As a general rule of thumb in the television industry, by the time you’ve aired the last episode produced of your series, you generally know the fate of said series. You either know you’ve been canceled and the series run is done, or you get a half or full-season order and actively begin work on a new batch of episodes. The decision on which way things go is generally known prior to the final episode airing or very shortly thereafter.
Unfortunately, that is the farthest thing from the case for a series near and dear to the hearts of many Stargate fans and genre TV watchers in general. More than four months after airing its last episode, the fate of the Syfy series Sanctuary is still in limbo, with its creative team and industry analysts alike unsure whether the series will survive and get a new season — the series’ fifth.
While in British Columbia for the final Vancouver version of the Creation Entertainment Official Stargate Convention, GateWorld flew up a few days early and took an invite to visit Bridge Studios to sit down with executive producer Martin Wood and executive producer/series star Amanda Tapping for an exclusive chat on a variety of topics, including the series’ long hiatus and its potential fate. The answers we received — while not the best news we want to hear — are brutally honest, yet still hopeful.
“Do we see it returning? I’d love to see it return. It was never an intention to end the show after Season Four,” Tapping said. “In all honesty, we’re not going to be on TV screens in the fall. We know that. It’s really just been a logistical [nightmare] and a heartbreaking, soul crushing play-out of events. But the truth of the matter is Syfy was not able to make a decision in a timely fashion as to whether or not we were coming back for the fall. They had their whole crunch going on with Comcast taking over at NBC. So they weren’t able to give us a decision.”
The wait for an answer won’t be indefinite, though, as Tapping hinted as to when a decision either way must come by.
“Our financers were getting really nervous about whether or not the show was coming back. And even though Syfy doesn’t have to tell us until July, telling us in July means the show is not coming back in the fall because we can’t possibly do it,” Tapping said. “In that time period where the financers were getting nervous and Syfy wasn’t giving us a decision, our studio came up for lease. And our studio is very expensive. They wanted us to sign a year-long lease and pay three months in advance. And our financers were like “Why would we do that? We don’t even know if the show’s [returning].” So they released the studio.
“All of our assets are currently sitting in a massive storeroom,” Tapping added. “Everything Sanctuary. Except for our sets which have been sold.”
Tapping: "We're just a couple of producers who just want to make a show."
Martin Wood is quick to stress that while the series’ fate continues to remain unknown, it has nothing to do with Syfy’s overall happiness with the series and its performance.
“We’re at the point of where art and business collide,” Wood said. “[We got] a call from the head of the network, Mark Stern. He called to say ‘I have to admit that Season Four was your best season ever. It was amazing. We loved what Season Four was doing.’ But his hands were tied at that point. He couldn’t make a decision on it. Because he wasn’t available to do that. Or rather, the decision-making capability wasn’t available to him. I think given their feelings about the show, they certainly would have brought it back. But again, that’s the point where art and business collide.”
For Tapping, the wait for an answer about what will happen to the series she has invested so much time and effort into has been an emotional-roller coaster.
“You’ve got Syfy dealing with Comcast, and you’ve got Syfy dealing with our financers, The Beedie Group, which own the show. And we’re just a couple of creative producers who just want to make the show,” Tapping said. “I can’t [talk about it] without sitting here and bawling my eyes out. It has been the most heart-crushing, soul destroying experience. Because it’s a really good show and we love it. And we are stuck between these two really opposing forces.”
For more from the duo about Sanctuary‘s fate, along with their thoughts on the Stargate franchise’s dormancy and so much more, make sure you keep your browser locked to GateWorld. An exclusive full-length audio interview with Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood is mere days away and not one you’ll want to miss!