Despite attempting to branch out from their proper sci-fi routes, Syfy – commonly pronounced as ‘Siffy’ among viewers – has managed to retain many elements that stay within the sci-fi genre. Mostly staying away from space-based shows, or at least ones that actually involve regular jaunts to other worlds, Syfy’s shows now stay within the gravitational confines of Earth. “Warehouse 13,” a show about a Government-sanctioned warehouse that holds supernatural secrets, is yet another show that is solely Earth-bound, and revolves around discovering the secrets of dangerously enchanted devices related to ancient lore, timeless superstition, and even mere fables. Creating something of a trilogy with its fellow Syfy programming, “Eureka” and “Sanctuary,” “Warehouse 13” practically combines the two into a potluck of mystery with science, magic, and a hint of steampunk.
After saving the life of the President, two top Secret Service agents find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13 — a massive, top-secret storage facility in the badlands of South Dakota that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. Now the pair — off-the-cuff Agent Pete Lattimer and by-the-book Agent Myka Bering — must chase down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects for their eccentric new boss, Artie Nielsen, to safeguard at the Warehouse. It’s a wildly entertaining adventure full of inventive gadgetry and thrilling action, and with all twelve Warehouse 13: Season One episodes cataloged and archived in this collectible three-disc set, now’s your chance to snag it, bag it and tag it!
Although the general premise of the show is common – a top secret Government-hosted facility investigates and deals with mysterious happenings that could only be possible within the realm of sci-fi – the show manages to be more than a merely recycled setting. Season 1, of course, introduces us to our main characters: Secret Service Agents Myka Bering and Pete Lattimer, played by Joanne Kelly and Eddie McClintlock, respectively. A pair that don’t really get along are thrown together, for reasons unknown to them, into a world that they frequently have trouble believing. Guiding them, and even holding their hand at times, is Warehouse 13’s curator Artie Neilson, played by Saul “hey it’s that guy!” Rubinek. Saul, despite a long career of mere guest spots rather than actual starring roles, manages to easily draw you into the show with his eccentric behavior and his character’s passion to the quirky warehouse. Comedy and drama are mixed to a near perfect dosage in his interactions with our main stars – Joanne and Eddie – as they learn more about the warehouse, and begin their tenure under its roof. Myka and Pete are both given tragic pasts that are involved in several of the episodes as they’re slowly revealed to us, sometimes feeling out of place, but the writing never comes across as sloppy.
Their histories are well written, but their personalities not so much. Artie, Mrs. Federic (played fantastically by CCH Pounder), and the supporting cast are the most well written characters of the show. Agents Myka and Pete, however, suffer frequently throughout the first half of the season as their personalities come close to being exaggerated for the sake of their common clashing. Eventually you even begin to wonder how they could possibly be given such an important assignment, or how they’re even Secret Service agents to begin with. As the season progresses into its latter half, though, they begin to buckle down and their personalities become more focused giving you actual confidence that they’re part of the elite Secret Service. This is especially help as their pasts become further unraveled, revealing pasts that feel sincere, and without cliché. The same is true for Artie, and the later addition of Claudia, played by Allison Scagliotti.
The show, being sci-fi, obviously demands a lot out of its special effects budget. Generally speaking, the CGI work is weak. It rivals anything Siffy has put out for their “original” movies, but it’s all too evident when the budget is being stretched. Fortunately, the powers behind it seem to realize that less is more, and there is a lack of gratuity in CGI-usage. None of it ever feels shoved in to simply give you something pretty to look at, and feels appropriately used for the offending object of the episode and/or its effects on a person. Understandably, sometimes this does require a hefty amount of CGI, and that’s when you begin to notice the stretched budget.
Overall, it’s a rocky but steady start to a show that has a lot of potential to explore unique aspects of sci-fi. As we learn more about the Warehouse and the dangers within, the season steadily builds up an incredibly unexpected twist with its villainous arc, and leaves you eagerly awaiting the second season. The characters are well written to an extent, but have already developed far better than they were in the first half of the season. If you like a good mix of comedy and action for your sci-fi, or even in general, then I Highly Recommend this. If you don’t care for shows such as Syfy’s Eureka, then you may not like this either.
Universal brings Warehouse 13 to DVD in a nice and fancy little slipcase. It’s an embossed/foil reflective affair with a cutout on the cover to reveal the main actors. Sliding the case out you see a larger shot of the actors in a warehouse and from there you can fold out the digi-pak setup (three discs total, one dual layer tray and one single layer). On the other side of the slip out is a set of synopsis for the all of the discs as well as the bonus features contained on each (quite a few extras, shockingly enough). Also include is an insert advertising the second season of the show (including a strange “Look out for Twizzlers in Season 2 of Warehouse 13” note…seriously, Twizzlers? Though I can’t say the advert didn’t work because now I want some…).
Video for the set is exactly what you’d expect from a modern production. I never watched the series on TV so I can’t say how much nicer the HD feed looked as opposed to these standard definition DVD transfers, but overall it’s a pretty nice setup we’re given here. Twelve episodes spread out over three discs is enough space to breathe and it’s paired with a set of DD5.1 tracks for each episode so it’s more than enough to bring this series to your home setup with enjoyable quality. Although there is a “Music may differ from television version” note on the back of the package, so I don’t know if they really changed music or what exactly is going on.
Extras are plentiful and include:
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Saul Searching – the cast and crew ask Saul Rubinek some searching questions in this twist on the traditional interview
• Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe – Go behind the scenes of Warehouse 13 to discover how the show was created, how the cast got involved and what it’s like to work on the show.
• Pilot Commentary with Series Star Saul Rubinek
• Deleted Scenes
• Artie-Facts – discover the cast’s favorite artifacts, what happens to the propers after filming and more!
• What’s In the Shadows – Take a peek inside the Dark Vault and see what’s lurking in the shadows
• Sneak Peek: Warehouse 13: Season Two
• Claudia Commentary with Executive Producer Jack Kenny, Series Stars Joanne Kelly, CCH Pounder, Allison Scagliotti and Supervising Producer Drew Z. Greenberg
• Implosion Commentary with Executive Producer Jack Kenny, Series Stars Joanne Kelly & CCH Pounder and Writer Bob Goodman
• Deleted Scenes
• MacPherson Commentary with Executive Producer Jack Kelly and Series Stars CCH Pounder & Allison Scagliotti
As you can see with each disc sporting its own roster of deleted scenes and commentaries, it’s a fairly lengthy listing of extras to check out. Fans will definitely enjoy seeing all the behind-the-scenes featurettes and the commentaries are a great added bonus because we get to focus in on individual episodes of the series—and thankfully they’ve covered the most pivotal of the first season here.
Overall a Recommended set for fans. The packaging presentation alone is worth picking it up if you enjoy the show and the extras given are pretty solid as well (as the Universal season sets often are).
Warehouse 13 – Season One arrives on DVD on June 29th.