The late-summer season on Syfy is wrapping up now and it’s the first half-season since the name change. How did they do? As usual, it’s a mixed bag.
Warehouse 13 is the first program to debut on the newly re-branded Syfy. If this is the type of programming that we can expect from Siffy, then I’m pretty darned disappointed. Based on the trailers, I was expecting a cute, fluffy, whimsical SF-lite program along the lines of Eureka. I did not expect the mind-numbingly redundant tedium that the show actually is.
The premise is almost the same as the old Friday the 13th TV series: agents Myka and Pete are recruited by the mysterious Artie to track down supernatural items. Whereas Friday the 13th seemed to revel in its cheesiness, Warehouse 13 stumbles along rehashing the same formula every week. A formula that goes something like this… 1. Humorous scene between Myka and Pete to build audience interest. 2. Artie sends them to investigate strange circumstances that might be caused by an artifact. 3. They arrive at a small town and encounter resistance from local law enforcement/authorities. 4. They think they’ve found the artifact but have also found a red herring. 5. They figure out which item is the correct one but Myka or Pete get captured or affected. 6. Myka or Pete is rescued and the artifact is recovered. 7. Repeat ad infinitum.
The scenes actually set at the warehouse do show promise though. That’s due entirely to the talents of Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen, the man in charge of the warehouse. Rubinek reprises the eccentric scientist character that he has perfected over the years on shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Eureka. Also, the recent addition of Allison Scagliotti as Artie’s assistant, Claudia, has done wonders for breaking up the monotony of the show.
Warehouse 13 could learn a thing or two from Eureka. Now that Battlestar Galactica is gone and there currently aren’t any Stargate shows, Eureka is Siffy’s highest rated program. When Eureka first debuted it had many of the same problems as Warehouse 13—overly simplistic stories, two-dimensional characters, and little respect for science (look what a mess those wacky scientists have made this week!). However, over the course of its three-season run the show has become more serious (only a little, but enough) and taken the time to fully develop their supporting characters. The overly dramatic story arc about Allison’s autistic child in the first season has given way to more subtle and poignant character stories. Eureka’s saccharine tone when it first debuted would never had led you to believe that the town could be home to so many tragic love stories: Nathan sacrifices himself to save the world on the day he’s supposed to marry Allison, Carter travels back in time to fix the timeline and ends up erasing his own marriage to Allison, and poor Henry has had to watch Kim die three times now!
So until W13 starts giving more time to their supporting cast and gets away from the same old storylines, I’ll be watching Eureka.