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It looks like the Writers Strike-inflicted networks will air more than reruns and reality shows this year. Some are looking to the Web for new dramatic content.
First NBC picked up Quarterlife, the Web drama from My So-Called Life producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. Now, Sci Fi Channel, part of the NBC Universal conglomerate, has ordered a full 13-episode first season of the Web-based sci-fi/fantasy series Sanctuary, which stars Stargate Atlantis cast member Amanda Tapping, who also serves as executive producer.
Sanctuary will begin filming new episodes for Sci Fi in March, according to Gateworld. The series, produced by Damian Kindler (Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis) stars Tapping as a 157-year old, ass-kicking, black wig wearing scientist who tracks down monstrous baddies with the help of her daughter (Emille Ullerup) and protégé (Robin Dunne). Sci-fi vets Martin Wood (the Stargate franchise) and Sam Egan (Jeremiah) will also serve as executive producers.
The series premiered online with eight short webisodes in early 2007. According to its official Web site, Sanctuary was awarded the Guinnes world record for "Highest Budget Television Production Direct to the Web." Sanctuary is also the first Web based seried to use high-quality virtual green-screen sets in most of its scenes, much like Zack Snyder's 300. A look at the impressive trailer for the first webisode should calm those having bad Attack of the Clones flashbacks. It looks like the production designers on Sanctuary have managed to render a sharp-looking and imaginative dark fantasy world.
"'Sanctuary' promises to be a totally fresh television viewing experience,' Mark Stern, SCI FI's Executive Vice President of Original Programming told SyFy Portal. "This stylistic approach to 'virtual sets' has proven hugely popular on the big screen, and we have been looking for a chance to use it on a television series. We've worked with Damian, Martin, Amanda, and Sam on numerous projects in the past, and think they are the perfect team to tackle something this ambitious."
Sci Fi Channel reports that Tapping will appear as a guest star on a number of episodes of the fifth season of Stargate Atlantis. Tapping joined the Atlantis cast last year after ten years as a regular on Stargate SG-1.
Sanctuary Web Trailer: