TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Sanctuary TV Poster Image
Monsters are real in fun (if unoriginal) series.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Sanctuary is a mysterious organization that exists outside standard law enforcement channels, and though Dr. Zimmerman sometimes crosses paths with his former colleagues on the police force, he must keep his true activities and motives secret. The team sometimes deals with black market weapons brokers. The most dangerous creatures are locked up deep within the Sanctuary; some are willing to stay there for their own protection, while others pose a danger to society and are held against their will.


Some of the abnormals are benign, but many are quite dangerous, and their attacks can be violent, deadly, and gory. Though the Sanctuary staff has no desire to hurt these creatures, they're often forced to subdue their quarry using stun-guns or darts with sleep-inducing drugs. Ashley is often heavily armed; she's quick with both lethal and non-lethal weapons and sometimes engages in martial arts combat.


No nudity or sex, though there is some flirting between Will and Ashley.


Job-recruiting Web site is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi show -- which began its life as a popular Web series -- assumes that monsters are very real and that they need to be tracked down and captured. That process often entails a fair bit of suspense and violence (often involving weapons and occasionally deadly), which could unsettle young viewers -- as could the sometimes-creepy monsters themselves. But on the whole, the series is on the tame side for older tweens and up: There's hardly anything in the way of sexual content, salty language, or drinking and drugs.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bystargategeek April 29, 2010
Parent of a 5, 10, and 13-year-old Written byOcelot December 8, 2009
Two shows that are a staple for my family on a friday night one is Stargate U and the other is Sanctuary.


this show is amazing the story telling in this s... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 11, 2011

So close to a show that I liked

This would have been the IDEAL show if it were not for the whole vampire tie-in.. At first, I thought this show was great and all but the vampire stuff just rui... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLizzybeth June 27, 2010

What's the story?

Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) is the kind of detective who can walk into a crime scene, take a quick look around, and tell the other investigators why their easy theory about who did it just doesn't make sense. The fact that his amazing powers of observation sometimes lead to seemingly impossible conclusions doesn't win this awkward odd duck any friends in the police department -- but it does make him an ideal fit in the SANCTUARY. Led by Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping), this mysterious organization preserves a deep secret: Monsters are real, and someone needs to track them down and protect the world from creatures that most people would prefer to believe don't exist. These "abnormals," as they're called, include humans with a range of genetic mutations and unique abilities, mythical creatures, and a wide variety of dangerous beasts. Some seek refuge in the sanctuary, while others are confined there either for their own good or because they're too dangerous to be allowed to roam free. Magnus and her team serve as their caretakers, jailers, and hunters.

Is it any good?

The show combines a standard detective series with an X-Files-esque investigation into the paranormal -- along with a hint of 24, since the team must work secretly to save the world from dangerous monsters. There's a fair bit of violence, both when the beasts attack and when the Sanctuary team retaliates, using both lethal and non-lethal weapons. Dr. Magnus' daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), a martial arts expert who's comfortable with a variety of weapons, usually takes point on these missions.

Overall, Sanctuary is entertaining enough. It won't win prizes for originality, but it certainly offers sufficient diversion that viewers will want to learn more about the mysterious secrets that link Zimmerman and Dr. Magnus.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about monsters. Many films and TV shows feature various types of supernatural creatures, but this one makes a point of insisting that that they're real. Do other shows make it clearer that the beasts are fictional? Why do you think this series needs to assume that monsters walk among us? Do you believe in monsters? Also, what does this show have in common with other sci-fi shows and movies? How is it different?

TV details

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