Warehouse 13 – A Steampunk Fringe?

July 10, 2009 | By More

SciFi Channel shows have been hit or miss for me. Some of them I really love, and some of them I just don’t get. I’ve never really got into the new Battlestar Galactica or Startgate. I was apparently one of the few people who liked Painkiller Jane and Dresden Files. I still think Dresden Files should have been given a better chance, but that’s neither here nor there.

SciFi recently changed their name to SyFy to apparently look cooler. You can put the geek in a tux, but he’s still a geek. As part of their name campaign, they had been pushing the pilot for “Warehouse 13” on a number of channels, not just their own. Mrs. Nerd and I had our curiosity piqued enough that we decided to check it out, and then decide if we were going to add a series recording to DVR.

SciFi tends to take little bits and pieces from a number of other things. I can almost see this show as being pitched as  “Antiques Road Show” at the Area 51 warehouse from Indiana Jones.

The other show I see a number of similarities to is “Fringe”.  You have an federal agent who sees visions her dead partner, who’s aided by a guy that’s a bit shady and believes just a bit in the craziness around him. Both of them look to an eccentric older guy who has a full grasp of all of the not quite real stuff going on around them.

Already, you can see what the formula for this show is going to be. Each week our two daring agents will be whisked to the far corners of the globe searching for a magical object. Much like the Indiana Jones series of films, the search for this McGuffin will be the story, not the object itself. It will be really interesting to see if they make it a ho-hum formula show, or a full out multi-episode story continuity type series. Formula shows can be entertaining, but they can wear out their welcome quickly.

Overall, the pilot was entertaining on it’s own. It’s the requisite introduction to the characters with their first “mission” learning their new job. It’s a lot easier to get into a show where you learn with the characters, instead of coming into a developed situation. It was great to see the agents in their own environment at the beginning of the show.

The object in the opening sequence reminded me quite a bit of something out of a Hellboy graphic novel. A number of Mike Mignola’s story’s revolve around fantastic objects, so I guess there are some connections to that series, as well. There’s a number of Warehouse 13 type artifacts on display in BPRD hallways. Really, their charter is about the same. Protect the general populace from the paranormal, and store the threat away if possbile.

The other area that Warehouse 13 shares with the Hellboy film is it’s Steampunk influences. I have to say that was the most entertaining part of the premiere episode for me. I’ve always like that design style, even before I knew what it was called. I’d seen a little of it here and there and like it. But, I’d have to say the Steampunk influences in the Myst series of games really caught my attention.

In Warehouse 13, a number of the “tech” items they use are built in the S.P. style. I’ve been saving a keyboard and scrounging parts to build a keyboard very similar to the one in Artie’s office. Mrs. Nerd noted during the office scenes, it seemed a bit odd to see the nicely done keyboard had a pretty modern flat panel monitor attached to it. If the show continues past a few episodes, I’d look for that to change.

The communicator and taser would look perfectly normal in a Steampunk Star Trek universe. I can’t wait to see people to start posting pictures of prop replicas from this show on line. For the prop junkie this show is going to be a wonderland.

With names like Thomas Edison, Tesla, and Farnsworth being bantered about when talking about some of these wonderful devices, I would imagine a time travel episode is inevitable. I’m sure our heroes will need to figure out how something needs to be stopped from destroying the world. The only person who will have the knowledge they need will be one of the turn  of the century science greats ,who they use some hidden object in the warehouse to go visit in the past.

Overall, I have cautious optimism for this show. It’s quirky enough to keep it interesting, and the Jules Verne type items are just a joy to look at. I won’t add it to the DVR yet, but we’ll definitely catch the next couple episodes.

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Category: Media Reviews, On TV

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