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Currently getting an airing on Virgin One, Warehouse 13 comes across as a low budget version of shows such as Supernatural and The X-Files. Based around a Warehouse buried in the middle of nowhere that is the resting place for literally millions of para or preternatural artifacts, the show focuses on two Agents of The U.S Secret Service who are drafted in on the first episode to track down artifacts that have gone missing or mislaid leading to all sorts of possible ramifications. The Curator, played by Saul Rubinek whose most memorable performance came when he played the Hollywood Director in True Romance, keeps track of these items but some of them have a mind of their own and all of them are consumed with Supernatural energy which builds up in the Warehouse due to so many of them being stored together! The Warehouse was constructed allegedly when Hanger 18 became too small to house them all! Hence the inside of the Warehouse seems impossibly huge!!
The premise sounds great, and the show has gained high enough ratings to mean it has been signed up for a second season, but there is something about the show that doesn't quite come together for me! Maybe it is because there is too much of a comedy/ slapstick element to it for my liking or perhaps because I have not warmed to the two main characters enough to really let myself enjoy it for what it is but one thing is certain, the show really does not do it for me!
To my mind, the writing and direction is a little sloppy and the stories are just not that great! The show cannot seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be treated seriously or not and, though it would be unfair after four or five episodes, to say it sucks that seems to my initial reaction!!
If the show does do well, thats all and great but this is one I will certainly think about not bothering with in the future! It owes much to the Friday 13th series from the late eighties that used to apar on ITV in the early hours of the morning, and I loved that show despite its low profile. Unfortunately, I find it hard to like this....
The final scene of the first Indiana Jones movie, where someone is pushing a crate on a trolley into the furthest recesses of a vast warehouse is one of those eternally memorable scenes. As the camera pulls back you wonder not just whether the Ark will ever be found again but just what else is hidden down here amongst the thousands of similar crates.
Maybe this scene is what inspired the newest "weird" TV show to come out of the US. Following in a long line that includes the likes of X-Files, Millenium, more recently Fringe and also the The Librarian films, Warehouse 13 once again poses the question, What is out there?
Created by Jane Espenson, whose previous credits include Battlestar Galactica, Tru Calling and Buffy, Warehouse 13 looks, from the the evidence of the pilot, just shown on the Sci-Fi channel, to be yet another hit in the making.
The two hour pilot introduces us to the two main characters. Pete Lattimer, played by Eddie McClintock who steps up from playing walk-on roles in various other shows, and Myka Bering, played by Joanne Kelly, whose only previous long-running role was in Vanished. They play secret agents and at the introduction are providing the security at a museum exhibition that is to be attended by the President.
Trouble breaks out after one of the exhibits takes over the mind and body of one of the museum's assistants and turns him into an assassin. Of course, our heroes save the day but in doing so lose the exhibit in question to a mysterious character down in the bowels of the museum, who arrives and departs seemingly impossibly. Enter our third main character, Artie Nielsen, played by the instantly recognisable Saul Rubinek, stalwart of a whole host of shows but probably most memorable for his part as Donny Douglas in Frasier, as the "curator" of the warehouse.
Add to these three the mysterious Mrs Fredric, played by CCH Pounder of The Shield and you have a formula and cast that suggests only good things. Our heroes are seconded to what looks like a derelict facility far off the beaten track in the Badlands of South Dakota, neither really knowing why. Lattimer takes the whole thing very much in his stride by Bering has her nose seriously out-of-joint by what she initially considers to be a waste of her talents.
As the truth of what goes on here is revealed the reactions of each are very different and perhaps a bit predictable. The grin on Lattimer's face gets wider and wider and he realises that he is stepping into the ultimate boys-toys paradise whilst Bering takes much longer to adjust her opinions for they are here to track down and recover other "artefacts" that are far too dangerous to leave out on the open where they may and usually do cause havoc.
I have only seen the pilot so far and I can say that I enjoyed it immensely. Best of all, it doesn't take itself too seriously whilst at the same time not descending into farce. I will definitely be watching more.
The actors play there parts to perfection, especially Rubinek, who is the undoubted star of the show. It will be interesting to see how the characters of Lattimer and Bering develop. So far they seem to have got there roles off pat. They put me in mind of the partnership between Booth and Brennan in another monster hit show, Bones, close enough but not too similar that is.
Being on the SciFi channel means, of course, that it isn't available on Freeview but if you are a Sky or Virgin Media subscriber then this could become essential Tuesday night viewing. If you didn't catch the pilot then it is on again tonight (14th Sept) at 8.00pm. Don't miss it.