25 September 2010

Warehouse 13: Season 1

Warehouse 13: Season 1

Created by Jane Espenson, D. Brent Mote
Starring Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagilotti, CCH Pounder
Transmission season: Summer 2009
12 episodes, 42 mins.

Plot: Agents Peter and Myka are begrudgingly teamed up by a secret Warehouse, a facility that stores highly dangerous artifacts from around the globe with scientific/supernatural properties.

Maintaining the line between fun and campiness, SyFy’s Original Series WAREHOUSE 13 has quickly become one of my favorite shows on television. Developed by D. Brent Mote, Jane Espenson (BUFFY, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and David Simkins (BLADE: THE SERIES), the twelve-episode first season has its share of dramatic moments mixed in with a lot of cultural references, geek cred, fun, and hammy whammy. When I said Espenson’s name in the opening credits, it all became apparent: “Oh, duh, of course” is basically the thought I had. After all, spending all those years with Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon would tend to have their personalities rub off on you. So here we have this, a show about a huuuuge warehouse that stores scientific/paranormal artifacts that have no reason being out in our world. My apologies for partaking of the overused analogy, but it’s similar to where that dude put the Ark of the Covenant in the final shot of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

Our main characters are Pete Lattimer (McClintock), a hot headed Secret Service Agent who acts first and thinks third, and also has some weird sixth sense thing that comes in handy when dealing with bad guys intent on killing him and his partner Myka. Agent Myka Bering (Kelly) is the polar opposite of Pete, very analytical, thinking things through, level headed, and not rash. Of course, when the two of them are paired together by the Warehouse, they tend to clash with their different ways of operating. Happily, that’s where a great amount of the fun is. Their leader of operations at the Warehouse is Arthur “Artie” Nielsen (Rubinek), a bumbling dude who we don’t know too much about, doesn’t bother explaining much, and is very know-it-allish. But the great thing about Artie is that he’s a sort of father figure for the two, especially Claudia, a character introduced a bit into the season and becomes a series regular. Artie’s trustworthy (to a degree), and dependable (also to a degree…so…), and plus has this whole intelligent man thing going for him. Speaking of Claudia (Scagliotti), aside from being cute and gorgeous, she’s a brilliant computer whiz in her early twenties who has a great sense of humor, throwing off hilarious one-liners here and there, and occasionally getting into trouble [but then again, everyone seems to do that in this show]. The boss of Artie is Mrs. Fredric, played by SHIELD veteran C.C.H Pounder, a woman older than she looks and doesn’t have a high tolerance of their shenanigans. And the cast is evened out by Leena, the resident psychic who can read a person’s aura.

The series opens with a great “Pilot”, establishing the tone and feel of the show, the vast space of the Warehouse itself, and setting up the main premise of the show: find artifacts, bring ‘em back for archival. It’s not until over halfway through the series where a antagonist is revealed, and a arc comes into place; otherwise, the majority of the episodes are very standalone, Artifact-of-the-Week type of deals. Which, really, I don’t mind; after all, it’s the freshman season, and the writers/creators are still finding their footing. Plus, it allows them to go any direction they want each and every episode – they can go for the dramatic, such as “Burnout” when Pete’s life is a mili-inch from being no more, and “Nevermore”, where Myka finds her father (guest star Michael Hogan, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) slowly dying by having his life force drained. But where there’s drama, there are a few more episodes on the light side of things – and that’s either the beauty or curse of the series. Either things are played out in too comedic, too cartoony of a fashion that it really feels like an entirely unreletable alternate universe where these things are taking place, or everything gels perfectly that that fine line stays true and we get an excellent episode.

Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly work well off each other. Even when they’re bickering ferociously and trying to be all ‘grrr’ at each other, the obvious fact that they’re having loads of fun doing it is hugely apparent on their faces. Saul Rubinek is one of the shows highlights as Artie, nearly always stealing the scene from the other actors. Although it is part of his character, my only real criticism is his constant mumbling and use of “uh”; damn, man, stop! The real stellar aspect of the show is Allison Scagliotti who plays Claudia. Allison is, no doubt in my mind, a actress with amazing star power, showing off her ability to delve deep into emotional avenues, as evidenced by her debut episode “Claudia”, as well as yamming up the fun overdrive-style, as in “Breakdown.”

Sadly, I must say, there’s not much to critique about WAREHOUSE 13. Basically, if you’re a fan of shows that don’t take themselves too seriously, and are immensely enjoyable and most definitely a blast to watch, running through all twelve episodes in rapid-fire succession, then I’d say look no further than WAREHOUSE 13.

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