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Sanctuary the complete fourth season
Reviewed by
Simon Black
on
Sanctuary the complete fourth season DVD Review. Alas for those in the ‘refreshing and effective’ camp, American producer SyFy have announced that Season 4, which arrives on DVD in Australia on August 22, will be the show’s last.  It’s worthwhile send off, with each of the 13 episodes preserved in pristine condition for posterity and with a host of worthwhile bonus features on offer. 
Rating:
4.0

Feature 7.0
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 10
Total 8.0
Distributor: Hopscotch
Running Time: 585 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: MA15+

8.0


Sanctuary Season 4

‘Are you saying you're better than me because you're a werewolf? I resent that.’ 

I know the first rule of DVD reviewing is never to steal a synopsis verbatim from the distributor, but in this case the fine folks at Hopscotch, occasional grammatical lapse notwithstanding, have put it so perfectly: ‘In the season four opener of Sanctuary, Dr. Helen Magnus has pursued Adam Worth back to 1898 London and must now stop him from altering - and quite possibly completely destroying - the future.  Back in present day, Hollow Earth Abnormals continue to reach the surface in droves as the remaining Sanctuary team scrambles to prevent all-out war.  At the same time, they are desperate to find Magnus, who was last seen heading to the Hollow Earth city of Praxis just before it was decimated.’  

That pretty much sums it up really.  Season Four comprises a potent culmination of the events which preceded it and sees the Sanctuary team forced to question their alliances, their motives and occasionally the very existence of the Network.  Werewolves, time travel, virtual worlds, suicide bombers, a Hollow Earth insurgency and the occasional bloodthirsty basilisk - it’s all in a season’s work for the tireless team at Sanctuary HQ. 

Possibly in ‘homage’ to the infamous Buffy episode ‘Once More With Feeling’ Season 4 also contains Sanctuary’s first musical episode.  In true Buffy fashion it’s quite a novel and cheekily ironic treatment of the concept too (assuming ironically referencing something that was ironic to begin with doesn’t cancel out the irony altogether) with bed-bound Abby unable to communicate in any other wise than song due to a condition in which ‘her DNA is being over-ridden’ ensuring ‘she can only perceive certain harmonic frequencies’ as the inimitable Magnus puts it.  The episode is also unintentionally hilarious on one or two occasions, as when Dr Will takes a look at Abby’s brain scan results and mutters knowingly ‘the superior temporal sulcus, right?’ - words that actor Robin Dunne can barely pronounce.  It tended to polarise fans, with some viewing it as both refreshing and effective and others deriding it merely as awful, but for my money the episode epitomises everything that makes Sanctuary enjoyable: it’s a series unafraid to poke fun at the conventions of its chosen genre, to push the boundaries of what should and shouldn’t be allowed, and to somehow balance pseudoscientific earnestness with monsters, mayhem and numerous moments of wry tongue-in-cheekery. 

Alas for those in the ‘refreshing and effective’ camp, American producer SyFy have announced that Season 4, which arrives on DVD in Australia on August 22, will be the show’s last.  It’s worthwhile send off, with each of the 13 episodes preserved in pristine condition for posterity and with a host of worthwhile bonus features on offer. 

Audio & Video

On offer are a potent and immersive 5.1 Dolby Digital surround soundtrack, as well a two-channel audio track and English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Throw in a crystal clear 16:9 anamorphic transfer (as we all know, any other aspect ratio should be punishable by death) and all’s right with the world. 

Bonus Features

- Cast & Crew Audio Commentaries on selected episodes

- Behind the Scenes Featurettes

- Gag Reel

- Deleted and Extended Scenes

- Making-Of Featurettes

- and much more (!)






 
 



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