Dr. Helen Magnus has offered refuge to her final Abnormal: Sanctuary, the made-in-B.C. Canadian science fiction series, will not return for a fifth season.
"Amanda Tapping and I – and the other producers as well – absolutely were very, very keen to try to find a way to continue making the show because we absolutely adored making it," said Damian Kindler, the show's creator, on Wednesday. "We had actually ended season four in a place that was like a launch pad to reinvigorate the series, creating a whole new world and look and home base for our heroes, and we felt ready to keep going creatively. And so did the fans, I think. But there's art, and then there's commerce, and I think in this situation, commerce decided it didn't want to stay in the sandbox – or keep paying for the sandbox."
While the official cancellation was announced this week (with word from the U.S. cable network Syfy that it would not pick up a fifth season), it seems that may have been a formality. The series was already done, according to Kindler, because of a decision by Beedie Development Group: The Burnaby-based real-estate developer, which had bankrolled the Canadian show (effectively operating as its studio), decided not to continue with the venture.
"I suppose the unfortunate truth is that Syfy didn't pick us up because we weren't making the show, as opposed to [they]didn't want that show. They were interested in having some form of a fifth season, and the Canadian broadcaster Space were interested as well," Kindler says. "And I totally respect [the Beedie Group]decision. This is a show they own, this is a project they backed passionately for four years, and I think when they decided they wanted to move on, then you have to respect that."
Beedie Group founder Keith Beedie initially got involved with Sanctuary as an investor in part because he's a big fan of the science-fiction genre. And while CFO Jim Bogusz admires the work of the creative team and says the collaboration was a joy, he says the company has not yet recouped its investment.
"The show needs to be economically viable," said Bogusz, who also served as one of Sanctuary's executive producers. "The Beedie Group is a business and we look at our investments on their ability to return, and the time frame was too long and too uncertain for our liking."
Sanctuary was created by Kindler in 2007, initially as a series of webisodes. Many of the show's cast and crew – including Kindler, Tapping, Martin Wood (all of whom served as executive producers) and co-star Ryan Robbins – were alumni of the Stargate franchise. Sanctuary the television series premiered in Canada and the United States in October 2008, ultimately airing in about 170 countries. The finale for the fourth season – and, as it turns out, the series – aired late last year.
Syfy said the decision to cancel the show was purely financially driven.
"We're honoured to have been part of this incredible series," said Mark Stern, president of Syfy original content and co-head of Universal Cable Productions, in a statement. "In addition to garnering unmatched devotion by fans worldwide, Sanctuary was a bona fide trailblazer, setting new standards with its highly innovative production techniques – including pioneering green-screen and RED camera technology – and Emmy-nominated visual effects."
With 59 episodes in the can, Bogusz is optimistic about a syndication deal. "We hope one day it will be a money-making venture."