Warehouse 13 -- An early look
by Mike Moody, posted Jul 7th 2009 1:03PM
I really wanted to love Warehouse 13. It's a fun show with two compelling leads, an adventurous spirit, and just enough subversive stuff seemingly bubbling beneath its surface. But the two-hour pilot, airing tonight on SyFy, only hints at the greatness we've seen from its creator's previous work. The premiere, scripted by Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and original writer Rockne S. O'Bannon (Farscape), begins with a strong quirky heartbeat, but a stale mystery plot quickly slows the pulse.
The show centers on two Secret Service agents who are polar opposites of each other. They're chosen to find, bag, and tag supernatural artifacts for storage in a secret government-run warehouse. Agent Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) is the impulsive one who always goes with his gut. Agent Gering (Joanne Kelly) is the cautious profiler. The agents, who normally butt heads in the field, are forced to work together because, we're told, one fills the other's professional and personality gaps. It's a buddy cop show with some delightfully weird supernatural stuff and a bit of screwball comedy tossed into the mix.
A lot of the show's fun comes from the warehouse itself. There's Artie (Saul Rubinek), a squirrely government agent who serves as the keymaster of the warehouse's many secrets. McClintock and Kelly are charming as the leads, but the always awesome Rubinek steals the show with an energetic performance that's part Egon Spengler and part Jerry Lewis. One minute he's the cool and calm answer man, the next he's nervously hanging on a zip line that cuts through the never-ending warehouse.
The warehouse is packed with cool steampunk-looking gizmos and gadgets. The agents do their fieldwork using goofy tech and weapons designed by the likes of Nikola Tesla and Philo Farnsworth (the inventor of the TV!). Lattimer's boyish excitement over his strange new gig and the cool low-fi tech is a lot of fun to watch. Gering and Lattimer adapt surprisingly well to the idea that the unexplainable is indeed out there, and the oddness they experience on the job helps them form a bond.
It's the show's offbeat qualities that will probably keep me tuning in for at least another few episodes. Hopefully by then, Warehouse 13's conventional mystery plots will become a little more engaging and a whole lot weirder.