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 "We protect the two dominant species of this planet from one another: humans and abnormals."


Sanctuary (2007-2011) was a TV series on the Sci-Fi channel that started as a Web Video series. Notable primarily for its good writing despite a low, low budget, and for Amanda Tapping as Doctor Helen Magnus, the immortal head of the Sanctuary in the title.

Yes, that Amanda Tapping.

The show follows Dr. Will Zimmerman and the other members of the Sanctuary, as they protect Abnormals (the "real" creatures that inspired the folklore, legends and myths about monsters and other supernatural weirdness, but that turn out not only to exist, but also to have a perfectly rational "scientific" explanation behind each one) and have adventures.

No relation to the manga, anime, and live action film of the same name about two Japanese survivors of the Khmer Rouge trying to remake their society in the roles of a politician and a Yakuza. Nor is it any relation to the place where runners go.

There is now a character page. Feel free to add to it.

Sanctuary provides examples of

  • Action Girl
    • Ashley
    • Magnus is no slouch herself.
    • Replaced by Kate Freelander.
  • Actor Allusion: While discussing Twilight, the Big Guy mentions he likes Marcus, who Christopher Heyerdahl played in New Moon.
  • Affably Evil
    • Nikola Tesla.
    • Later subverted with John Druitt through his Heel Face Turn.
  • All Just a Dream: See Bad Future below. Good thing Magnus learned her lesson.
  • All Myths Are True: Most myths are true, anyways. Sadly, there is no such thing as a Kraken. There are, however, vampire squids and a Giant Spider that lives on the ocean floor and can cause earthquakes.
  • All There in the Manual: Amanda Tapping answers questions on her Twitter.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Cabal.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: The show ends with Magnus saying, "Shall we begin?"
  • Apocalyptic Log: Several times so far.
  • Arbitrarily-Large Bank Account: Justified; Magnus has been alive for over 100 years and probably half the world's leaders owe her a favor. When the newbie to the team asks if there is a health plan, Magnus says no. (Granted, the organisation is headed by probably the best doctor in the world with medical contacts in every corner of the globe, so it's possible their health plan is simply "Dr Helen Magnus". Also, the Sanctuary has enough resources to purchase a lot of new medical equipment, and pay the taxes and upkeep costs for a castle. Given that they always get help for any injuries or illnesses that occur, possibly they don't have a designed health plan because they'd have to write "Covers anything. Like, anything at all that could or could not happen to anyone, human or otherwise."
    This is a critical component of the season 4 episode "Untouchables", when the United Nations Security Council attache tries to blackmail Helen into stepping down from her position and turning the Sanctuary over to UN control by threatening to cut off her funds. She promptly tells him to take a flying leap, then reveals that she has money "hidden in places [the attache] doesn't even know exist" and that she manipulated him into cutting them off for good so the Sanctuary could do its job independent of any kind of bureaucratic oversight. Whew!
  • Artistic License Biology: Standard issue fiction butchering of classifications. Magnus refers to humans and abnormals as the planet's "two dominant species," despite the fact that abnormals are shown to include creatures that range from superpowered humans, to rodent-like animals, to moving globs of ooze. Other episodes have Magnus referring to some creatures as separate "species of abnormals," that is to say that "abnormal" encompasses a type of species.
  • Artistic License - Temporal Physics: (May be Timey-Wimey Ball, but it doesn't involve causality or conventional time travel.) People who entered the temporal loop and grew old/died of old age stay old/dead, while people who were born inside a temporal loop vanish when the loop ends because they were never born.
  • Aside Glance: "I gotta admit, your Nubbins are pretty amazing." "Don't you just want to squeeze them?" Cue long stare into camera.
  • Ass Shove: Helen Magnus has an uncanny ability to produce a gun at any given moment, which actress Amanda Tapping attributes to her "gun bum".
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Will's shtick. James Watson had it to Story-Breaker Power levels. Before he dies of old age, Watson indicates that Will has the potential to match him at this.
  • Back From the Dead: The entire cast at least once, Will twice. It isn't as bad as Stargate yet, but Amanda Tapping seems to have brought some bad habits with her.
  • Badass
    • John Druitt more than earns the title while taking on four Cabal operatives at once during the second part of the season 2 opener. He holds his own, displaying some impressive work with dual-wielded swords, but is ultimately unsuccessful in deterring the operatives. He is however the first person to take on these superpowered operatives in close combat and survive. And his own superpower is being artificially nullified during the fight, because the operatives have that same power.
    • In the "Pavor Nocturnus" Bad Future, Will Took a Level In Badass after the Zombie Apocalypse started and is now a scarred, jaded leader of La Résistance. And Druitt went out by teleporting a tactical nuke into a zombie overrun area.
    • While all characters have their badass moments, Helen Magnus is the ultimate badass. On several occasions the team has heard about threats to her while she was away, said some variation of "sucks to be them" and continued their business.
  • Badass Longcoat: See above. Invoked in "Normandy" where Druitt explains the reason for joining the Nazis was... the outfit (cue the leather longcoat).
  • Bad Future: The Ancient Keeper in "Pavor Nocturnus" shows Helen a Zombie Apocalypse caused accidentally by her Who Wants to Live Forever? attitude.
  • Bad Habits: "Trail of Blood".
  • Bald of Awesome: John Druitt
  • Bald of Evil: Druitt, again.
  • Batman Gambit: The season two episode "Veritas", wherein the big guy and his boss play out an elaborate and highly convincing scheme intended to make a corrupt Sanctuary employee believe that Magnus had gone mad and murdered her best friend. Self-induced madness was a cover to hide her thoughts from the telepaths, and she left amongst her things a file on the location of a powerful abnormal which served as bait to make the target of the gambit move as intended and get caught.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: All over the place, what with the various long-lived characters.
    • Nikola Tesla was just plain old Nikola Tesla until he became the first modern vampire. Later he loses his vampirism and gains electromagnetic powers, then regains it and becomes a vampire with magnetic powers.
    • Sherlock Holmes: Sort of. Actually James Watson, but he claims that Holmes was based on him, and he insisted his name, if it was used, be given to a sidekick.
    • William Howard Taft had a short presidency because he couldn't keep from reverting to his "true form".
    • Elvis isn't dead, he just... never mind.
  • Better Than Sex: The food at Alfredo's is just that good.
  • Big Bad: The Cabal in Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. Adam Worth in Season 3.
  • Bi the Way: Magnus: "I haven't been kissed like that in a very long time."
  • Blue Screen: Most of the time, the only non-CGI things on screen are the actors, the clothes on their backs, and the chairs they sit on. The show completely dispenses with building sets and simply uses blue screen backgrounds, even for relatively "normal" locations like Magnus's office. This also makes Sanctuary one of the cheapest sci-fi programs on TV.
  • Bluff the Impostor: How Magnus finally defeats the creature that had been picking off passengers of a downed plane.
  • Book Ends: In the first episode, Helen offers Will "a chance to explore a world that you've been trying to understand on your own … with very little success" and the second episode ends with Magnus saying "Shall we begin?" In the series finale, Magnus says "What if I offered you the chance to explore a world that you've been trying to see since you were a child?" The last words of the episode are Magnus once again saying "Shall we begin?" to Will.
  • Bottle Episode: Due to the low budget of the show, there are many episodes that feature only a part of the main cast in a limited location and maybe one or two guest stars. Examples include "Requiem", "Instinct", "Next Tuesday", "Bank Job" and others.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
    • Ashley at the end of the first season, which continues into the second season.
    • The Big Guy gets hit with this in season 4, having had his brain permanently altered by an abnormal telepath to turn him into a human-hating extremist.
  • Broken Masquerade: In the season 3 finale, multiple characters discuss the growing possibility of this trope, and whether or not it would be a good thing. And as of the end of the episode, it looks likely to happen, as huge armies of abnormals from Hollow Earth invade the surface.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Tesla, sort of. He loses his vampire powers, but the bio-electric powers he possessed as a vampire seems to have been kept to an extent, turning him into a living magnet.
  • Catch Phrase: Magnus has "Dear God."
  • Chickification: Will Zimmerman is a rare male example. He's a brilliant forensic investigator, an emotionally tough, tenacious maverick willing to find the truth at any price... in the pilot. In subsequent episodes, he becomes the Designated Victim, losing his glasses and (frequently) 50% of his pilot IQ and personality in the process, as well as gaining tighter clothes and lots of hair product. As of the fourth season premiere, he seems to be getting better.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Done as with many speculative fiction shows, but a particularly textbook example is present in season 2, episode 4, with a crane controller.
  • Clingy Costume: Taking a note from Spider-Man, two episodes have a character in a superhero suit that they couldn't take off. Will even asks him about wastes.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: As mentioned above, the suit in question was an abnormal entity that shaped itself like a superhero suit so it could bond to a host. It would grant them superhuman abilities, but feed on their live energy in return.
  • Conflict Ball: Will and Magnus are butting heads a lot more in season 4. Even accounting for stressful situations, it was never this bad.
  • The Conscience: Will for Helen. She specifically tells him that she needs him to be this for her.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Curse Cut Short:

  Declan: You obnoxious piece of--


  Forsythe: This is HMS I Don't Give A Crap. If you happen to be an uptight amphibian martinete with a Napoleon Complex, please Bugger Off! Otherwise leave a message after the tone and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! Beeeeep!

  • The End of the World as We Know It: Big Bertha is said to be able to create earthquakes. Turns out she's a hell of a lot more powerful, supposedly having shattered the Pangaea super-continent and made the Biblical floods. When the idiots running the Sanctuary network decide to ignore Magnus and attack her, she hits back Old Testament style.
  • Enemy Mine: Tesla in the two part first season finale.
  • Enemy Within: What turned Druitt into Jack the Ripper.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Without even saying a word, Tesla's introduction says everything about him. He casually strolls into Magnus' lecture, gets security to hand her a note; informing her that some men are coming to kill her, to meet him outside... and she looks hot.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Druit seemed to be working for the Nazis, though he was really working against them from within, or something (he did kill Hitler after all), because "I know evil when I see it."
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Might be the psychological trauma, but one of Magnus' fellow hostages in Episode 4.4, "Monsoon", becomes very attracted to her.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Invoked during Tesla's toast in "Sleepers".

 Tesla: Here's to those halycon days of bloodlust now gone... plus you gotta admit, vampires are just plain cool.

Magnus: Amen.

  • Evilutionary Biologist: Seems to be a large part of the Cabal's activities.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Between the revelations and remembrances about times she worked for the French Resistance, sailed on the Titanic and had sex with the man who became Jack the Ripper, Sanctuary wants you to know Helen Magnus has lived through her 159+ years on this Earth.
  • Expy: Magnus and her group was originally formed under the auspices of the British government to handle an extra-normal threat that only people with their special talents could tackle. Yes, that does sound familiar.
  • Extranormal Institute
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade
  • Fan Disservice: You would think Magnus's first real nude scene (well, as nude as a show on SyFy can get) would be more enticing. Not when she's forcibly stripped naked by men in biohazard suits and then hosed down because they think she's a zombie.
  • Fan Service
    • Will and Magnus spend a good part of "Next Tuesday" soaking wet.
    • Clara having to get naked in order to turn invisible.
    • Kali. (At least the human avatar of her.)
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: The premise.
  • Femme Fatalons: Ashley gets them. But since they're a vampiric trait, Tesla has them too.
  • Fight Clubbing: The Cabal's underground abnormal fight network.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flying Brick: The Adjuster's symbiotic suit grants this.
  • Foe Yay: Frenquently lampshaded in-universe.
    • Magnus and Tesla. Magnus and Druitt. Druitt and Tesla. Druitt and Watson. Members of the Five seem to have a lot of subtext going.
    • Tesla and Foss, who spend an awful lot of time arguing like and old married couple.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend
    • Persistently averted with Ashley. Nearly every single episode of the second season has Magnus dealing with it in some way or another.
    • Unfortunately upheld with Clara, though. To be fair, Will does mention her in "Next Tuesday", and he knew her for only a few weeks, while Ashley was Magnus's daughter, so naturally her death is going to have somewhat less impact.
  • For Science!: Both the Cabal and Magnus. And Tesla. Aside from his famous real-life work, he tries to design a weapon to disable but not kill Ashley and the other brainwashed super-abnormal Cabal operatives, even though he thinks it's an impossible task, because he's not sure it's impossible, and just has to find out for himself. He doesn't really care about saving the Sanctuary, he's just doing it to see if he can.
  • Future Badass: Will Zimmerman in "Pavor Nocturnus". His actions even scare the crap of Magnus of all people.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Tesla's vampires in "Sleepers".
  • Genre Savvy: Tesla at times.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Big Guy
  • Giant Enemy Crab / Giant Spider: Big Bertha, a.k.a. Kali, Hindu Goddess of Destruction.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It / Jekyll and Hyde: Adam Worth, a scientist who almost made the Five into the Six, inspired the novel. Both sides are aware of each other. Neither side likes Magnus...
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Wexford and the unbelievers.
  • Guile Hero: In season 4, Helen Magnus, with the help of Will Zimmerman, manipulates the United Nations Security Council — not to mention the governments of most of the free world — into cutting the Sanctuary off for good, so they can maneuver independently of government bureaucracy. This is not surprising, as she has made an absolute career out of this sort of thing. She keeps this up throughout the Season, while more and more of her plans are revealed, culminating in the creation of a new, hidden Sanctuary at the end of the Season.
  • Heel Face Turn: Druitt near the end of season 1.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Heroic Willpower: Zimmerman, repeatedly.
  • Historical Domain Character: Tesla and Jack the Ripper.
  • Historical In-Joke: Magnus has been around a long time, so naturally she gets into this. Among other things, she was on the Titanic and was pulled into a lifeboat by Molly Brown.

 Magnus: There is such a thing as "before my time"!

Will: (skeptical look)

  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Though time travel isn't involved, "Normandy" reveals that Druitt killed Hitler about a year before D-Day, but they just used body doubles after that.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tesla accidentally "devamps" himself with his own devamper weapon, powered by his own body no less. That'll teach you to make a weapon with a business end on both sides.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Henry
  • Human Popsicle: The Vampire Queen. And her Court.
  • Hyper Awareness: Will. We get a little special effect that highlights the details that he notices to draw his conclusions, à la Psych, but this effect isn't used as much later on.
    • Watson also possess this to an even greater degree.
  • Identical Grandson: Will's grandfather as seen in "Normandy". It doesn't end well.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Subverted. Tesla loves wine (it doesn't affect him though) to the point that he empties out Magnus' wine cellar in the season 2 premiere. And in season 3 when working on the Hollow Earth Map. And gets a start on it after being fired from SCIU.
    • Kate mentions all of the priceless first editions are covered in wine stains because of Tesla.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Repeatedly, but it never works.
  • I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight
    • When Zimmerman attempts to rescue a friend from the experiment mentioned under Playing with Syringes. Possible subversion, as Zimmerman was also under the influence of the experiment.
    • Magnus attempts this on Ashley to break the Cabal's mind control. She fails the first time, but it works the second. Too bad Ashley's solution was to kill herself.
  • Immortality Immorality: The Five often fall into this.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Strictly speaking, Zimmerman never said to the murderer pretending to be the murder victim's friend that the victim's body was stuffed in a washing machine.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Magnus and Adam alter several key events after time traveling back to Victorian England (Jack the Ripper gets an extra kill and Adam's daughter dies from falling debris instead of disease, among others), but the present is apparently unchanged.
  • Insufferable Genius: Tesla
  • Invisible Streaker
    • Nigel as the inspiration for the Invisible Man has this of course.
    • Clara inherited the same power.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Michael Shanks guest starring in the episode "Penance".
  • Jack the Ripper: Much discussed concerning Druitt.
  • Jerkass: Nikola Tesla
  • Karma Houdini: The Vampires (with Trust-Funds) from "Sleepers". Even after Tesla devamps them again, we get no indication that they were punished for the murders they committed, nor learn anything from the experience! We're never exactly made certain of how much of their behaviour and actions were caused by becoming Vampires, with several indications being given that they were already a bunch of spoilt, arrogant jerkasses to begin with?!
    • Tesla in that episode also qualifies. His plan was to create an elite class of Vampires that would slowly manifest over the course of the next 30 years, allowing him to be in a position where he could take over the world. After stopping the prematurely activated Vampires, Magnus seems to laugh the entire incident off completely after Tesla is accidentally rendered mortal along with them.
  • Killed Off for Real
    • Ashley and Clara.
    • In the season 4 finale, The Big Guy follows suit, in what amounts to a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Kill'Em All: That's one way to end a mid-season finale: kill your main cast off. Granted, they get revived, but it's a hell of a way to go.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Nubbins. Oh god, the Nubbins.
  • Lamarck Was Right: The Source Blood must be pretty potent stuff indeed if it can alter a person's gametes. Well, it activates latent abnormal genes in otherwise normal humans, so it's not so much altering as it is triggering. Add in the fact that trace amounts of Source Blood may have been in Dr. Magnus' body when she was carrying Ashley and... yeah.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "This is so Indiana Jones!"
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Bank Job" when someone thinks that Magnus' British accent is fake.
  • Lotus Eater Machine: Zig Zagged in "Out of the Blue", it's a therapy meant to help them recover from a psychworm's venom that has this effect.
  • Love Is in the Air: The "Nubbins" episode.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: John Druitt, Ashley's father. It comes out pretty quickly, though. Faster in the webisodes. It's said in the first episode there. Gives a reason for her monster hunting in the second.
  • Meanwhile in the Future: Appears at the end of "Hero", although it's defintely a case of Stylistic Suck as the characters are all reading a comic written by the episode's now depowered superhero.
  • Memento MacGuffin: In "Firewall", two of Magnus' birthday presents from her father turn out to combine into what seems to be a scale-model of a mysterious, futuristic city.
  • Mercy Kill
    • Done to infectees in "Pavor Nocturnus"
    • In "Bank job," it would have been so much more awesome for stargate fans if the victim of the Monster of the Week had been played by Siler instead of Walter Although to be fair, it was plenty awesome as is, and using Siler probably would have been too much of a Level Breaker. But still.
  • Minored in Asskicking: While Magnus is most often seen utilizing her abilities as an Omnidisciplinary Scientist and diplomat to solve problems and save the day, her coworkers in the Sanctuary are always quick to point out that she can handle herself in a fight and she has shown the ability to do so many times. The entirety of Monsoon is basically Helen evading the bad guys and saving the innocent bystanders through a combination of wit, stealth, and hitting people in the face. The following exchange sums it up quite well, clearly with the trope in mind:

 Charlotte: What are you, a spy, an agent or something?

Magnus: A doctor.

Charlotte: Of asskicking!

  • The Mole: Tesla's assistant in "Normandy".
  • Mr. Fanservice: The entire episode featuring a guest appearance by Michael Shanks, wearing leather and sporting stubble.
  • Mugging the Monster
    • In "For King and Country", Helen pays a girl to lead her to Druitt. When they get there, the girl and and her cronies try to rob Helen. She disarms the girl and takes the rest of them hostage in about a second.
    • Lampshaded in another episode, when Will and his date are taken hostage. Will realizes that they meant to capture Helen, and laughs at the very idea of them trying to kidnap Helen Magnus.
  • Mundane Utility: Will is turning into a lizard-creature and gains the ability to crawl on walls. Henry's reaction is priceless (slightly paraphrased): "Cool. Now go change some lightbulbs."
  • Musical Episode: "Fugue". Justified in that the episode involves Abby being infected with a parasitic being, one of the symptoms thereof being that she can only hear and speak in certain frequencies, thus she communicates with others in song, and since the parasite makes her deaf to regular speaking, duets are not uncommon. Even parasite-Abby gets one, which is probably the best. At one point Magnus has a conference and imagines, or not, that everyone is reporting to her via a song as well.
  • Mutants: Called "abnormals".
  • Naive Newcomer: Will
  • Never Found the Body
    • Ashley teleports with the shield up, leading everyone but Magnus to believe she's dead. She spends an episode searching for ways she could be alive, before eventually accepting that she truly didn't survive. According to Word of God she really is dead.
    • Ditto Ranna of Hollow Earth, who is presumed dead after the destruction of Praxis. Word of God is mum so far.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, no-one lets Druitt forget that he was Jack the Ripper.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Helen in the series 4 premiere. After time travelling to 1898, she angrily berates Past!Adam, earning his ire that she won't help him with his daughter's kidnapping (ironically, by his future-self). At the end of the episode she ends up in a confrontation with Future!Adam, only for him to fire a stray shot that accidentally ends up causing the death of his daughter anyway, despite her being cured from her terminal illness. After her past self arrives at the crime scene, Past!Adam shows up and immediately blames Past!Magnus for his daughters death, causing his Start of Darkness.
  • Nipple-and-Dimed: Apparently, it's not okay for a TV show to put nipples on mermaids, but it is okay to show the shredded bodies of hundreds of said mermaids — arguably, not being a mammal, "Sally" has no real use for nipples. And if that's true, then she also has no need for breasts.
  • No Ending: There's a season two episode in which Magnus and Will crash the helicopter down a borehole, and when not fighting the monster of the week, exhausted every possible method of escape and communication. At the end, the camera zooms away, with Will saying "Seriously, how are we going to get out of here?" The next episode implies they got out, but the event is not explained or even mentioned.
    • "Instinct" has a variation on this. After the cameraman Zach, who has been filming the events of the episode gets killed by the second creature, Magnus turns off the camera. We then cut to the team back at the Sanctuary, with no explanation of how they dealt with the second creature, what happened to the first creature trapped with the frozen embryos, how they got past the incoming SWAT teams, etc...
  • No Immortal Inertia: Watson in the season one finale.
  • Not Using the Z Word: In "Pavor Nocturnus", a blatant Zombie Apocalypse episode, they go to great lengths to avoid calling the zombies what they obviously are. Instead, the characters say "the outbreak" or "the infection" and refer to the creatures themselves as "pale-faces" or just "them".
  • Now or Never Kiss: Helen and Nikola in the season four finale.
  • Oddly Small Organization: There are at the start of the series six Sanctuaries over the world, and presumably more than five staff members work at the main one, but they get 99% of the screentime. Occasionally we see staff from the London Sanctuary, which was run by James Watson until his death at the end of season 1. The second season shows almost all of the heads of the Sanctuary network.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Dr Magnus, though to a lesser degree and with a heavy biology bent; being over a hundred years old, she's had quite a bit of time to study.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Justified. Dr Magnus was born during the reign of Queen Vicky, and has supposedly lived in America for a century, therefore one would expect the character's accent to shift somewhat. Lampshaded in "Bank Job", when one of the hostages calls Magnus' British accent fake and she changes it to an American one to mock him.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Nikola Tesla
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Henry
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The Morrigan
  • Playing with Syringes: One of the Cabal's more heinous experiments, creating Super Soldiers and having them fight to the death to determine which methods of improvement work best.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: The season one finale. Deliberately designed that way by Magnus' father.
  • POV Cam: Most of the episode "Metamorphosis" takes place from Will's POV.
  • Power Perversion Potential
    • Clara, who has invisibility powers and uses them to sex up Will.
    • Tesla uses his magnetic powers to unbutton an FBI agent's blouse. Will stops him before he can do any more than the top button.
  • Really 159 Years Old: Dr Magnus used to date Jack the Ripper; she's 157 years old at the start of the series. For that matter, Tesla, Watson, and Jack the Ripper are also all older than they look for various reasons. The only member of the Five that isn't (The Invisible Man) is dead with a grown up granddaughter. Magnus' father is even older, and probably in his 180s-190s or so.
    • She's now 250+, thanks to taking The Slow Path after the fourth series premiere.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tesla and Henry.
  • Redemption Equals Death
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Figures that the big lizard-guy is the one spoiling for a fight. It's with good reason, but still.
  • Reset Button: At the end of "Pavor Nocturnus". At first it seems that it was All Just a Dream, but Helen keeps the coat that she picked up in the Zombie Apocalypse future — the Guardian threw her forward in time, then brought her back.
  • Ret-Gone: The unfortunate fate of the majority of the residents in Carentan. A time dilation bubble surrounding the city has to be neutralized, lest it expand far enough to tear the Earth apart due to the violent temporal shift. Inside the bubble, where a single day had been compressed down to six years from their point of view, three generations of people were born. Reversing the time dilation had the effect of negating their existence, as well as everything created in it.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Nubbins, which turn out to be Killer Rabbits.
  • Right Behind Me: Will pulls this on Kate in season three.
  • Shout-Out
    • In episode 8, "Edward", the title character draws monsters. He has a sheaf of drawings; they include one of an Unas and one of a Wraith.
    • Will quotes John McClain when crawling through the air ducts in "Haunted".
    • Two separate Shout Outs to Twilight in "Firewall". One doubles as an Actor Allusion for Christopher Heyerdahl (mentioned above). The other (Will saying "Twilight is amazing!") seems more like a Take That.
    • In "Firewall", Henry shouts "What in the name of Sweet Sidney Crosby is going on!" Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal for Canada in the 2010 Men's Olympic Hockey Gold Medal game.
    • In Season 3, when Will and Henry are investigating stories of other werewolves, the power goes out as Magnus and Tesla are studying the city. Upon requesting Tesla to do something, he replies "What am I, a house elf?" to which she replies "Thank you, Dobby!"
    • In the Season 3 episode "Awakening", the Vampire sigils where Magnus and Tesla are my be slightly familiar to fans of The Elder Scrolls. One of them is the Oblivion Sigil.
    • In "Hero", the Adjuster lies to Will about how he got his powers by telling him a story that's a mashup of various well-known heroes' origin stories. When Will relates it to Henry later, Henry gets every one of the references and laughs at Will for missing them.
    • In "Next Tuesday", when confronted by a Vampire Squid, Magnus mutters "Hello, Beastie!".
  • The Slow Path: After travelling back in time with Adam Worth, Magnus has to get back to the future via this method. At the end of Season 4, it turns out that, being Magnus, rather than taking the supposed century of vacation, she uses the time to set up an elaborate Batman Gambit to further her goals in the present, and secure the future of the Sanctuary.
  • Spoiler Opening
    • Subverted. The opening to "Eulogy" still features Ashley like the first season opening did, implying that the character will be brought back after the Heroic Sacrifice. And then the episode ends with Magnus having to accept that Ashley is, in fact, really dead, and the next episode's opening is completely redone, replacing the trio with a quintet.
    • Season 3 seems to play straight into this though, the shot of the team removes big guy and instead features Druitt
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: In "Normandy", during the final attack on the underground bunker that holds the fire elemental.
  • Stating the Simple Solution
    • Adam in "Pax Romana". Will hesitates to shoot him, and is scolded by Adam for it. He is then immediately shot by Helen.
    • In "Normandy", Watson asks Druitt why he can't just kill Hitler. It turns out that John actually killed him nine months ago, but the Nazis are using his body double to run the Reich and are perfectly happy with it. Oh Crap.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Nazis had an Abnormal-hunting division. They managed to collect a weather machine and a living fire elemental, which would have ruined the invasion at Normandy if not for Magnus and her merry band of vampire-enhanced humans.
  • Super Weight
    • Type 0: Ordinary people, Will Zimmermann, Declan McRae
    • Type 1: Kate Freelander
    • Type 2: Helen Magnus, Ashley Magnus, James Watson, Adam Worth, Big Guy
    • Type 3: John Druitt, Nikola Tesla, Nigel Griffin, Henry, Superabnormals (Ashley Magnus)
    • Type 4: The Avatars (Kali/Big Bertha, Kanaan)
    • Type 5: The Guardian
  • The Symbiote: The Adjuster's suit is a rare benevolent example.
    • The Macri. It allows communication with Kali, extends its chosen host's life for centuries and its only "evil" act is that the host's physiology becomes so dependant on it, they will die soon afterwards.
  • Taking You with Me
    • Future!Will's response to being bitten by zombies is to attack as many of them as he can head-on, with a side order of Last Stand / You Shall Not Pass.
    • Jimmy does this in "Penance".
    • Druitt in "Haunted".
    • Ashley literally takes the last cabal super-soldier with her to death.
  • Take That: When Adam Worth boasts about how he had a book, Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, written about him, Magnus replies with:

 Magnus: Stop glorifying yourself! It was a book written in three days high on cocaine.

Worth: About my amazing exploits! Never saw a penny for it, mind you. Stevenson, *laughs* selfish bugger!

  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Once as of this writing, with a plane crashed in the mountains and an illusion-generating monstrosity loose. Probably the only work ever to include a Genre Savvy Red Herring Mole — he's self-aware and attempts to avert Death By Genre Savvy. The monster is ultimately detected through Bluff the Impostor.
  • Time Is Dangerous: A time bubble allows people to enter, but violently destroys anything attempting to leave. Time inside bubble runs six years to each day outside, result in three-year periods of no sunlight. Naturally, this is not good for a self-contained ecosystem. Furthermore, if the bubble had expanded too far, the time differential between the different parts of the Earth would have destroyed the planet. Will and Magnus manage to reverse it, but at the cost of ret-goning everyone born inside the bubble.
  • Three-Point Landing: Will in "Kali, Part III".
  • Unfazed Everyman: Will, sort of. He's the only main character who was introduced to the existence of abnormals during the run of the show.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: James Watson dies at the end of the second episode he's in. In a subversion however, his character is then developed in subsequent flashback episodes.
  • We Help the Helpless
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Edward Forsythe. Various characters speculate that his motivation for controlling Big Bertha was to hold the world hostage, use her to dig for more oil, use the Macri to live for centuries, etc. As he's dying, he reveals to Magnus that that his sole intention throughout was to recreate Pangaea as a sanctuary for all the abnormals in the world.

  Edward: An Island of Dr Moreau... but done properly. You can't blame me for dreaming big?

  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Subverted. While at first Ashley is convinced the "adorable" Nubbins are the prey of a more monstrous-looking creature encountered in the same episode, the reverse ends up being also true when there's enough Nubbins, and the Nubbins quickly become a major threat.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: "Normandy" is set during the Second World War and ends with Battle of Normandy.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: After Ashley's death, Magnus goes looking for a way to remove her immortality. It... doesn't end well. Thank God for the Ancient Keeper.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: Played with in End of Nights pt. II. While reluctance to put down Ashley is reasonable, the really do try to kill the Cabal soldiers, and fail only because they don't have the magic gun. Once they do, Helen Magnus kills three of them very casually.
  • Women in Refrigerators: Clara in the second season opener.
  • World Half Empty / The End of the World as We Know It: "Pavor Nocturnus"
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The time dilation bubble around Carentan had a ratio of six years inside to each day outside. The resulting difference meant that their daily cycle was stretched over the same period: three years of daylight and three years of night.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Played straight and inverted in "Chimera". Physical stress in the simulation manifests in the real world, but likewise, an adrenaline shot in the real world gives Helen momentary Super Strength inside the simulation.
  • Your Vampires Suck
  • Zombie Apocalypse
    • "Pavor Nocturnus" to a T.
    • Oh, and the Mayans were wiped out by an early Zombie Apocalypse. Presumably those zombies ran out of humans to eat and eventually died, due to populations being more isolated than they are now.