Review: Warehouse 13 1×1

Every show you've seen already. Again

Warehouse 13

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, SyFy

Let’s play a game: guess the TV series. I give you some clues, you have to guess the show.

Clue 1: A top-secret government organisation has a mission to capture strange artefacts

What do you reckon? Torchwood?

Okay. Clue 2: Two government agents – one intuitive male, one rational and methodical female – investigate the paranormal

Hmm. The X-Files?

Clue 3: A man and a woman, together with an older guy, have to store away dangerous supernatural objects to protect the world.

Friday The 13th: The Series?

No, in fact, all the clues were for the same show: Warehouse 13, SyFy’s new “‘The X-Files meets Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Moonlighting‘ meets Torchwood meets Friday The 13th meets Eureka meets The Dresden Files meets The Middleman” series.

Do I need to mention it’s a little bit derivative?

Two Secret Service agents find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the warehouse itself. CCH Pounder guest-stars as Artie’s boss Mrs. Federic, along with Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan, a young, hip, brilliant techno-wiz.

The 13-episode series (including the two-hour pilot) is produced for SCI FI by Universal Cable Productions. It is executive produced by Jack Kenny (The Book of Daniel) who also serves as showrunner. David Simkins (Dresden Files) is executive producer; Jace Alexander (Burn Notice, Rescue Me) is co-executive producer and director of the pilot; and Stephen Surjik (Monk, Burn Notice) is producer/director of the series.

Is it any good?
It’s all right. It tries a bit. But no, it’s not very good.

I have never understood the rep Jane Espenson gets. Her seasons of Buffy were the worst; her episodes of Battlestar Galactica were the worst: why do people rave about her so much?

Here she is, creating Warehouse 13 with old sci-fi stalwart Rockne S O’Bannon (who did The Twilight Zone in the 80s), and it’s in not new or interesting in any way. QFS.

The show fits entirely into the cosy milieu of SyFy shows occupied by the likes of Eureka and The Dresden Files in which very slightly wacky, very slightly threatening things happen in a vaguely whimsical, episodic way, at the end of which everything is wrapped up nicely without anyone really getting hurt or without doing anything too deep or meaningful happening.

It’s basically lazy, by the book rubbish that you probably could have predicted in advance. Will the two antagonistic agents, transferred to Warehouse 13 against their wills, slowly become friends and decide they like working for the Warehouse after all? I wonder…

No, I don’t. Of course they do. Anyone want to predict that the vibes agent Latimer gets are going to be an important revelation further down the road? I’d put money on it.

The stars in-and-of themselves aren’t bad, with Joanne Kelly being marginally more interesting and talented than Eddie McClintock. Saul Rubinek and CCH Pounder are as good as always, even if they clearly are treating it like a holiday away from proper work.

But the plot, the dialogue, the action: they’re all so “been there, done that” and the show really, really drags.

I’m not predicting bright things for it, but you never know. And someone will probably rave about it because Jane Espenson wrote it. Here’s a sneak peak: it drags, too.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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