuals led by 150-odd year old Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) who run a refuge, the titular "sanctuary", for unusual creatures and beings who are known as "abnormals". Also on the team are forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), tech guy and werewolf Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl).

     The second season of Sanctuary kicks off right where the first which we reviewed here left off, wrapping up the first season's cliff-hanger and killing off that season's prime bit of eye candy, Ashley Magnus (Emilie Ullerup), in the process. The young action heroine role vacated by the departure of Ashley is quickly filled by newcomer Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi), a bounty hunter specialising in tracking down rare "abnormals". The rest of the season proceeds with a "monster of the week" formula that sci-fi fans are likely more than used to by now. The DVD of season two has also already been reviewed on the site here.

    Fans of the first season will be pleased to hear that many of the episodes in season two further explore some of the more interesting occasional characters that season one introduced us to. Most notable is the return of Jack the Ripper and Nicola Tesla, each of whom re-appear in their own featured episodes which are among the season's best.

    The big difference between this season and the first is the sheer scope of the stories and the special effects. Many of the episodes in this season feature globe-trotting exploits and many of the other sanctuaries around the world are featured (the first season made reference to many sanctuaries but only ever featured the one location in the USA). The effects in this season are ambitious, in many places depicting vast exotic and complex locales, and for the most part are pulled off without a hitch. This is particularly impressive given that almost every scene is shot on green screen with minimal props and digital sets are used for everything else.

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Transfer Quality


     The show is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p. The video is generally of a very high standard. The image is clear and sharp (if anything too much so as it occasionally shows up the CGI sets a little much). There is an excellent level of shadow detail. The colour palette generally reflects the tone of given episodes, typically being either deliberately murky or lush and vibrant.

     There is no particular sign of grain in the image or film artefacts (though that is hardly a surprise given the all-digital production). The video is free from artefacts, save for a couple seconds of heavy pixilation (so static it looks like digital noise) at around 3:41 in the 8th episode.

     Subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired are present for each episode, which appear to be accurate and well timed from the portion sampled.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The show features a choice of English DTS HD 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks. The DTS track, in particular, is crystal clear. The dialogue is clear and easy to discern, although some creature characters are deliberately a little harder to make out.

     The series features a score that shifts styles as appropriate for particular episodes. The two-part finale story is the most impressive, as it brings in all manner of world music influences to create something that both complements and enhances the story.

     The surrounds and subwoofer are put to relatively modest use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Audio Commentaries

    Each episode features a commentary track. The tracks tend to be reasonably lively and, appropriately, targeted squarely at fans in that they are equal parts fluffy and nerdy in nature. The specific tracks feature:

  1. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  2. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  3. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  4. Chris Gauthier (Guest Star), Lee Wilson (SFX) and Martin Wood (Director)
  5. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  6. Ryan Robbins (Actor), Steve Alison & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  7. Martin Wood (Director), Gordon Rempel (Editor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  8. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor) & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  9. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor), Michael Shanks & Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer)
  10. Damian Kindler (Creator/Writer), Steve Adelson & Jonathan Young (Actor)
  11. Martin Wood (Director), Christopher Heyerdahl (Actor)
  12. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor)
  13. Martin Wood (Director), Amanda Tapping (Actor)

International Sanctuary Featurette (3:22)

    A featurette on the creation of the International locations featured in the series, and how they were incorporated into the story.

Amanda Tapping directs 'Veritas' Featurette (3:40)

    Star Amanda Tapping directed an episode. Apparently this was cause for a few minutes of adulation on the Blu-ray.

Next Tuesday - Anatomy of an Episode Featurette (16:44)

    A solid featurette that dissects the end-to-end conception through to creation of a single episode. This featurette provides an interesting insight into how TV shows come together generally, as well as the particular Sanctuary process.

Sanctuary Visual Effects Featurette (8:53)

    A good visual effects featurette. The blind adulation is kept to a minimum, with the focus squarely on the many types of digital effects in the series, the most interesting being the digital set creation process.

Sanctuary for Kids Featurette (1:10)

    The gang founded a charity for kids. So now you know... and knowing is half the battle!

Sanctuary Goes to Comic-Con Featurette (8:05)

    Snippets from the Comic-Con panel promoting the second series. A decent battle of fan fluff and more objectively interesting stuff.

Will Vision - Behind the Scenes & Onset Featurette (13:19)

    Robin Dunne's on-set adventures/diary. Overlong but good in parts.

Will Vision - Sanctuary goes to Japan Featurette (10:47)

    More video diary stuff, this time centring on the crew's brief trip to film on location in Japan.

Dancing in Mumbai Featurette (12:34)

    An overlong featurette about how a pivotal Bollywood dance sequence was put together. If "pivotal Bollywood dance sequence" doesn't drum that Sanctuary is more than willing to experiment, I give up.

Outtakes/Bloopers (5:05)

    Bloopers. Enough said!

Animated Stills Gallery (4:11)

    A bland slideshow of on-set photographs.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 and Region 1 Blu-ray sets are identical. The only difference between the Blu-ray and DVD sets appears to be SD vs HD video.


     A relatively adventurous "monster of the week" sci-fi series. This second series builds well on the foundations of the first.

     By and large the video and audio are excellent, at least for what could be reasonably expected from a TV series. The extras are considerable in number and well pitched for fans.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, August 02, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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