Warehouse 13 Season 1 Overview/Review

Consider a world made up of different realities each lightly superimposed on the other. Jostling for attention from a being – let’s call it the viewer – who is unsure of which is intended and which an unhappy accident – this is the world of Warehouse 13. But I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

Warehouse 13 features agents of the Warehouse, both a building in South Dakota and an organisation that seeks, detains and protects ‘artefacts.’ The artefacts take various forms but have essentially become empowered through electro-magnetic energies to have special abilities. They are frequently tied to a notable person – John Derringer, Edger Allan Poe, Lewis Carol for a few examples. This is not a recent phenomenon however and the warehouse has existed till ancient times always based in the ‘top nation’ of the time.

The main strength of the show is the regular characters and the actors playing them.

The principal field agents straight-laced thorough Myka Bering and fun loving intuitive Peter Lattimer are well played and their chemistry which owes a fair amount to ‘Moonlighting’ is well done. Saul Rubinek playing Artie Neilsen, their supervisor and mentor escapes his ‘American version of Nigel from East enders’ impression and makes a credible case to be cast as an American Doctor Who, (if such blasphemy ever occurs.) He is capable of being amusing, dark, wry, wistful, paranoid and furious with the lightest of touches and is the stand out performance in the show. Artie is well written as a damaged man doing his best to protect those around him and lay rest to his ghosts. Ghosts which have a habit of hitting him back.

The regular supporting cast are also credible – CCH Pounder gives another terrific turn as Mrs Fredericks which could develop to be on a par with her stint in ‘The Shield.’ The ladies playing Claudia Donovan and Leena also provide credible support and their characters are giving some interesting things to do.

The Weaknesses of the show to two elements the inconsistent feel and the universe in which it is set (spoilers):

The writers have chosen to limit their sandpit in the apparent universe of the show. Choosing a relatively ‘rational’ explanation for artefacts it limits the field of play available from this series it appears no fantastical or science fiction opponents appear likely to appear other than humans using artefacts. This appears to have missed a trick for interesting opponents and agendas. Likewise by making the Warehouse an international rather than US entity it lowers the chances for rival governments/agencies to be scrabbling for artefacts leading to interesting conflicts and potential alliances.

Likewise the rather dark journey that Artie has experienced framed by the Kafkaesque administration of the Warehouse from Mrs Fredericks up sits uneasily with the screwball rom-com of the field agents. Neither complements the goofy feel of some of Claudia’s antics. It then becomes complicated when the threat of an artefact is well done (say in penultimate episode ‘Nevermore’ with Myka’s father was in danger*,) which doesn’t really gel with the usual tone we expect from the principals. Would the real Warehouse 13 please stand up?

Shows have managed this kind of mix-and-match before – Buffy, Angel and Firefly come to mind. But when they did there tended to be a consistency in individual episodes so that the different feel didn’t clash and the tone still felt like the different aspect of the same universe. Not a big worry from a beer and chippy tea on a tray viewing point of view but when you can see it’s reaching for something else a bit of a disappointment.

That said the final episode of the season is a real hum dinger that completes the process of raising the main villain from panto standard to full on evil genius and things look…very, very unfortunate.

But in a good way – I can’t wait to see what happens next.

PS Myka is not be confused with the Myrka which of course is a killer panto horse from Dr Who infamy ‘Warriors of the Deep.’ Good thing I noticed that!

*I never want that thorough a view of Michael Hogun’s fillings again.

GS Reviewer: Andrew

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