Sanctuary Review. "The Five" (Episode 7)

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Apparently we're living in the Year of the Vampire. In the upcoming Twilight film and HBO's series True Blood, vampires live among us. But in the universe of Sci-Fi's Sanctuary, we find out in Episode 7 ("The Five") that they were all killed out before the Middle Ages. Vampires were the race of the Pharaohs and the Caesars, intelligent and powerful, enslaving humans until they were killed off by they church. But they also play a large part in how Dr. Helen Mangus (Amanda Tapping) has lived to be 157 years old. She injected a syrum from preserved vampire blood, along with four others, including her former lover-turned-sociopath John Druitt and Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla.

Each of the five scientists developed different abilities from the syrum, but Tesla's transformation involved an awakening of dormant vampire genes. Mangus helped Tesla fake his death in 1943, but he's back to try to recruit her help develop a new vampire army. She refuses, of course, and it takes a surprising appearance by a kindler, gentler Jack to save her.

The producers of Sanctuary rely heavily on CGI to create both the massive corriders of the Sanctuary and the catacombs in Rome where most of the action takes place. It's a neat short-cut to give the show a bigger-budget feel, but it's undermined by the lack of extras. The emptiness of the Sanctuary in particular is starting to feel wrong—that a huge facility holding hundreds of creatures would have a staff of five seems really odd. And with the limited characters, the dynamics don't really allow for much development. The only interesting relationship is between mysterious mother and her ninja warrior daughter. Even Sanctuary's vampires are just brainless bodies. For complex and nuanced vampires in real environments dealing with real humans and all the garbage that comes with real life, head to HBO instead.

Related Links:
Sanctuary Review. "Nubbins" (Episode 6)
Sanctuary Review. Series Premiere

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