Warehouse 13

SF elements: mysterious artefacts
[cast photo]
  1. season 1. 2009
  2. season 2. 2010
  3. season 3. 2011
  4. season 4. 2012
  5. season 5. 2014

2009 / TV

12 × 45 min episodes

season 1 review

There are mysterious artefacts Out There, that need to be bagged and tagged before they cause mayhem and havoc. Warehouse 13 is the super secret government storage for these. Agents Myka Bering and Pete Lattimer find themselves working for Artie Nielsen and the deeply mysterious Mrs. Frederic, being sent out with purple latex gloves to bring the artefacts back for safe storage.

[Interior view of Warehouse 13]

Amusing, fun mind candy. The enormous Warehouse itself is a steam-punk cornucopia of the weird and the wonderful, and the individual episodes are mostly capers involving something going wrong with the retrieval. But there are darker moments, particularly about Artie’s background and his relationship with treacherous former Agent MacPherson.

Despite having several premises in common with Fringe, I enjoyed this (in a pop-corn sort of way), but couldn’t stick with Fringe. It’s to do with the technobabble. Here it’s done right: there’s no (or only very little) attempt to have the babble be a meaningful part of the plot, no attempt for it to make sense. Because, of course, it doesn’t. So it doesn’t intrude, and disbelief can be willingly suspended. Fun nonsense.

Rating: 4
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 19 July 2010

2010 / DVD

12 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 2 review

More bagging and tagging the artefact of the week, but with some arc, and a bit more bite this season. We get more of the history and even mythology of the Warehouses, and the mysterious Regents who oversee their work. Pete and Myka meet some previous agents, and it gradually dawns on them that not many Warehouse agents live long enough to retire. And we get a great new character in the form of none other than H.G. Wells.

Although Pete is still a bit of an irritating goofball (I think this is supposed to be “cute”, or something), there is one episode, “Around the Bend”, where he’s affected by an artefact in quite a chilling manner. There’s also an amusing crossover episode with Eureka, “13.1”, where Fargo comes to upgrade the Warehouse computer. (Things go wrong.)

SF crosses over with real life this season: Jaime Murray, the actor who plays H. G. Wells, was named after Lindsay Wagner’s character Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman. Meanwhile, Lindsay Wagner is also in this season, playing Warehouse medic Dr Vanessa Calder. Small world.

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 6 October 2012

2011 / DVD

13 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 3 review

More high jinks as the crew track down, bag, and tag dangerous and weird artefacts. At the end of last season Myka walked out, fearing her own judgement after the H. G. Wells debacle, but it’s clear from the DVD sleeve that she walks back. However, we do get a “New Guy”, Steve Jinks [Aaron Ashmore], to add to the crew, giving Claudia a partner to banter with as she goes on missions of her own, allowing several episodes to have two clear sub-plots.

This season is quite a bit darker than before, with the exception of “Queen for a Day”, which features a Civil War re-enactment, and Pete’s ex-wife’s Marine wedding, both enlivened by artefacts. There is more on H. G. Wells, and an arc giving more background to the Regents, that leads to a shattering cliffhanger. There is also a Christmas special, released after the rest of the season, but taking place mid-way through it, which is an excellent riff on It’s a Wonderful Life (the only film that exists in TV-land).

So, a wait for season 4, to find out how they get out of the cliffhanger (although a very obvious clue is given).

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 10 August 2013

2012 / DVD

20 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 4 review

The previous seasons have only 12 or 13 episodes apiece; this has 20, which allows for a lot more to happen. And lots happens. The resolution to the previous season 3 cliffhanger employs an approach that then requires its own resolution if the world is not to be destroyed. During that resolution, Myka and Pete meet the immortal Spike Count of Saint Germain, whose family then play the key role in setting up the even more devastating end of season 4 cliffhanger, as Giles Paracelsus runs riot, and a potentially massive new plot element related to Claudia is dropped into the mix.

Honestly, given the number of crises it has, this Warehouse system seems incredibly fragile. And crises make it difficult to have the usual “artefact of the week” episodes. But that's all to the good, allowing more of the “history” of the Warehouses, Regents, Guardians, and Caretakers to be used.

So, now a wait for season 5 (only 6 episodes!), to find out how they get out of this cliffhanger.

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 6 March 2014

2014 / DVD

6 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 5 review

And with a mighty bound, they were free.

Okay, maybe the cliffhanger wasn’t resolved that quickly, but it certainly felt like it. With only six episodes to resolve the left-overs from the previous season, and to tie up the entire series, giving everyone who has been involved a cameo, things are a little rushed. Props for making the final “clips” episode not clips we had ever seen; absolutely no props for the highly implausible partner resolution, however. A disappointing send-off.

Rating: 4.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 5 October 2014