Warehouse 13: An IntroductionA column article, Shot For Shot by: Tom Carroll
What is Warehouse 13?
a) Is it a derivation of The Lost Room miniseries?
b) Is it an amalgamation of various other media like X-Files, Raiders of the Lost Arc, and Moonlighting?
c) Is it a show that started a little sleepily, but has grown during three seasons so that it now stands squarely on its own as entertaining, involving, and enveloping episodic programming.
I’d day that the answer "all of the above."
When it premiered on Syfy (then known as SciFi) on July 7, 2009, the program garnered immediate benefits for the network. Ratings were initially off the charts (by Syfy standards) and women made up to 50 percent of the viewership … an amazing accomplishment for a network mainly appealing to freaks and geeks predominantly of the male persuasion.
Warehouse 13 follows a team of government agents who work at a massive, top-secret storage facility in desolate South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and preternatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), aspiring agent Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) and newcomer Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to lodge at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the Warehouse itself.
As noted by its name, Warehouse 13 is the thirteenth in a line of warehouses. The first was run by Alexander the Great (in all his spare time, of course, but we’re sure he was a primo delegator). The second was in the Library of Alexandria (maybe a good reason the whole thing burned to the ground in 48 BC – accidents do happen). You get the point. The warehouse shifts around the world, always located in the country at the top of the food chain.
Part of the reason the show was an instant hit was precisely that the show had many familiar elements from other shows and movies that were hits on their own. There was this huge, mysterious warehouse like that shown in two of the four Indiana Jones movies.
There were also two engaging ATF operatives, Myka Bering and Peter Lattimer, who strongly resembled other duos throughout television history, such as Scully and Muldur from X-Files, Hayes and Addison from Moonlighting, and Popeye and Olive Oyl from … well, that last one might be a bit of a reach, but work with me here. I’m at deadline.
Oh, and for all of you who have completely memorized the dialog in The Lost Room, beat me with a desiccated asparagus spear for ignoring it so far. I’ve never seen it, though I have just ordered it from Ebay and hoped it would arrive before I wrote this intro piece on Warehouse 13. If only I had a warehouse to delve into for back copies of TV shows.
After the generous start, Warehouse 13 settled in as a regular performer within Syfy’s slate of shows. It has warped in and out of normalcy, with some of the best episodes involving H.G. Wells, a British agent originally serving Warehouse 12 in London. Cryogenically frozen and bronzed for protection (that comes with a whopping big warning label, to be sure), she emerges in our time to be a help and hindrance to the warehouse keepers. She is the embodiment of time tricks that the show uses quite well, all the better when you have a warehouse that contains artifacts from the earliest parts of recorded history.
If you don’t have a good idea of the show, the first two seasons are on DVD now (I’m reviewing Season One by borrowing the DVDs from the local library, cheap bastard that I am). The opening shows from Season Three are available online, so there is no reason you can’t keep up with it.
Warehouse 13 has been picked up by Syfy for a fourth season, which is good for everyone. This is no time to mothball a show that is just getting the wind in its sails.
Tom Carroll is a writer and artist who has worked in video games, online media, and comic books. Most recently he worked for Interplay Entertainment (Giants: Citizen Kabuto for PS2) and Rockstar San Diego (Midnight Club series and Red Dead Redemption). He wrote P.O.D.: The Nexus (2008, Zondervan Press, a division of Harper-Collins), and has his own comic property, The Gun Nose Chronicles, in development. He currently writes for Game Developer magazine and Comics Bulletin. Tom is also entered in a jingle contest. Help him win by going to the Corky's Pest Control website and voting for “It Hurts.”