Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I Watched Last Night: Warehouse 13

Okay, so I'm still working on what I'll be watching this fall, although I'm hoping to get the list up soon. Until then, here's a little something to get my feet wet in the old tv reviewing swimmin' hole.

(Note: I'll be playing around with formats too, so if you like or hate something, let me know in the comments)

(Note: The above is just a sneaky way to make sure I get comments)

Warehouse 13
Season 1, Episode 9: "Regrets"

So, even with the terrible name change, low budget movies, and Scare Tactics, SyFy still puts out some interesting shows. I've been a fan of Eureka for a while, and I've been enjoying Warehouse 13 over the last two months.

If you haven't seen it, it's got elements of Friday the 13th: The Series (minus the occult) and The X-Files (minus the ratings). Two Secret Service agents (played by Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly) are retasked into working for Artie (Saul Rubinek), the caretaker of Warehouse 13, a storage facilty for "artifacts" that all have various powers/abilities. Most artifacts seem to be linked to famous people/places, and have abilities related to their former owners. For instance, Lewis Carroll's mirror that creates a duplicate of the person standing in front of it, or Volta's lab coat, which makes the wearer magnetic.

The episodes are your basic "[blank] of the week" format; Agents Lattimer and Bering go out to investigate a strange occurence, an object is involved, Artie helps out from the Warehouse, there's usually some kind of subplot involving Artie and/or the Warehouse, problem solved in 40 minutes. Sprinkle in some arcing plots and some backstory, and viola: a series. Don't get me wrong, it's a good show, but it's not breaking any new ground. Still, there's a reason formulas have worked for so long, and W13 has enough charm to take it a few seasons. They also added hyper-cute Allison Scagliotti as young she-nerd Claudia, although her dialogue is a little too quirky...about .3 Junos.

So tonight's episode: Regrets. Sculder and Mully go to a prison to investigate a series of inmate suicides (Don't do it), while a tropical storm looms in the background. I'm sure that won't factor into the plot AT ALL, so I'll just ignore it.

Meanwhile, back at the Warehouse, Claudia is using Alessandro Volta's lab coat to magnetically climb up a metal support beam in order to change a 108 year old light bulb.

Aside: One of the charming things about this show are the bits of "secret tech" that the government has repurposed from well known scientist/inventors. For instance, they communicate with two-way video devices invented by Philo Farnsworth, and they pack a "taser gun" invented by Nicolas Tesla. It's like steampunk James Bond, and it adds a lot of atmosphere to the mythology of the show.

Tonight's episode isn't the best starting point for new watchers, but it does wrap up a lot of the backstory of the two Agents. Lattimer gets "vibes", kind of a low-grade premonition, and he had a vibe on the day that his dad died fighting a fire. Bering's partner died while on duty, and she blames herself. These regrets (TITLE!) from their past have cropped up several times in the last eight episodes, and they finally get some closure in this episode. The B story is more fun, with Claudia getting herself magnetically stuck to the support, and becoming more and more magnetic. Claudia and Artie have a well written relationship that works on a mentor/pupil level, and as scientific equals.

Episodes are available on, and it's definitely worth taking a look at. There are three more episodes remaining in this season, and I'm hoping it gets picked up for a second season.

Feedback goes in the comments section, Fall schedule should be ready in another day or two.

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