Thursday, September 23, 2010

What I'm Watching: Warehouse 13

I don't get to watch much TV, and mostly follow it on the internet (Hulu, Netflix, etc, which means I'm the last person to see a given show), but one of the shows I've been enjoying on a regular basis is Syfy's Warehouse 13.

For those of you not familiar with the basic premise, the Warehouse is a storage facility operated under the auspices of the Secret Service which houses artifacts and inventions too dangerous to be allowed out in the world. Most of them have unexplained powers that do really cool things, but usually in a way that causes a lot of trouble.

The Warehouse has a small staff of agents who go out in the world and retrieve the artifacts and bring them back for storage. Apparently the current Warehouse is designated 13 because there have been 12 other locations over the millennia. Warehouses, and their employees, seem to frequently come to a bad end.

The premise is fun and the artifacts range from really clever to kind of goofy. The look of the show is pretty cool, much of the Warehouse tech itself is based around past innovations that were way ahead of their time, giving it a kind of retro sci-fi/steampunk style. The special effects are the same clever-but-low-budget computer effects as are used in the BBC's Doctor Who, they're believable enough to get the job done, but wouldn't make Michael Bay happy (but since Transformers 2 didn't make me happy, we're even). In fact, if you're a fan of Doctor Who, you'll probably like the Warehouse, they share a similar pulp adventure exuberance.

Part of what I enjoy the most, though, is the ensemble acting by the cast, especially by Saul Rubinek (playing team leader Artie Nielson) and Joanne Kelly (Agent Myka Bering). Other members of the cast are good, and the interaction between them works well, but these two have a naturalistic style that I find especially appealing.

Unfortunately, this week's season finale makes it look like Kelly is leaving the Warehouse, but I'm not counting her out yet. The first season ended with the apparent death of one of the principals, which didn't stick. Syfy has also apparently taken another cue from the success of Doctor Who and filmed an in-between-seasons episode set to air around Christmas, which will have Kelly back as Myka.

If you like science-fiction and fantasy tinged adventure, Warehouse 13 is definitely worth checking out. It's available on Hulu and probably iTunes if you've missed this season

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