Warehouse 13: Season 2
When the concept of cable television was first introduced many in the public sector scoffed at the idea. After all the only thing you need to get TV in the comfort of your living room is a set of rabbit ears or rooftop antenna and a bit or tweaking and your programs are free. The question came up of how do you justify charging for something that as free. The answer came in expanded programming. First unedited movies and sports unavailable on regular broadcast TV. The biggest paradigm shift in entertainment in several decades occurred with the invention of niche stations. Instead of trying to come up with programs that can reach the largest possible demographic these new smaller channels were able to focus on the specific requirements of a smaller, loyal audience. Science fiction and fantasy series traditionally didn’t do well on broadcast networks. In order to be true to the tenants of the genre the stories and situations are too farfetched to be accepted by a broad spectrum demographic. Enter the SyFy Channel. Finally the legion of loyal fans of Science fiction this channel provides a place where the imagination is actively encouraged to flourish. The result has been not only some of the best programs of the genre to hit television but programs that have made a significant impact on Sci-Fi at large. Like many niche network SyFy avoids the traditional summer reruns with a slate of original programming for these months. One that is particularly imaginative is the one whose second season is considered here; ‘Warehouse 13’. It does ‘borrow’ from several well defined films and TV shows but in this case it is like a master chef using ingredients commonly found in any well stocked kitchen blending them, preparing them and ultimately presenting them in a novel, innovative way. Besides being incredibly good television ‘Warehouse 13’ is a breath of fresh air for science fiction. It is quickly paced with off best settings and fully developed characters populating a world like our own but with a decidedly enjoyable twist. The third season is just on the horizon so this is the perfect time to get requited with this summer delight.
For Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) their reassignment to a warehouse literally in the middle of nowhere appeared to be the ultimate in career suicide. The pair didn’t realize that Warehouse 13 was the latest in a long line, 13 to be precise, of storage facilities for some of the most amazing and potentially dangerous artifacts mankind as ever encountered. The first season was introducing Pete and Myka, as well as the audience, to this bizarre world. Now that we all are fairly well acclimated the second season was free to expand the focus to provide expository information and a direction to take future episodes. One driving force introduced in this season is that the Warehouse system is ancient. Warehouse 2 was part of the Library of Alexandria and Warehouse 12 as located in the previous seat of power and innovation, Great Britain. This sets a solid foundation for the introduction of the all important artifacts. These odd devices are the heart of the series. Each one is tied to a turning point in history or what is generally perceived as mythology. Each one is imbued with some mystical power or supernatural ability. The current curator of the warehouse and former agent is Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek). This season goes into the accusations that Artie stole artifacts for personal gain. This theme would be reflected in the first season’s persistent villain. In this season the wildcard is introduced in the curvaceous figure of H.G. Wells (Jamie Murray) this is the same character usually depicted as male with the famous time machine. She started out in the 19th century as an apprentice agent for the Warehouse 12, a position she tries to reestablish this season. The current position of apprentice falls to Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti). She is an incredibly talented hacker and has a dangerously naive view of everything in the Warehouse. She may be fated to take over as caretaker for the Warehouse when Irene Frederic (C. C. H. Pounder) steps down (dies) from that position. Claudia also provides a relationship connection with another of SyFy’s most popular series, ‘Eureka’.
The inherent danger to a series based on a weekly parade of fantastic devices is to let them assume complete control if each episode and subsequently the overall direction of the series. This is beautifully avoided by the way the show is drawn as a character driven story. There is conflicting vibes coming from Pete and Myka. She is a control freak while he prefers to follow his gut instincts. This is juxtaposed to the undeniable chemistry that develops over the course of the series. Mrs. Frederic represents the senior management connecting the supernatural to the bureaucratic. Artie is the father figure of sorts and serves as middle management while Claudia is youthful enthusiasm with a hint of rebellion. The entertainment value of the series is augmented by the artifacts but definitely driven by the development and interaction of the characters. So far each season contains a central mystery that is carefully enfolded from one episode to the next. This leaves room for each individual episode to range from playful to intriguing. Underlying it all there is as great steam punk look that permeates the entire show. This is particularly evident in their side arm ‘The T Tesla Gun an electromagnetic stun gun invented by Nikola Tesla of the ‘Farnsworth’ sort of a two way portable video call devise from the inventor of modern television Philo Farnsworth. This unique yet readily discernable style helps to bind together the numerous eras and mystics components that are infused in the artifacts. The look is particularly evident with Artie’s office with his keyboard and view screen.
Overall this is one of the best things on television and will be a DVD set you return to whenever you need a to have some fun.