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Last Updated: 18 October 2000

 


VANCOUVER HOSTS FIRST SENTINEL CONVENTION - April 5 1998

SenCon Logo

(Convention logo designed by Bill Furlong and Bob Bottieri of Pet Fly Productions/The Sentinel)

GM & RB on stage The world's first Sentinel convention was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada over the weekend of April 3-5. Hundreds of fans from all over the world gathered at Vancouver's Renaissance Hotel, which features in many episodes of the show, most recently the episode Love Kills.

The show's creators Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo joined series stars Richard Burgi, Garett Maggart, Bruce A Young and new regular cast member Anna Galvin on stage to answer questions, share anecdotes, sign autographs and raise over $23,000 for Ronald McDonald House.

Pet Fly Productions also treated fans to the show's blooper reel, stunt and special effects displays, behind the scenes glimpses and panel discussions with other cast members and technical and creative staff.


NEW GARETT MAGGART INTERVIEW IN AUSTRALIAN TV WEEK - April 7 1998

BANKS, BURGI AND BLAIR

They sound like a firm of accountants, but for The Sentinel's lead actors, work is no desk job......

The Sentinel, Thursdays, 10.30pm, Seven/Prime (Vic only)

When Garett Maggart won the role of Blair Sandburg in the explosive action series The Sentinel, he headed straight for the local bookstore. When you're playing an anthropology student specialising in pre-civilised cultures, every bit of advice helps.

"Sometimes fans think I'm this brainy guy, and them I let them down!" the 28-year-old says. "When I first got the part, I bought a bunch of anthropological books, but I couldn't really find an anthropology A to Z. All the stuff was very specific."

In The Sentinel, Blair's mission is to protect his thesis subject, Det. Jim Ellison (Richard Burgi), a cop who uses his gift of amazing sensory awareness to hunt criminals.

"Blair's great" Garett says. "He's inquisitive and sort of nosy, but in a good way. He's not the strongest guy, and he's no action hero, but he's not going to run away from anyone either."

Garett says the show's appeal lies in the chemistry generated between Richard, himself and Bruce (as police captain Simon Banks). "We come from different worlds, but show that different people can get along", Garett says, stressing that his feisty on-screen relationship with Richard mellows considerably off the set.

"Richard and I fuelled the antagonism between the two characters from the start. But off screen we get along brilliantly." Landing The Sentinel was a big break for Garett. "At first it was difficult and really odd." he says. "I had never been in an action show before. Being required to react to an explosion that wasn't there was kind of weird. But after a while, I just remembered what it was like when I was a kid, playing army or whatever!"

The Sentinel's stars work long hours and take 10 days to complete just one episode, filming in Vancouver, Canada. The most tedious part, Garett says, is hanging around the studio.

"Everything seems to come to a grinding halt when you get in there. We're at episode 54 now, and we've shot just about every angle on the set," he says. "But when you get outside, it's so beautiful in Vancouver and much more exciting."

(Thanks Kathy Maxwell)


JUNGLE JIM - April 26 1998

(By Keith Austin, Melbourne Sunday Age TV Guide)

(accompanied by pic at right, with the caption: Sense of Duty. Burgi and co-stars)

"Even the all-seeing, all-hearing, all-smelling Sentinel hadn't sniffed out the internet website that features a drinking game based on the increasingly popular TV show.

The rules are simple: watch The Sentinel with your favourite tipple and follow these 54 scene guides. These include taking a gulp when any of the three main characters calls the bad guy "the bad guy", or sipping carefully when the Sentinel's sidekick Blair Sandburg pushes his hair behind his ears. On the phone from Canada, where he is filming the third series, Sentinel star Burgi guffawed: "That's great! That's funny!"

Burgi was picked for the lead role of sensory-enhanced cop Jim Ellison by the show's creator and producer Danny Bilson, after appearances as the recurring villain in another Bilson show, Viper. The Sentinel is a Six-Million-Dollar-Man for the 1990's: a black operations soldier who is stranded in the Peruvian jungle for 18 months and returns to so-called civilisation with hyperactive senses.

He enters the police force and meets anthropology student Sandburg (Garett Maggart), who explains that he is a Sentinel, a tribal watchman chosen because of a genetic advantage that heightens all five senses beyond those of normal humans. Sandburg then joins forces with Ellison and helps him control his new-found powers.

Burgi, 39, has had an almost clichéd rise through the ranks of American television, moving to New York from Montclair New Jersey, and working, among other things, as a carpenter in Harlem to pay his way. The cliche started long before that though, because he comes from that most conventional of acting backgrounds, the performing family.

"Mom and Dad were involved in local theatre, and also in the local music scene, which basically had its epicentre at our house."

There have been suggestions that the third series will be the last, but Burgi is sanguine at the prospect: "It could fall by the wayside, but probably won't. I think we do a nice tightrope walk across the fantasy-reality line. We've got a regular Joe who's got heightened senses, but that doesn't make him a superman. It makes him the embodiment of everyone's potential."

On the internet, Bilson says he may introduce a female detective, probably Australian, to go nose-to-nose with Ellison and Sandburg.

Why Australian?

"Because they're... so... damn... sexy, " laughed Burgi."

(Thanks Kathy)


THE SENTINEL - THE EYE OF THE HUNTER - April 30 1998

Taken from: German Science Fiction TV-Guide 98/99
Author: Torsten Dewi
Translation: Christina Porsch

Pro 7´s new action show nearly stalled because, after a very strong debut with high ratings, RTL put the German show Alarm fur Cobra 11 in the same timeslot and won the race. PRO 7 immediately moved the show to follow Alarm... A good idea, supported by the solid high ratings the show has enjoyed since then.

The Sentinel deals with police detective Jim Ellison who discovers his heightened senses after being stranded in the Peruvian rainforest. He is a kind of track hound and hunting hawk in one person. A young university professor recognizes his special abilities and stays at his side to help him with his cases.

With Richard Burgi in the lead role, The Sentinel has an actor, who really worked for his success in the States (and who seems to be a very nice person). He did lots of shows as a non regular and had some small roles till he won the lead in One West Waikiki. My opinion?? The guy is great and with his special nut-cracker chin he would be perfect in the role of a super hero.

It is amazing how professional an action show can be created today. The Sentinel contains scenes which are reminiscent of the Die Hard movies. And the writers aren't limited to normal police case material. Anything is possible from investigations in a monastery to an oil rig.

Not only the are special effects in the show excellent, the camera work is among the best. The Production company, Pet Fly, also shoots Viper in their Vancouver studios but I see a lot of quality differences between the two shows.

I can give you exclusive information right from the production company that the first episodes of the new (third) season will be very spectacular. They have given the team 10 days for shooting instead of six and needed nearly 1200 extras. Also Detective Ellison will get romantically involved with the new character of a police forensic officer.

It's a great show for those young people, who don't like shows like Hooker or Hawaii 5-0 because they aren't fast and modern enough for them.

(Thanks Christina)


Convention Report in Austrian Newspaper - 30 April 1998

Ingrid Gabriel writes:

I'm a journalist, working for a big newspaper in Austria (KURIER) and I got lucky: was allowed to publish 100 lines about the SenCon in Vancouver, including two pictures plus a second story (25 lines) to describe what the show's about. I'm attaching a transcription and sending a copy of the paper to UPN, Paramount and PetFly.


April 30, 1998

Fans Fevered For The Sentinel

Conventions are get-togethers, where worshippers are allowed to get in touch with their stars.

There's no need for TV-Cult like Star Trek or X-Files for fans to flock together to show proper appreciation to their favorite actors. 500 carried away female fans - and five male, too - were enthused by crime-show The Sentinel - unfortunately cancelled in Germany and Austria - and for three days solely lived for their stars in Vancouver, where the series is filmed.

Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo of Pet Fly-production, producers of the Series, had insisted upon inviting the main characters of the show to attend the fangathering.That’s why Richard Burgi, Garett Maggart, Bruce A. Young and Ryf Van Rij were confronted with flashlights and lots of questions.

Overwhelmed teens wearing T-shirts saying 'Blair’s Love Slave' or 'Jim Ellison, best man for the Job' were told the most embarrassing events on the set - for instance, when the whole crew disappeared during a break and left the main character, coming back from said break, standing on the set lost and alone...and learned about their favorite actors' enormous comic potential. - which also made clear why they decided to become actors in the first place.

In fact, the actors went all out to satisfy their demanding fans. The filming of the third season was not interrupted because of the convention, the filming schedule provides one week to work on each episode and the shooting is only eight weeks ahead of actual transmission. Falling ill is not allowed, 14 to 18 hours work a day is entirely normal and the payment not as exceptional as for their X-Files counterparts.

The reward for all the toil this time went to the Ronald McDonalds House for Children: Cause 500 gals -- coming from Australia, the US, even from Germany and Austria -- decided to spend their money at a charity auction, which was hosted by the actors. Blair's vest - from the pilot, changed hands at $2200, Jim's boxer shorts sold at $6200 - and and made the winner blush speechlessly and Jim's police badge sold for $6000. The needy children received the total of $23 000 from this memorable afternoon.

To get all touchy-feely with the actors during the following autograph-marathon was all but the cherry on the cake, before the exhaused actors escaped for further filming in Mexico.


Sentinel-crew on crime-mission

This to all who haven't seen the show yet: The Sentinel, Jim Ellison, is a cop with five heightened senses he's only able to control with the help of anthropology-student Blair Sandburg. His boss Simon Banks is the only one to know about this secret; all the other cops just puzzle over the 'hunches' of their colleague. Richard Burgi (One West Waikiki) is Jim Ellison, Garett Maggart plays Blair Sandburg, Bruce A. Young is Banks, Ryf Van Rij acts as Rafe, a cop in Ellison's team. Come fall there'll be new eps on PRO 7.

(Thanks to Ingrid and Urban Uschi)

 


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