Viewer’s Cut: Warehouse 13

(Photo: Justin Stephens/Syfy)

(Photo: Justin Stephens/Syfy)

SyFy’s Warehouse 13 has been my guilty pleasure during this holiday break, filling up the long hours of airport layovers as well of those vacuums between family reunions. The series manages to balance mindless fun with dark, yet still fantastic, moments. The idea of one big warehouse storing all the unexplainable has been hinted at since Area 51 and that final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but this show is a lot more of an X-Files version of Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Peter Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) star as the secret service agents who are drafted to collect (“snag it, bag it and tag it” in Warehouse lexicon) the artifacts that cause diverse mayhem. Some of these seem harmless enough, while others have very dark designs. Pete is the reckless fun guy that never obeys the rules while Myka is the book smart by-the-book agent. As the show progresses both characters are develop a lot more than their stereotypical descriptions. Pete is a recovering alcoholic, who gets vibes whenever something is about to happen. Myka is knowledgeable is several fields, has a photographic memory and speaks almost every single language on the planet.

Arthur “Arty” Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) is their boss and the manager of the warehouse. A man of many secrets, he’s one of the driving forces of the show.  He only answers to Mrs. Frederic, an even more mysterious figure until even more mysterious figures come along. Leena (Genelle Williams) is the owner of the nearby bed and breakfast, and has the ability to read auras.

Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) joins them on Season 2. She’s the hacker extraordinaire, but more important than that, she brings the snark – the much needed sass that actually improves this show. To be honest, she’s one of the reasons that I kept on watching the show.

Highs:

  • The show manages to balance light-hearted moments with serious, dark, doomsday events. Although sometimes it falls into cliches, more often than not it breaks a few of them.
  • Arty and Claudia’s dynamic, which often falls into father figure vs. rebellious teenager, is such a joy to watch that I often forget about the rest of the characters.
  • I love the steampunk feel of all the technology/magic that maintains the warehouse, making it feel a little bit like a kid that sometimes behaves like a spoiled brat (think the Millenium Falcon breaking down then working in the last minute).
  • The use of historical fiction, or alternate history, is usually done with attention to the actual historical facts before introducing the distortion.
  • Helena aka H. G. Wells is a recurring character played by Jaime Murray. She’s the most badass depiction I’ve seen of an expert inventor, deductive genius and plays both a villain and a heroine to an amazing level.

Lows:

  • Pete is a bit of a lower rung character for me. He’s often overshadowed by basically everyone else despite being one of the main characters. The show often has to force him into the foreground to a heroic stature.
  • Although some recurring guest appearances (see Jaime Murray as H. G. Wells) are amazing, others don’t work as well for me. Anthony Michael Hall as Walter Sykes and Brent Spiner as Brother Adrian were examples of letdowns.
  • Some of the episodes are your basic, baddie-of-the-week, fodder and only character interaction or the secondary plot save the day.
  • Humour is a mixed bag. I love Claudia’s witticisms but Pete’s jokes tend to fall flat. Fortunately the cast grows enough that they support each other, but some episodes end up as filler.

That will do for now.

(Source: SyFy)

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