The Vancouver-shot sci-fi series Sanctuary returns to SPACE and Syfy for its fourth season this Friday and it’s going to be an epic 13 episode stretch if comments on Twitter by stars Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne, Ryan Robbins and Robert Lawrenson are anything to go by.
When Sanctuary was renewed for its third season there was a surprising increase in the episode order to 20, seven more than was requested for the preceding two seasons. It was equally surprising, and slightly disconcerting, then, when that number dropped back to 13 for Season 4.
However, according to Tapping, who plays the lead role of investigator of abnormals, Dr. Helen Magnus, the shorter order had pros as well as cons for the cast and crew.
“Well, I actually think it really worked for us,” Tapping told CinemaSpy in a recent conference call to promote the show’s return, “When we did 20, we did 10 episodes and then we took, I think, a four or five-week break, and then went back into the other 10. It was actually very nice in that we all got a summer with our families and enjoyed it, but it was a slog to get through 20 episodes. “It was a lot of work and it was a lot of planning. And 13 seemed somehow more manageable.
At first we were really disappointed that it was dropped to 13 and then it was like, no, wait, we can actually make 13 really kick-ass episodes of this show, and service each one of them well, as opposed to trying to spread ourselves really thin over 20.”
It might not be widely known, but Sanctuary is a largely independent Canadian production. Unlike Stargate, for example, which is owned by MGM, Sanctuary has no big studios behind it. Everyone therefore has to push hard to get the best bang for their buck. The shorter season order might also have helped with that, suggest comments by Dunne, Tapping’s co-star.
“I think story-wise it just made the season more compact and I think you’ll definitely see that in the season,” said Dunne, who plays Magnus’ number two, Will Zimmerman. “But it was a sort of duality going on there too, because, like Amanda said, we did get a break in between 10s, the two sets of ten episodes last season, so in another way it almost more grueling to just do 13 straight through.”
Sanctuary‘s Season 4 premiere is this Friday, October 7 at 10/9c on Syfy in the U.S. and 10 ET/10.30 PT on SPACE in Canada. You can watch a sneak peek, courtesy of Syfy, below. Check back here on Friday as we mark the premiere with a report on what we can expect down the line in the season finale, including some exclusive spoiler-free images from the location shoot.