Warehouse 13 is not the first science fiction series ever made for television, but it does have the distinction of being the first show out of the gate this summer. To make sure people remember, the SciFi Channel changed its familiar moniker to SyFy. Ugh! At least before, there was never a question about what type of content you'd see when tuning in.
Name kerfluffle aside, this quirky drama helps put itself on the map with a simple premise. Federal agents, specifically Secret Service operatives Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), are sent to a South Dakota barnlike structure to protect America's best kept, well, secrets. Yes, I know what the show is called. The storage facility still looks like a giant barn. Watching over the assortment of items is Artie (Saul Rubinek), who sends Lattimer and Bering out on assignment whenever a whatsis escapes. All they have to do is catch the thing and drop into a neutralizer. Easy, right? Hardly.
McClintock and Kelly do a decent job of back and forth banter without going so far as to actually hate one another. Audiences quickly get to know the people behind the suits. Insert X-File joke here. While both have issues, they are holding onto the job with a firm grip. Bering's back story alone is worth more viewing. Someone close to her died while she was on assignment in Denver. My best guess is that it was a former partner. Exactly what happened remains to be seen.
Lattimer also has a death in his past — a firefighter father who never made it out of a burning building. I get the impression he is fighting a substance abuse problem, specifically alcohol. Both of these agents need the other in order to heal. More importantly, they need a fresh start.
Enter Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder), whose past is virtually unknown at this point. She takes care of the official paperwork and sends Ms. Logical and Mr. Cutup to Artie. This mad scientist type quickly gives our intrepid duo a present — one furry ferret. The longus rodentus kind. No, it doesn't talk. Thank heavens. Off to Iowa they go!
The case has to be seen to be believed, but Lucretia Borgia figures heavily into the plot. Fire is also a huge presence. For the record, Lattimer's dad is only mentioned, not shown.
The two hour pilot is a bit long, especially the stuff before the opening credits. With any luck, the rest of the season will improve. More than a few actors from other science fiction shows are said to be upcoming guest stars. Look for cast members from Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate Atlantis to pop up at various times.
Speaking of guest stars, somebody needs to fix those credits! No names of regular cast members are placed with faces. This would have helped with the female lead role, Joanne Kelly. Although she may have been in the business for a bit, her face is not instantly recognizable like McClintock's or Rubinek's. Worse yet, no actor names shown beyond recurring characters. Whoops. The visual impact won't be lost if the people in a particular episode are given their due.
Warehouse 13 has a gigantic obstacle to overcome in its time slot at 9pm Tuesday nights. Why? America's Got Talent airs then too. DVRs should help, but usually there is a repeat not far from the original. In any case, Internet users will find episodes online for the watching.