Produced & Interviewed By Tim Wassberg
The impact of “Warehouse 13” within the sci-fi community balances somewhere between “X-Files”, “Fringe” and old-school “Captain Scarlet”. The key to the maintainence of this series is the comedic balance of the leads with the more paranormal structure. Intensively based on a budget, the series knows its strengths.
The cliffhanger basis of last season brought into structure the importance of loyalty within the team. Like many series including the recent “Royal Pains”, the resolution happens within the first episode.
The beginning of the season starts with “Time Will Tell” which solves the conflict between McPherson and Artie (played with inventive sarcasm by the talented Saul Rubinek) but also brings into focus a new villain with decidedly more attractive qualities. The angle that always seems to jump start a series is using new locales which, with stops in Switzerland and London via stock shot inserts, allows 13 some more bad taste jokes courtesy of Eddie McClintock’s Pete which is totally accepted. Claudia’s adherence to the clan is questioned in continued fixation but it is the residual power of certain artifacts with Artie that begins motivating the series in more succinct ways which will become more important in subsequent episodes.
The second episode previewed “Mild Mannered” begins the aspect of using pop culture lore to lure more specific viewers. While many of the artifacts have historical significance, the vision of the fan crowd sometimes relays back into the comic book world. The ideas in “Warehouse 13” lend themselves undeniably to graphic novels which in turn gives the series a more visual base. Unlike the more mythology based plot points of “Time Will Tell” which incorporates a character that will likely be seen throughout the season, the stand-alone episodes like this one allow for more character development and light comedy especially with the two leads who are showing more vulnerable characteristics especially in Joanne Kelly’s character Myka which you can see when she is holding a teddy bear on her bed in the last shot of one of the episodes. She also gets to try on her first skintight costume which will no doubt heat up the boards. “Warehouse 13” also smartly spends its money on music for sequences such as this giving again the series a more pop functional reference than a normal outlay. While not as viscerally affecting as last season’s “White Rabbit” sequence in an Alice-centric episode, it shows the intention of the creators to maintain a status quo.
“Warehouse 13” in the first episodes of its new season doesn’t stray too far from the formula, but within the establishment of the characters, understands its own necessity and structure.
The essence of summer shows always creates an intensive perspective on the eye of development. In what is mostly a high yield cable situation, sometimes the networks have trouble launching a diversified level of show. With the perspective of three through the pipeline, the intention here works both sides of the line.
Warehouse 13 This basis mired in the antecedent motivation of “the warehouse” as lifted from “Raiders” and “Crystal Skull” actually works within its structure. The cast rounds out nicely especially a couple episodes in as they hit their stride. Having met most of the cast at Comic Con this year, the balance of personalities between the angles of the show and the interaction is totally paradoxical to real life. Pete and Myka on screen are polar opposites but Myka longs to break loose (which she does in the Las Vegas/Alice In Wonderland episode). The storylines are fun and diversive since this kind of series can go a lot further than say “X-Files”. It is also buoyed by Saul Rubinek who plays Artie with a delicious anti-social quality that bemoans him. The character of Claudia (although a ragtag addition) adds a more humorous dimension that Myka cannot personify unfortunately. In terms of mythology, three middle episodes in the first run hinted at more of an outside terror. In actuality it turned out to be elements of Claudia testing the infrastructure. That said most of the episodes in terms of 6 in seem to function on their own which seems to work in the essence of ratings. While not mind boggling or awe inducing at any rate, the intent is effectively channeled. The use of music is somewhat inspired since the budget allows for some fun (aka using Jefferson Starship’s “White Rabbit” at the end of the Alice/Vegas episode). As long as the dynamic is maintained, the future of this series is consistent.
Royal Pains At first sight, despite having hung out in the Hamptons many times, the key to highlighting its people is by making them just kooky enough to be lovable, just cunning enough to be lethal and just rich enough to be dangerous. The producer/writers here take a note from “Burn Notice” and its structure elements. Like Sam, Michael and Fiona in BN, here you have Evan, Hank and Dieva. The personalities are different and the angle is skewed but it follows the same direction for the most part. A man is out and he may want back in. The thing is that is some circles in what Hank gets to do is a step up and possibility the “wave of the future” from where he was before. It does however carry some inherent dangers which Hank starts to deal with, specifically with the omnipresent Boris (played with delicious restraint by a wonderully regal Campbell Scott). The romantic subplot with Jill, who works as an administrator at the hospital, is handled in a very adult way. Towards the end of the season there is a thwart in those plans but that happens in any series. But unlike the series of the past there are certain societal blocks involving sex that are no longer an issue (at least on cable television) which allows the character’s lives to grow in a sometimes more organic way. Instead of spending all of their time thinking about sex, they just do it part of the time. Very practical. The humor especially with Hank and Evan works well in the first couple episodes but the Evan factor inevitability becomes a little annoying simply due to the nature of the characters. These points may be nitpicking but overall, the series hits the spot and catches the cool while also tackling the weird, human and interesting. Like “Burn Notice” it has legs and doesn’t have to worry about as high as stakes.
Mental Seeing the crescent of “Lie To Me” which still needs to find its way, this FOX series on the tactically minefield-like arena of mental health has its challenges for sure too. Unlike pure procedural elements, the differences of opinion here in a very tactile field can go one way or another. For example, the treatment of a movie star who has a hidden past but plays method has its pratfalls. A kid who believes he is in a video game but cannot connect in the real world has more practical applications. However the structure within psychosis of a lawyer who lost her way and can’t tell reality from a dreamworld can be truly confusing. The lead Chris Vance has his charm, in a roundabout kind of way, but he doesn’t possess the incumbent intensity of say a Tim Roth which is what this show will be compared to in the current medium. The reality is that the concepts here in terms of stability is unsteady at best so its possibilities in serving out the year tend to be weak.
And the music plays on…