EPISODE REVIEW: Warehouse 13: "Pilot" (Episode 1)

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Shortly before a presidential reception at the Smithsonian, one of the conservators pricks his thumb on an ancient aztec bloodstone (Really it looks more Olmec to me). He goes goofy and decides to kill the president, but one of the agents at the shindig notices the bloodstone is, well, bloody, and decides to get it out of there on a hunch. Meanwhile an agent named Mica (She's a chick) takes down the knife-wielding maniac. In the basement, the guy meets another guy named Artie who puts a mohawk on the bloodstone, there's some lights, and everything is better.

The male agent and Mica both have run-ins with a middle-aged black woman who's in full-on Amanda Waller mode (Played by CCH Pounder who, among other things, actually *WAS* the voice of Amanda Waller in Justice League Unlimited! Ha!), who transfers them both to Warehouse 13 in South Dakota. There, they meet up again with Artie, who kinda' sorta' explains to them in rambling and distracted fashion that they've been permanently reassigned to help him gather dangerous mystic artifacts and other hoobijoobs that present a threat to life in these United States. The warehouse is freakin' huge. It goes on for miles and miles and miles. In the quick pullback shot we see it's got a fully-operational Zeppelin in it. Artie's been there for years. He shows them a picture of himself and Amanda Waller from evidently back in the 1980s. Amada...oh, sorry,...Mrs. Frederic looks the same, but Artie is pretty decrepit. Two of the other people in the picture are dead, one's in a mental institution in Germany and the other "I'll find him some day."

He explains that there's some hokum called "Tangential Energy" that causes things to move about unpredictably and does a lot of other stuf besides, as a result, a lot of the magical items in the warehouse don't stay put. He gets them a room at a local B&B, and they head off there for the night. Harry Houdini's wallet moves in to Mika's purse while no one's looking. Mica doesn't like this, and tries to get herself transfered back to DC, and her old boss looks in to it. Meanwhile, Harry Houdini's wallet causes her to almost-but-not-quite see apparitions of her old, dead boyfriend. (Presumably the 'dead' thing is new, and he wasn't that way when he was her boyfriend.) The woman running the B&B hits on the male agent.

Miss Frederic tells Artie to give 'em a case to get them locked in, so he gives 'em vaguely steampunk equipment - a zap guy which is very cool and some 2-way video walkie talkies which are less cool - and sends them off to solve the mystery of why an undergraduat in Iowa beat up his girlfriend. While interrogating the boy, he starts to yammer in 15th century italian, rips up a table and prepares to whomp on them until guards drag him off.

They head to the college to get a professor of italian (In Iowa? Really?) to translate it, but in scooby doo fashion, he's hiding something, and both the agents pick up on his not being entirely honest. He's got a book - in italian! - hidden in his bookcase, and calls someone - presumably the boy's girlfriend - to talk about how some feds are asking him questions about stuff and things and he's really freakin' out, man. The feds, meanwhile interview the girlfriend who's vaguely annoying, so she must have done it, right? Then the Italian Professor burns himself to death at a gas station, and the feds search his office and find the book, which, it turns out, is not really a book at all but a jewelry case. The jewelry is missing. Meanwhile, we're treated to lengthy, semi-amusing scenes of Artie wandering through the warehouse trying to find a clue to sovle the case.

The Godmother/Lawyer of the boy who beat up his girlfriend comes in and talks to the feds. They go for a drive, and she babbles increasingly crazily about how she'll protect her godson from that evil tramp of a girlfriend, then causes the car to crash. Mika has a vision of her dead boyfriend - who died when a job went bad in Colorado - who tells her to live, and her and the male agent make their way to a great big out door bonfire machiavelli recital. Ah, man, that takes me back. I don't know about you guys, but I for one really miss the friday night bonfires machiavelli recitals. But of course you all know what I'm talking about, right? I mean that's pretty ubiquitous in colleges, right? No? It's not? Not even in the eighties? Well, maybe it was just an Iowa thing...

Anyway, evil Godmother (not evidently a fairy) uses her hair comb - which once belonged to Lucretia Borgia (No, really!) - to take control of the reveling kids and start an "Orgiastic virulent plague which will sweep over Iowa, and then probably go in to nebraska and Illniois - actually, it will probably go in to Illinois first, and *Then* nebraska, but the point is..." (Actual dialog). There's some minor fisticufs, the bad guys loose, and both agents choose to stay on at Warehosue 13



It wasn't bad, but it ain't Science Fiction either. This was a fantasy show, pure and simple, and predominantly aimed at chicks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but come on, posessed ornamental harcombs that belonged to renisance aristocratic women with a thing for younger men and incest? Not really ray guns and space ships, is it?

Eddie McClintock plays the male agent. He's done sitcoms before this. He's ok, but I wasn't really sold on him. Joanne Kelly plays Mika, who is perfectly fine in the part, but still sort of put me off. I didn't buy her as a federal agent for starters, and her style of delivery is kind of like Morena Baccarin. It suits Morena, but it didn't quite work here. I don't mean she's all sultry like Inara Serra, I just mean there's a slight imperiousness and remove between the thinking and the words that seems out of place. A bit too prissy, too. Saul Rubinek plays Artie, and he's great, which surprises me becuase I generally hate him (He did a TNG, a season's worth of "Frasiers" and got the hell beat out of him in "Unforgiven.") There's a very pretty black woman who runs the B&B, which is unlikely if you've ever been to Rural South Dakota, as well. I sat through this whole thing thinking "Wow, they really going for an Amanda Waller thing here," and it turned out that they actualy did want that. Oh, and her character is evidently immortal.

I actually like the premise. There's not much original here - the show is equal measures X-files, Moonlighting, Eureka, Ghostbusters, and Sanctuary - but for all intents and purposes this is a show about the warehouse they stored the Ark in at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that *IS* a neat idea. What else is in there, and why? You've got to wonder. I also like that the place is ludicrously undermanned, underfunded, and kind of dangerous, added to which some things just don't stay where you leave 'em.

Execution was ok, nice balance between the hokey-jokey and the perilous, but I wasn't impressed with the acting (Aside from Waller/Frederic and Artie, both of whom were great), and I'm just not sold on the two leads. Fortunately, if they crap out, it would be a cinch to replace one or both of them and keep the show going just fine.

It's an allright show, and I'll give it a couple weeks, but if it continues to be straight fantasy, I'll probably drift away from it fairly quick since that's just not my bag. I anyone reading this would like a gig reviewing the show for our estemed site, let me know, or post a comment, and the gig is yours.