SyFy’s Warehouse 13 – TV Review
Warehouse 13, the latest series on the SciFi channel (which is helping kick off the network’s change to SyFy), looks to be an attempt to bring some mainstream fans to the channel while fulfilling the desires of its core audience. The 2-hour pilot, which airs July 7th from 9 – 11 ET/PT, plays out a little bit Bones, and a little bit X-Files, with dashes of new-spin Doctor Who thrown in.
The show stars Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly who start off as two very different Secret Service agents. McClintock plays Pete Lattimer, an easy-going but effective agent who gets “feelings” when things are going wrong, and has learned to trust them the hard way. Kelly is agent Myka Bering. More or less Lattimer’s polar opposite, Myka is uptight, by-the-book, and (supposedly) very good at her job.
When a routine Presidential visit to the Capitol Museum of Natural History takes an odd turn, our two stars find themselves reassigned and given orders to make their way to South Dakota. There they learn that they have been assigned to Warehouse 13, a giant storehouse of artifacts with supernatural powers.
They also meet agent Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) who is the keeper of Warehouse 13, which he lovingly refers to as the nation’s attic. Pete and Myka find out that they are meant to be permanently assigned to the warehouse, and their job will be to hunt down and retrieve all manner of paranormal objects. While Myka immediately tries everything she can to get out of the assignment, Pete thinks the whole thing sounds very cool.
The pilot delivers a solid effort at introduction to a complicated road, and the series obviously sets a stage which opens future episodes to every conceivable possibility. There’s a bit more drama to the dramedy than viewers might expect, and it’s hard to tell if the air of seriousness is going to mesh with the truly bizarre. Much like the friction between viewpoints of the two main characters, the show itself seems to be attempting to shove two angles together in a way rather untested.
I have to admit to a certain bias on this one, because this is just my kind of wacky, but this is a tricky show. It doesn’t quite go all the way to a serious side that might make it a no-brainer for fans of something like X-Files or Battlestar Galactica, but it certainly has those fans in mind.
It does have a quirky charm to it, which is aided tremendously by Saul Rubinek’s Artie. The hermit-like overseer of all things mystical is hard to resist. On the other side of that coin, “witchy” Myka is liable to alienate a few viewers before they get to the end and discover that the show aims to soften her up a little as we progress.
The ultimate verdict is going to come down in a similar fashion to something like Bones, which is incredibly difficult to avoid mentioning, because its just a matter of the degree to which audiences feel they can invest in, and feed off, Pete and Myka. That’s a question that will be held in limbo until we get five or six episodes in, and everyone settles into their new home at the warehouse. The trouble is that it’s awfully hard to tell how that’s going from the pilot, and how much likability Myka is going to manage.
The show is probably going to have to hope the sci-fi holds people long enough to put Myka through the tenderizer, and we do seem to have solid enough suggestion that she’s heading there (including some interesting apparel in episode two). Adding to our hope for a dynamic cast mix is young Allison Scagliotti coming to the show in episode four, and a host of interesting guest stars throughout the first season.
It’s the kind of show, just in theory, that I’m going to stick with at least for a while, and it’s got potential. The cast is an interesting mix, but let’s hope the show stabilizes more towards bouncing its characters off each other and slightly less on the side of overly playing the mumbo jumbo.
Below find some press release info on the guest stars we’ll be seeing, and a video player with the latest Hulu has to offer on the show. Also, check out the Warehouse 13 homepage here. It’s a pretty nice site actually, and has a lot of information as well as a fair number of gimmicky doodads to expose you to the show and characters.
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Guest roles in season one -
Ivan Sergei (Crossing Jordan, Charmed) is “Ross” an EMT from Unionville, New York. Ross and some of the other townspeople begin to display bizarre behavioral symptoms — involuntary (and potentially dangerous) expressions of their subconscious desires.
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice) stars as FBI Agent “Bonnie Belski” who clashes with Pete and Myka when they interfere with a case on her Chicago turf. But after the third inexplicable bank takeover, she finds herself willing to make use of their expertise.
Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis, First Monday) portrays the handsome, wealthy “Jeff Weaver” whose charm captures Myka’s interest, but he finds himself under Pete and Myka’s scrutiny when a sculpture on which he bid, vanishes in an impossible heist.
James Naughton (Ally McBeal, Gossip Girl) is “Gilbert Radburn,” the well-tailored, Trump-esque high-profile entrepreneur. When a competitor threatens his intended acquisition, Radburn’s suspicious behavior brings him under Pete and Myka’s scrutiny.
Roger Rees (Cheers, The West Wing) is “MacPherson” one of Artie’s former Warehouse colleagues, who has gone rogue and is now competing with the team to gather dangerous and powerful objects for his own use.
Erica Cerra (Eureka, The L Word) and Niall Matter (Eureka, The Best Years) portray “Jillian and Gary Whitman,” small-time thieves on the Las Vegas strip, whose fortunes, twisted by the strange power of luck-inducing artifact, take a fantastic turn.
Joe Morton (Eureka, Terminator 2) stars as “John HIll” a charismatic prison inmate and an extremist religious leader in a Florida prison.
Mark Sheppard (24, Battlestar Galactica) is “Mr. Valda” the enigmatic representative of the Regents, the mysterious organization that controls Warehouse 13. He disapproves of Artie’s methods as the team leader of the Warehouse, and isn’t afraid to let him know it.
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica, The L Word) portrays Myka’s father “Warren Bering,” who receives a dangerous object anonymously in the mail which puts his life in jeopardy.