Everyone laughed last spring when the Sci-Fi Channel announced it was changing its name to Syfy in an effort to rebrand. Then “Warehouse 13,” the net’s first series of that much-mocked effort, debuted to record ratings. Now, nobody’s laughing. They’re watching.
And for good reason: “Warehouse 13″ is one cool show. The 12 episodes comprising its freshman season now come housed on a three-DVD set.
Even if audiences likely are familiar with only half the equation, it’s best described as “The X-Files” meets “Friday the 13th: The Series.” While “The X-Files” sent a mismatched pair of FBI agents to investigate unexplained phenomena, “Friday the 13th” involved a cursed antique each week. Merge the two premises, and you have cable-original, mixed-genre magic.
Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly star as Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering “ Mulder and Scully with levity. They’re reassigned to the enigmatic titular site run by Dr. Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek, quirky as ever), where historic artifacts of supernatural origin are kept under lock and key. Some, however, have gone missing over the years, thus driving our terrific twosome out on each episode’s mission to retrieve items from dangerous minds with nefarious designs.
For example, Edgar Allan Poe’s pen has the power to bring words to life, while Rheticus’ compass allows the user to teleport on the fly. There’s a gambling chip that lets you see the future, and a samurai sword that turns the holder invisible. And so on and so on, with endless possibilities, ensuring the series a healthy future, should the quality of its writing hold up.
And, yes, “Warehouse 13″ is nothing if not well-written. This may come as a surprise for a channel known for touting weekend premieres of cheap flicks like “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” but the series boasts feature-film-quality production values. Its greatest asset, however, is one that money can’t buy: the chemistry between McClintock and Kelly.
Both actors are excellent, exuding enormous amounts of charm, humor and good looks (Kelly especially on that last front). Pete is the easygoing yin to Myka’s uptight yang, making for a continuous tug-of-war of personalities, full of ribbing and good-natured winks (luckily toward one another, and not the audience). A few episodes into the season, the warehouse added Allison Scagliotti as a punky hacker. Although the move gives Rubinek someone to play off of, the show really didn’t need another character. Its fun-as-hell formula was working just fine by itself, thanks.
Universal’s set comes packed with several behind-the-scenes extras that further endear the viewer to the show, including a quick look at what’s brewing for the second season, starting July 6. Can’t wait, as if you couldn’t tell. “Rod Lott