Warehouse 13: Pilot

Warehouse 13 is SyFy's first new series under their somewhat clumsy rebranding attempt. The previews of this new series led me to believe it would be a bit like Sanctuary which I couldn't get into. However, the cast ably pulled off a very strong pilot episode. The series is about an Area 51-ish place similar to the last scene in Raiders of The Lost Ark (there's a nice scene with a familiar object) in that its a government storage facility for all sorts of supernatural and paranormal items.

Rather than blatantly copy the X-Files, instead of FBI agents, we have Secret Service agents Myka and Peter, played by Joanne Kelly and Eddie McClintock. Their supervisor is well played by Saul Rubinek as Artie who acts as their guide through the Warehouse. Oh and did I mention that C.C.H. Pounder plays Mrs. Frederick the mysterious head of this shadowy government agency?

Just like Mulder and Scully, we have a skeptic and a believer. But there's a lot more to it than just copying character types. Warehouse 13 infuses more human connection with these two than X-Files ever did. Both agents have had tragedies affect their lives in profound ways. As you can imagine we have tension between the two but its not too overdone and once we learn more about Peter and Myka it becomes clear where the professional tension comes from.

Both agents stumble upon a paranormal event and are then recruited against their will to show up at Warehouse 13. Peter is more open to what is going on, while Myka is the skeptic who wishes to return to her previous assignment. Artie explains what they do and their purpose, while showing them some historical items of paranormal significance. But more impressive are the steam punk elements of technology that he attributes to Tesla and Edison. His computer reminds one of something Jules Verne would have designed.

Suffice it to say, the agents are given their first assignment and are given a containment unit along the lines of Ghostbusters with which to neutralize the unknown object they are seeking. In terms of a mystery or plot, there's not much to go with here. Frankly its never really clear what led to the initial event that brought them to this small city in Iowa. But just like House, Bones, or half the shows on USA, the plot doesn't matter as much as the characters.

It remains to be seen how compelling these characters will be, but I was pleasantly surprised by this pilot episode. Artie and Mrs. Frederick are the characters I most want to know about in terms of their history. Speaking of history, if the show can creatively use these objects in an historical context and weave a larger narrative that will keep me watching every Tuesday at 9 p.m.

5 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the pilot review, Anthony. I was wondering if anyone was going to tackle this one on Billie's site. My husband and I also enjoyed the pilot. Even if parts of it were a bit silly, I thought the leads and their interactions were pretty engaging. I also liked the supporting cast. In addition to Artie and Ms. Frederick, I'd like to know more about the inn keeper. Definitely looking forward to seeing where this one goes on a week to week basis.

(P.S. I detest the new channel name. Most ridiculous name change ever.)

Manos Torgo said...

Thanks Jess! I wasn't sure I was going to do a review, but figured since no one else did, I'd throw one out there.
I agree there's some silly parts and even the whole evil godmother and comb thing didn't make much sense.That's why to me its like Bones or House or Psych, etc. In fact I think this show is specifically trying to pattern itself off of these shows and others after the success of USA Network.

The name is silly, but I think it may grow on me. My main beef is that they still air wrestling on the channel :(

Billie Doux said...

Yes, indeed -- thanks so much, Anthony. I had forgotten about this show. And now I've set up the pilot and the following episode on DVR so I can catch up.

Billie Doux said...

And now I've seen the pilot, and I had much the same reaction: I enjoyed it a lot.

I liked the leads. I liked the impossible wish ferrets. I laughed out loud half a dozen times, mostly because of Saul Rubinek's Artie. I liked the whole "mysterious object" idea as well as the humungo and often out of control warehouse itself (and the strange ways Artie got around inside of it).

Yes, it's X-Files meets The Librarian by way of Indiana Jones, but I'm okay with that if they can make it work. If the episodes are as good as the pilot, if the story increases in depth, then yes, I'll be watching this one every week.

Thanks again for reviewing it, Anthony. I probably would have spaced it out completely if you hadn't.

E221b said...

So have you guys realized who co-created Warehouse 13? It's none other than Buffy alum, Jane Espenson.

Makes sense, right?