Warehouse 13 (Series 1)

71VfDc4V57L._SL1181_Overview:

“After saving the life of the President in Washington D.C., a pair of U.S. Secret Service agents are whisked away to a covert location in South Dakota that houses supernatural objects that the Regents, an Authority above and outside any government, have collected over the centuries. Their new assignment: retrieve any lost objects and investigate reports of new ones.”

–IMDB

That’s pretty good, for once. But let me clear it up a bit.

The show follows Myka and Pete, the Secret Service agents, as they work for Artie, the quirky head of the Warehouse. They never explain how, but Artie was an NSA agent who hunted down artifacts- those objects with the supernatural abilities- along with a team, but something happened and now it is just him, Pete, and Myka (even though in flashbacks there are usually close to a dozen people who work for the Warehouse).

The Regents are not major players in the story– you see them near the end and they are that presence that is referred to but never really seen. The link between the Regents and those in the Warehouse is Mrs. Frederic, a mysterious woman able to appear and vanish at will (they never explained if this was a power or if she is merely really sneaky).

Also involved in the story is Leena, owner of the bed and breakfast that houses all Warehouse agents. Leena appears to also be an agent to some degree- she confers with Artie within the warehouse regularly and seems to have some kind of psychic power.

The rest of the plot is rather simple– Artie sends Pete and Myka out to investigate, and they bring back the artifact.

Early on the show revolves around a theme of someone from the outside who they gradually become aware of- someone who is hacking the Warehouse database and seems to have a personal connection to Artie. Without giving away the story, it’s the introduction of another new figure to the Warehouse- Claudia Donovan, a snarky young tech genius who has a vendetta against Artie, initially.

L-R: Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti), Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), Myka Bearing (Joanne Kelly), Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), and Leena (Genelle Williams).

L-R: Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti), Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), Myka Bearing (Joanne Kelly), Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), and Leena (Genelle Williams).

Plot: 3/5

What really hurts this show is just how dull the first five or six episodes are. Strangely, and potentially fatally for any show, the pilot is easily the worst episode. It doesn’t help that the characters of Pete and Myka, while thoroughly developed, are rather shallow images and do not give any real depth. The only way I can think of to describe it is only going to be understood by “Stargate SG-1” fans– they’re pretty much the same as Mitchell (Ben Browder’s character who replaced Richard Dean Anderson’s Jack O’Neill)– thrown together hastily with a thin back story and no real depth.

That could also be the acting, but mostly the characters are just… annoying.

What really helps pick up the pace (and the only reason I kept watching the show) is Claudia Donovan, the hacker I mentioned earlier. She has a very rich back story and it helps add feeling into the show and drive the plot. I was honestly more interested in her fate with the Warehouse than Myka or Pete and their antics.

Something rather annoying with the show is how they’ll present extremely well-known facts like it’s something amazing they just happen to know that professionals don’t. For example- one case they work on involves people mysteriously being aged 80 years. The connection is made when the coroner finds some implants on one of the bodies and Pete shocks him with the revelation that implants actually have serial numbers that you can track– something any doctor knows (and anyone who watches cop shows).

The story picks up halfway through the season. The cases become more interesting, and a lot of them feed in to an overall story about a rogue Warehouse agent thought long dead who is collecting artifacts to sell and who is working some grand scheme around the Warehouse.

Claudia is forced to fix all the damage she did to the Warehouse during a break-in.

Claudia is forced to fix all the damage she did to the Warehouse during a break-in.

Other than that there isn’t much to say about the plot– it’s extremely episodic, for the most part you could watch it in any order. You kind of have to watch the first four in order though– just so you get the intro of the characters and get to know Claudia (who appears in episode four), because she’s in the show a lot after that.

Acting: 1/5

Oh my sweet lord, IT’S AWFUL. I said I like the character of Claudia and what she adds to the show, but the truth is that she is the only main character who acts. Saul Rubinek does a wonderful job as Artie, but I’ve seen him in a few other shows and he always plays the exact same character, and within “Warehouse 13” he is pretty much the exact same, so it’s hard to get a read on him. But Allison Scagliotti (Claudia) deserves an award for her performance- she can do emotional as well as snark without any issues, and it is a breath of fresh air to the show.

I place most of the blame for the horrible acting on the shoulders of the show’s leads- Eddie McClintock (Pete) and Joanne Kelly (Myka). While it is rare that I go “what????” when watching, their performances are par with minor guest stars, not leads. There are many episodes where the guest stars outshine them, and that really brings down the whole story.

Speaking of the guest stars, by the way, this is one thing the show does right. “Warehouse 13”, when it premiered with abysmal ratings, started scrambling to establish itself as a sister-show to the successful program “Eureka”. Because of this the most popular actors from “Eureka” appeared as guest stars in “Warehouse 13”, all but one of them did *not*, however, appear as their “Eureka” characters.
Also on the guest list is, of course, the incredible, amazing, and seemingly infinite Mark Sheppard (just look him up on IMDB, he’s probably been in nearly every single show you watch at least once). Tia Carrere (Cassandra in “Waynes World”), Roger Rees (The Sheriff from “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”), and other major names also appear in Season 1. Season 3-4 see an onslaught of some of the biggest names of Sci-Fy television appearing alongside the main characters.
Artie leads Myka and Pete into the Warehouse for the first time.

Artie leads Myka and Pete into the Warehouse for the first time.

Age Rating: 10+

Some of the stories might scare kids, but for the most part it is PG. The effects are rather toony in season 1 (as is usually the case with Sci-Fy shows), so they won’t be fooling anyone. There is some light cursing, but nothing major and not often. Preview a couple episodes to see if it’s OK for your kid, but it will probably pass the test.
Fun Trivia
As previously stated, early on they tried to pull up the ratings by linking the show to “Eureka”. Saul Rubinek (Artie) appeared in Season 1 of “Eureka” as a rather nutty scientist, but that is not meant to be linked to the show. Before deciding to make the two sister-shows three other “Eureka” actors appeared in “Warehouse 13” as other characters: Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan) appeared as a married couple (a move to attract “Eureka” fans as their characters were an on-off romantic couple favored heavily), and Joe Morton (Henry) appears as a prisoner in a maximum-security institution. Allison Scagliotti (Claudia) appeared in “Eureka” once as her “Warehouse 13” character following an appearance by Neil Grayston (“Eureka” troublemaker Douglas Fargo). Grayston returned to “Warehouse 13” for another episode in a later season.
A recurring joke in season one is centered on one of the questions Artie gives Myka and Pete on their first case that he claims is a way to detect artifacts- “Do you smell fudge in places where there is no fudge?”. Later on, when trying to navigate boobie traps in the Warehouse, Artie asks Claudia “Do you smell that?” and she immediately smells fudge. They discover invisible mines shortly after.
The hall that connects the front door of the Warehouse to Artie’s office is actually a hallway in a hospital popular with shows filming in Vancouver (I believe in a commentary for “Supernatural” they mention it is currently abandoned). Allison Scagliotti, in an episode commentary, revealed that is the same hospital where, many years before, Saul Rubinek’s (Artie) father passed away. Later on in the season they filmed a scene where Artie appears to die in the very same hospital.
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