For days I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the latest article with Damian Kindler that has made me so angry.
From the beginning of Sanctuary’s Season 2, I didn’t understand the logic in killing off Ashley, played by Emilie Ullerup. Even though I thought that they had underutilized her in Season 1, she was a great character that had tremendous potential. She had become the focus of the last couple of episodes of Season 1 and the first couple of the new season, and Emilie Ullerup had finally gotten the chance to shine. Even with no dialogue, she gave an amazing performance and really showed what she’s capable of as an actress.
With no real explanation from Team Sanctuary about their ballsy and bold decision, we the viewers were left completely in the dark as to why. That is until Emilie Ullerup’s interview with ÜberSciFiGeek is posted and she lets us in on her health problems as well as what she had been told were the reasons behind the death of Ashley. It had nothing to do with her surgery, it was a network decision, or at least that’s what they told her. This was good news since we now have somewhere to direct our frustrations with emails, letters and phone calls.
By this time of course Team Sanctuary has heard the fan reaction to the death of Ashley, and since it got kicked up a notch after Emilie Ullerup’s interview came out, they seemed to try a bit of damage control. Amanda Tapping stated that she fought the decision to get rid of Ashley, and was pitching an idea to bring her back. Damian Kindler said that it was a decision they had all come to together, but the impression given was that it was the network that forced him to make the change. He also said that she was never intended to be killed of permanently. And of course my favorite no one ever really dies in sci-fi. Martin Wood said that he loved to kill off a main character every once in a while just to give an element of danger. No damage control there, just honesty. I don’t agree with his philosophy but at least he’s honest.
In a different interview, I guess that Damian Kindler figured since the season has aired that there would be no harm in telling the complete truth right? Wrong.
After months of being mislead and misdirected, (how many of us have sent emails and made phone calls to SyFy?) Damian Kindler comes clean and says that Ashley was too much within the conventions that were laid out in the Sanctuary world. HUH? You mean the world you created and got me hooked on? He wanted a character that wasn’t under Helen’s control and a little bit of a wild card and even though he had that with the programmed, drugged and altered Super Ashley, he opts to go with a completely new character. That along with the systematic destruction of the Five and the off camera destruction of the Cabal, pretty much cancels out all of the storyline and plot we had from Season 1. What we were left with was a directionless and plot hole filled season of filler episodes.
Damian Kindler also shares that he wasn’t aware that Henry was a popular character and yes he still loves season two and the cool (overused) split screen shots that most fans seem to hate. Not a mention of the fact that there have been so many fans that range from not as happy with Season 2 as they were with Season 1 to actually changing the channel and removing it from their DVR.
Amanda Tapping has said that she, Damian Kindler and Martin Wood talk to each other every day. She seems to be fully aware of who is popular on the show, and that fans weren’t happy about Ashley’s removal. She has also commented on the backlash and Kate hate. Damian Kindler acknowledged the Kate hate too, in an earlier interview, so he must hear some of the fan opinions. He promised that most fans would love her by the end of Season 2 but from what I’ve read, the majority of fans still dislike or merely tolerate her.
To give an idea of what all of this change has cost them, the number of people that tuned in for the Season 1 finale of Sanctuary was 1,990,000. The number that tuned in to the Season 2 finale was 1,493,000. To me, that shows that 497,000 more people cared about Ashley, the Cabal and the Five, than they did about Kate and Will and the giant spider. When Amanda Tapping said they were taking a big risk, she was correct. That risk did not pay off. Not only did they not increase their fan base, they didn’t even maintain the one they had. Even SyFy couldn’t spin this into a good thing.
I do realize that this is Damian Kindler’s show and he can write it any way he chooses. I also realize that I have the option to watch something else. However, I feel that the creators of a show such as this, especially this one which was born on the internet and has had so much fan participation and input from the beginning, should have a bit more regard for their audience. TV shows do have to grow and change in order to survive, but this was too much change and it happened too quickly. It was also unnecessary, and has left me with the feeling of being cheated out of something wonderful.
It was Albert Einstein that said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That appears to be exactly what we can expect from Season 3 of Sanctuary. The only thing that I truly regret is not being able to see more of Helen’s history. I won’t see it because I’m not that interested in Helen and Will’s relationship, nor am I interested in fast-forwarding through more Kate scenes. And just for the record, this viewer will not be satisfied with just a couple of Ashley episodes.
Some people would argue that Ashley wasn’t the whole show and we should just get over it and move on. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. To me, she was a vital part of the show’s dynamic and sadly, that dynamic died with her. Even though I’m still a fan of Amanda Tapping, the ‘new’ Sanctuary simply isn’t enough.
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