Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TV Review: "Warehouse 13"

I love my DVR. I just finished watching the pilot for SyFy's (I'm still not used to the change and think it's silly, but more on that, later) newest original series, the very Steampunky Warehouse 13 and I have to admit that I loved it. It's highly derivative of dozens of films and series that have come before, but it's just so much fun, you don't really care.

After a supernatural encounter at the opening an ancient art exhibit at the Smithsonian in which they save POTUS' life, two polar opposite Secret Service agents are recruited by the mysterious Mrs. Frederic, with orders to report to secret location, in an unnamed town in literally The Middle of Nowhere, South Dakota. There they find themselves assigned to gathering objects: relics, artifacts, historical documents, personal effects and exceptionally rare bits of oddness. Some display qualities that are quite dangerous, while others are merely amusing. The objects are then neutralized and stored in a cavernous, miles-long underground storage facility, the titular Warehouse 13. Among the warehouse's more interesting items are a stun-gun made by Tesla, a human-powered electric car made by Edison, Houdini's wallet and a wish-granting copper teakettle which produces a ferret whenever the wisher makes an impossible-to-grant wish (I must apologize to all the ferret lovers, out there for that last image. When I went to GoogleImages, I accidentally typed in "Evil Bitch from Uranus" and got that picture).

The 2 hour pilot gave us plenty of time to get to know the almost stock characters, but the cast is quite good (all long-time TV vets) and the chemistry between the two leads is excellent. Handsome Eddie McClintock (the poor man's David Boreanaz ) plays Agent Pete Lattimer, an impulsive, reformed alcoholic who boinks babes in meaningless one-nighters and gets "vibes" on which he always acts. Joanne Kelly ("Slings and Arrows;" "The Dresden Files") is Agent Myka Bering, a no-nonsense, by-the-book agent with an exceptional eye for detail who is still in mourning and suffering guilt over the death of her lover/partner. Veteran character actor Saul Rubinek ("Frasier") is Artie, the semi-mad scientist curator (and comic relief) of Warehouse 13. The always wonderful CCH Pounder is Mrs. Frederic, the mysterious ageless director of the project whose arrivals and departures are as silent as they are surprising. When asked by Bering and Lattimer's boss about how she got into his office, she deadpans "Through a door" with just enough irony to make sure we knew she didn't mean a physical one. There's an Indiana Jones/X-Files/Fringe/The Prisoner/Lost/Weird Science kind of thing going on that simply shouldn't work, but somehow does. It's certainly not as good as "Fringe," (how can it be? It doesn't have the astounding John Noble playing its madman), but it's certainly loads of fun. I hope they can keep it going. *** 1/2 (Three and a half Stars).

And now back to my SyFy comment, earlier. I may think the new name is stupid and indicative of the laziness of the texting generation, but I am glad to see the channel trying to improve its programming quality. I do hope that includes original movies, because they had some of the worst I've ever seen in my life (Mansquito, anyone?). I just hope they get as good as this giddy promotion clip promises:

More, anon.



Anonymous said...

The SyFy thing is to make money by branding the new name which is something they can't do with the old. In addition, they also claim the main reason is attract non-viewers with the new name that were turned off by the idea of the old - what ever.

Also, sorry that you're down in the dumps, been there doing that. Hopefully you'll be able to enjoy the sun - yes it will be here all week and that'll perk you up!

Stephen said...

This show seems "right up your alley".