E: Four episodes after the pilot is enough time to tell if you liked a show, right? The characters have settled into their basic relationships. They’ve had time to add a quirky hip young snarkmeister to crank things up a bit, a la cousin Oliver, and so you’d think by this point, all would be clear.
Still, I don’t know.
Perhaps the deal is that Warehouse 13 is good summer viewing, but it wouldn’t make my winter roster. Given a choice between its genial oddness and some other shows which don’t claim to be hyper-realistic either, like Bones, Castle or The Mentalist, I doubt I’ll still be tuning in. It may be a theoretically mash up of “X-Files, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Moonlighting,” but the whole definitely doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. Granted, Warehouse 13 is not without its merits. There’s enough to like – first and foremost in my mind is the hilariously awesome steampunk design aesthetics. I love Artie’s computer with its vintage typewriter keyboard, and the fantastical metal tin Pete and Myka use to video conference with him. The Farnsworth! What a great name (after its alleged inventor, the real life inventor of television). Reminds me of C‘s late lamented ipod, Flonkerton, and that can only be a good thing. And the artifacts the team seeks out can be fun – the Italian cougars maybe not so much, but this past week’s Native American cloak which allows you to walk through walls? Killer. Who doesn’t want to think that the world is full of magical objects which can send us off on grand adventures?
And yes, if I hadn’t already outed myself as a nerd, you’d know it now, wouldn’t you?
Can someone tell me, though, if it’s reasonable for people working in the baddest looking Badlands to live in a Victorian B & B surrounded by a verdant lawn and towering leafy green trees? I know nothing about the Badlands, but that seems unlikely. Is it only because I live somewhere with more static landscape that this seems insane?
And, I know the show is going for a comic tone, and in some ways I really like the jovial bickering between Myka and Pete, and how comfortable they are together, but could they be any less professional? He especially hits on everything that moves. (Well, I shouldn’t class Tricia Helfer as anything that moves. She’s a special case. Still, she’s a colleague. He shouldn’t hit on her. And she shouldn’t unbend and like it. Beh.) It’s a little odd the way all those moving things hit back. He’s sexy because the show says he is, and script says to respond to him that way, but is he really that sexy? I’m not moved, anyway. (M: Yet you love Grey’s, where the entire cast is sleeping with, marrying, almost marrying and breaking up with each other and then repeating that cycle with a different coworker? Having had to deal from a management standpoint with situations FAR less dramatic than what they portray, that would DESTROY their working environment faster than an airborne neural toxin like the one in Batman Begins. E: So, fine, we agree, hitting on coworkers is detrimental to your work process. Plus, Patrick Dempsey as McDreamy? ACTUALLY sexy.)
And great googley moogley but the girl is unprofessional. Myka’s always stage whispering and snapping at Lattimer, not just when they’re alone, but in front of suspects, witnesses and superiors. She shrieks a fair bit, too. And isn’t being professional – being rule oriented – supposed to be her defining characteristic? Along with being reserved and stiff? So if you can get over the fact that neither of them is actually what the show tells us they are, well, you can enjoy the way they blow raspberries at each other. Pul-eeze don’t tell me they’re supposed to fall in love, though. The Moonlighting comparison from the writers would suggest it, but ick. That would be every kind of wrong. They act like siblings. We’re not talking witty, sophisticated banter, or simmering sexual tension. This is kids poking at each other in the back of their mother’s station wagon.
(I’m sure there are people who disagree, but hey, I can only be where I am, right?)
High on the list of what else I’m not buying is Claudia Donovan (the aforementioned cousin Oliver) as a poor man’s Veronica Mars or Chloe Sullivan. You can see the influence of the Gilmore Girls in the speed of Allison Scagliotti’s delivery. She’s not without a measure of charm, and some of the would-be clever dialogue they write for her actually succeeds at being clever, but for the most part, no. Also, note to actress/crew. Please wash her hair. I know she was supposed to look hysterical and crazy, like she hadn’t bathed since getting out of the nut house 6 months prior, and you did a good job of that. However, now that she is gainfully employed playing chess with Artie and stalking around snapping at people until she solves the mystery in a flash of brilliance, well, she can afford some shampoo. Please. That is all.
Though Claudia is pretty overwritten, about once an episode the others have a few exchanges I like. To wit:
After Tricia Helfer’s character was forced to cooperate with them, Lattimer blurts: “Belski just got spanked – so let’s strike while the butt is still hot.”
The aforementioned tin wallet communicator, Farnsworth, inspired this exchange – once Pete and Myka figured out they couldn’t call the mysterious Mrs. Fredericks back: “Star-69 wasn’t invented when this was made.” “This wasn’t invented when this was made.”
All in all, the show is a pleasant enough way to spend your time. It’s probably pretty comparable to Eureka!, so if that’s your cup of tea, go for it. It isn’t genius sci fi, and it isn’t crackling comedy, but its not Big Brother, either. As M said of Merlin, if you don’t get hung up in what it isn’t, you can enjoy. For summer TV, it’s fun enough, I guess.