tek's rating: ½

Warehouse 13, on Syfy
IMDb; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Peacock; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

I want to begin by saying that I've always been rather unsure what category to put this entry in. In season one, I had it in the "supernatural & paranormal" section, but when season two started, I moved it to "science fiction." I still think it'd go as well under things like "fantasy," "mysterious," "quirky," or even "weird." Anyway, I've probably linked to this review from enough other places on my site that moving it again would be problematic, so I guess sci-fi will do. I also want to say that at first, I thought the show was just okay. The regular cases can be either really lame or really cool. The humor can be kinda lame or pretty funny. But the characters are likable (I loved Artie and Claudia immediately, but Pete and Myka grew on me, over time). And the overall mythology of the show is definitely interesting (even if there are some things that don't seem to make much sense). The series definitely improves the further into it you get, and I've raised my rating of it at least a couple of times, over the seasons.

Season One
So, there are two Secret Service agents, Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering. Pete seems pretty casual and intuitive (he sometimes gets "vibes"), whereas Myka is more professional. Also there's frequent references to something that happened on one of her past cases, which she deeply regrets. Anyway, the two of them get forced to start working for Warehouse 13, a secret storage facility in South Dakota. The place is overseen by Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), their new boss. He's rather eccentric. He answers to the mysterious Mrs. Frederic (C.C.H. Pounder), who we eventually learn is the Warehouse's "Caretaker," which implies a complex, sort of mystical connection to the Warehouse that I can't even explain. Anyway, she isn't around that much, but when she is, she tends to appear and disappear with less warning than Batman. Meanwhile, Pete and Myka's old boss at the Secret Service, Daniel Dickinson, tries to get his agents back, though this doesn't seem to be possible. Nevertheless, they remain in occasional contact with him, which they're not supposed to do. (Though he's only occasionally seen, and never after season 2.) Oh, another character is a woman named Leena, who runs the local bed & breakfast where Pete and Myka are now living. She can read auras, and also works for Warehouse 13 in some capacity.

Anyway... Pete and Myka's new job is to track down and obtain artifacts which seem to have supernatural or paranormal effects, or whatever, and bring the objects back to Warehouse 13, to be safely stored until they can be understood... which may never happen. (There have been twelve previous warehouses, going back thousands of years.) But the important thing is, most if not all such objects are dangerous in some way, so they have to be kept under wraps. (Even if an artifact has a positive use, it also has a "down side," the nature of which may not always be immediately clear. And many objects don't really seem to have an up side.) But there are some things that agents of Warehouse 13 can use from time to time, most notably the Farnsworth, a video communication device Pete and Myka use to stay in touch with Artie when they're out investigating artifacts; and an electrical gun called the Tesla. (Though these aren't really artifacts, they're just unique technology. And there may be other tech gadgets Warehouse agents can use for various situations.) But in spite of often saying they don't use artifacts because it's too dangerous... there are at least a few that they do use. If necessary. Oh, I should also mention the device that turns people to bronze. This has sometimes been used on very dangerous people whom the Regents need to eliminate (but not kill).

Early in season 1, we see that someone is trying to hack the Warehouse, and Artie has to deal with that. And soon it turns out the hacker is Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti), a young woman who Artie knew 12 years ago, when she was a young girl, whose brother Joshua was attempting a scientific experiment that left him trapped in interdimensional space. Since then, she has tried to get him back, though she spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. But now she forces Artie (who had believed Joshua dead) to help get him back. After they do, Claudia starts working for the warehouse, herself. (Though Joshua goes off to have his own scientific career, and is rarely seen or heard from on the show.) Anyway, Claudia is brilliant and funny and snarky and awesome, and also a decent musician. And her frequently bickering sort of father/daughter style relationship with Artie is one of the best things about the show. (Whether interacting with each other, or with the other characters, or just on their own, Claudia and Artie are my favorite characters on the show.)

Well, in the course of the first season, we slowly begin to learn a bit more about various things, including the fact that the Warehouse is actually controlled by mysterious people called "Regents." Also, there's a former agent, Artie's old partner, James MacPherson (Roger Rees), who seems to have a vendetta against the Warehouse, and Artie in particular. In the latter part of the season, he becomes the main antagonist, and our heroes begin to concentrate on finding and catching him.

Season Two
There's a cliffhanger at the end of season one, which is resolved in the season two premiere... which introduces a new antagonist: H. G. Wells (who turns out to be a woman, played by Jaime Murray). I've often enough seen the writer pop up as a character in science fiction shows and such, usually as an inventor whose "fictional" stories were based on reality, but this... is even more of a twist than I'm used to. There are some twists during the second season, in the question of whether H.G. is really a good guy or a bad guy, and I don't want to spoil how that turns out. (But when we first met her, she had been bronze for over a century.) Though it does lead to Myka making a hard decision at the end of the season. Other events in season 2 include Pete getting a girlfriend named Kelly (though that doesn't last), a crossover episode with Eureka, and of course various standalone cases (some better than others) in addition to the major story arc involving H.G. And we learn that if Mrs. Frederic ever dies, Claudia will become the new Caretaker, which is a responsibility she doesn't exactly want. Also this season we meet Dr. Vanessa Calder (Lindsay Wagner), the official Warehouse physician, who becomes a potential love interest for Artie. Oh, and in the Eureka crossover, we meet a former Warehouse agent named Hugo Miller (Rene Auberjonois). And between seasons 2 and 3, there's a special Christmas episode (which isn't really part of the show's main continuity).

Season Three
This season starts with Pete getting a new partner, an ATF agent named Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore), who has the ability to always know whether a person is lying or telling the truth. Pete is reluctant to accept him, as he wants to get Myka to return (after having quit the Warehouse at the end of season 2, for reasons I won't go into). She ends up returning by the end of the first episode of the season, though apparently Jinks is going to stay, as well. And he and Claudia become best friends. (But, just so you don't get any ideas about them, I should mention that Steve is gay.) The main villain this season is a guy named Walter Sykes (Anthony Michael Hall), who kills some regents and tries to destroy the Warehouse, for reasons I won't get into. Also this season, there's another crossover episode with "Eureka." And we meet Pete's ex-wife, Amanda (Jeri Ryan). And we meet Pete's mother, Jane (Kate Mulgrew), and learn a surprising secret about her, which I won't spoil. And again, there's a standalone Christmas episode.

Season Four
This season involves Artie using a very dangerous artifact to change the past, for a reason I won't spoil. But after doing so, he has to keep it secret from everyone. And throughout the first half of the season, Artie is frequently threatened by Brother Adrian (Brent Spiner), a member of a secret society within the Vatican, called the Order of the Black Diamond. He wants Artie to undo what he'd done, but Artie couldn't, because no matter how much danger the artifact's use brought into the world, he was certain it had prevented a far greater danger. However, he begins to mentally unravel, which leads to a major cliffhanger between halves of the season. It also leads to him doing something for which, in the second half of the season, he cannot forgive himself. And the Regents bring in a former psychotherapist named Abigail Chau (Kelly Hu), to help not only Artie but any Warehouse agents who might need her. (Though this fact was kept secret from them all, at first; the apparent reason for her coming to the Warehouse is something I won't reveal, because it would spoil a major event I don't want to reveal.) And we eventually learn that she serves an even more important purpose, which I also won't spoil. Also in the second half of the season, we meet a man named Bennett Sutton (James Marsters), who turns out to be over 500 years old. We later learn that his ex-wife, Charlotte Dupres (Polly Walker), is also immortal. She has her son infiltrate the Warehouse, and de-bronze a man named Paracelsus (Anthony Stewart Head). This is something Charlotte and her son soon come to regret, and I honestly can't remember why they even did it. But Paracelsus was an alchemist, 500 years ago, and he's the one who had made Sutton, Charlotte, and their son immortal. And now they all want to become mortal. And Paracelsus becomes the latest big bad, leading to a major cliffhanger at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to watch season 5. But I definitely hope to get to it someday.

There are also a couple of series of webisodes.

science fiction index
Sci-Fi Friday