Warehouse 13 Complete Season One DVD review

Warehouse 13 Complete Season One DVD review

Warehouse 13 is a SyFy Channel original programme spanning twelve episodes and borrowing heavily from other entries in the science fiction genre. It’s got a touch of X-Files and Supernatural, coupled with elements of various other programmes and films. It feels like there are Indiana Jones moments, as well as nods to Ghostbusters, and moments where the series seems to fall into Smallville territory. With all of these influences on show, it could be a mess of a series, but it actually ends up working out quite well, despite a number of stumbling blocks.

The series focuses, initially, on two Secret Service agents, Bering (Joanne Kelly), who is serious and knowledgeable, and Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), who is quick thinking if somewhat gung- ho. Neither is too impressed when their jobs in the Secret Service are cut short by a mishandled operation, and both are transferred to South Dakota, where they work for Artie (Saul Rubinek) recovering powerful artefacts that possess wondrous, dangerous and deadly powers. The Warehouse, you see, has been housing these objects for decades so as to keep them out of the hands of those would use them for nefarious means.

Artie is a quirky character who has been working at Warehouse 13 cataloguing artefacts for decades, hiding secrets of his own and a burning desire to correct a number of wrongs that he feels he may have caused. Artie’s boss Mrs Frederic (C. C. H. Pounder) is the severe leader who has been around a long time. She’s part of a larger group and appears briefly to both chastise and advise. Having previously seen Pounder in The Shield, this is a refreshing a change of pace for an actress who commands the screen for the few minutes that she appears (quite literally) in each episode. I’m hoping that, during Season 2, the origins of Mrs Frederic and the Warehouse are explored more.

The first few episodes do a good job of setting up the premise, introducing all the key characters and their relationships, as well as introducing us to the Warehouse and the bizarre objects contained within, some of which are really quite interesting, others just a bit too comic.

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By episode four, things pick up as a mysterious hacker linked to Artie’s past comes back to make him fulfil a promise. Artie’s character is fleshed out, presenting him as more sympathetic and less comical, whilst Bering and Lattimer have no choice but to get on and work together. Thankfully, they do this without falling for each other at any point.

Later in Season One, another member is added to the team in the form of Claudia, adding some youthful exuberance and a female companion of equal ability to Artie. Leena, the bed and breakfast owner who also supports Artie, is also fleshed out, though seems to spend a lot of her time on the periphery of proceedings. We’re also treated to marginally darker storylines, including missing agents and double-dealing.

In the final two episodes, things really step up a gear as many strands are brought together, tempers flare and the grand villain of the piece, and his assistant, are revealed. It all ends in a cliffhanger that left me wanting to see the next season!

The idea of mixing two people with conflicting personalities isn’t original, but it still works. On top of that we’ve got a quirky specialist and a mysterious overseer, adding further to the feeling that we’ve been here before. The revelation of a rogue agent, unoriginal as it may be, is well handled, as is Artie’s meeting the overseers of Warehouse 13, a group called The Regents.

It’s like a light-hearted X Files mixed in with the dark humour of Bones and some supernatural elements of, well, Supernatural. It’s because of this easy comparison that the series suffers marginally. Once you get over the comparisons to other things, the series is quite fun and interesting. As with some TV series (Supernatural was prone to this in the early years), the self-contained nature of the stories mean that some of the connections to move the story from one moment to the next are quite tenuous, and rob the story of some tension, and there’s a tendency to wrap everything up in the final few minutes, instead of building to a satisfying conclusion.

Created by D. Brent Mote and Jane Espenson (of Buffy, Angel and Battlestar Galactica fame) the series definitely has legs, offering something that isn’t as edgy as many modern science fiction series. It does have problems (sometimes the humour is inappropriately timed, sometimes the CGI looks ropey and the stories are underdeveloped), but Warehouse 13 is still definitely worth a shot.

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There are deleted scenes for all of the episodes, most of which seem to be just filler, alternate or extended takes. You’re not missing much if you choose to skip them.

Three episodes have audio commentaries, Claudia, Implosion and the season finale. The cast are enthusiastic about their involvement in the series, taking digs at themselves and talking about the type of things that happen on the set, whilst still finding time to talk about the episode itself. They’re worth listening to, just for the banter between the cast and crew.

Finally, there’s a Playback UK trailer looking at all the series that are available on the label.

It’s a real shame that there isn’t more behind the scenes stuff, a ‘making of’, a look at the CGI, even a ‘fact file’-type feature looking at all the famous artefacts that are mentioned.


4 stars

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Warehouse 13 Complete Season One will be released on June 28 and can be pre-ordered from the Den Of Geek Store.


1 out of 5