Thursday, 30 January 2014

Beyond The Hub Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13

Written and created by Jane Espenson and D. Brent Mote
Aired on the Syfy network on 7th July 2009. 
It has produced 58 episodes and Four Seasons,
Season five will be its last.
Reviewed by DJ Forrest

Warehouse 13 stars Eddie McClintock as Peter Lattimer, Joanne Kelly as Myka Bering, Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielson, C.C.H. Pounder as Mrs Frederic, Allison Scagliotti as Claudia and Genelle Williams as Leena. 

The series is filmed in Toronto, Ontario.

Warehouse 13 takes you through various historical facts and tinges them with levels of fiction, takes levels of fiction and tinges them with fact.  It’s a brilliant storyline every time.

The story begins with two Secret Service Agents Peter Lattimer and Myka Bering.
Lattimer is a rule breaker, often going off on a tangent, such as he did with the museum, removing an Aztec head sculpture as it gave him a bad vibe.  The life of the Mexican President’s daughter was at risk of being sacrificed by a zombie worker at the museum who had the misfortune of being cut by the crystals in the mouth of the artefact.  Because of Lattimer’s actions and the fact he couldn’t account for where the blood had gone from his shirt after he’d removed the bloodied artefact from its designated spot in the museum, was suspended from duty.  When he returned to his apartment he was greeted by Mrs Frederic, a mysterious black woman, very astute and very much in charge of the secret warehouse in South Dakota, his new destination.

Myka Bering was also protecting the President and was surprised to discover that she too had been sent to South Dakota on the same assignment as Lattimer.  There had to be some mistake and after making contact with her boss back with the secret service, Daniel Dickenson, she was set to return to her job when the first episode kicked off and encouraged her to stay.
Myka is a ‘by the book’ agent, there are no deviations.  Although towards the middle of the first series and after coming to terms with the loss of her partner Sam Martino, Myka loosened up.

Artie Nielson is a former cryptographer and code breaker for the NSA.  He was also at the museum to collect the artefact dropped by Lattimer and has worked for the mysterious Mrs Frederic for nearly 40 years, which makes him possibly older than he really is.  Then again Mrs Frederic has been involved with Warehouse 13 since the 1950’s yet she looks no older than her late 40’s.
Artie is the walking encyclopaedia, he knows everything there is to know about practically everything that is contained within the warehouse and practically everything else that isn’t, that is outside of the warehouse, ancient history, geology, physics, the works.  He is the ideal guy to have at a pub quiz.

Artie trains up the two agents, sends them to collect artefacts that are throwing up all kinds of negative vibes, causing people to act out of character after coming into contact with an artefact, whether it be a paperweight, a hair grip or a chair to name a few, although he doesn’t give his reasons, it soon becomes evident towards the middle of the first series that Artie hasn’t been completely truthful.

In the first episode the pilot, the two agents are sent out to recover an artefact that is affecting certain people, especially a young man by the name of Cody Thomas played by Dillon Casey.  Cody has attacked his girlfriend and has been arrested for his violent behaviour.  His godmother has some kind of hold over him, and using Lucrezia Borgia's comb that somehow can transmit the mindset of the Italian murderess through the crystals of the comb, is also able to use the phrase in the Italian book in the lecturer’s bookshelf at the college, as a phonetic trigger.  The godmother wants Cody and will do everything in her power to get him and the agents have to save him and his girlfriend before it’s too late.  

As with all programmes there is a story arc and for season one the story is about Artie and his partner James MacPherson played by Roger Rees, although we don’t really get to know any of this until midway through the first series.  It transpires that MacPherson is a rogue agent.  He used to work at the Warehouse and having the knowledge of the artefacts and able to manipulate people around him for his own means, and is able to access Warehouse 13 for artefacts that will make him an incredibly rich and powerful man.  Towards the end of Season One MacPherson is captured but as with all devious baddies he escapes, aided by the same people he manipulated to get into the warehouse and leaves season one on a cliff hanger.

I love the show.  I love the quirkyness of it. I love Claudia, the genius who knows how to cobble together pieces of equipment and make something fantastic with it. Her story comes when she hacks into Warehouse 13 and wants Artie to pay for her brother, who had devised a way of teleportation, unfortunately he hadn’t added the one key that would allow him to come back. He can only come back by using Claudia as a portal, which is slowly killing her.  Setting up the device in the original lab, locating the key that would bring Joshua back, Artie does so, although it appeared a happy ending, Mrs Frederic was less than impressed that Claudia, despite doing this for all the right reasons, had still managed to bypass the firewall and break into the warehouse. So Artie took her on at the warehouse, and she proved her worth time and again.  Claudia also has all the best lines.   

I love all the steampunk equipment and would love to have an office like Artie’s.  The keyboard and over large laptop and their communication devices seem so archaic yet quirky that it doesn’t appear odd to be talking into a metal pencil tin.

To me Warehouse 13 is a mixture of X Files meets Ghostbusters meets Indiana Jones, it’s a blend of history and humour and excitement and adventure, and it’s firing my imagination into wanting to put pen to paper and create storylines with something similar, purely to have a reason for my characters to get off their butts and go and search for the lost scribes of something biblical, although that may require more research than I can physically cope with. 

One of the other things I noticed about Warehouse 13 is the extensive cast list.  There are many names I don’t know, and a fair few I do.  Mark Sheppard known to us in the Whoniverse as Canton Delaware III in Doctor Who, plays Benedict Valda, one of the Regents, whose sole purpose is to protect the artefacts from falling into the wrong hands.
Anthony Head plays Paracelsus who was a dangerous alchemist from the 16th Century and who was bronzed by Warehouse 9.  His brother Bennett Sutton is played by James Marsters.  Paracelsus was the caretaker of Warehouse 9 in Turkey, in the year 1517AD – 1566AD but had used part of the Philosopher’s Stone with the Copper Bowls of Life and Death to make his brother and his family Charlotte Dupres, and Nick Powell immortal at a terrible cost.

Gareth David-Lloyd played Mr Wolcott in 2011 in the episode ‘3...2...1’.  Mr Wolcott was involved in the HG Wells story which told of Warehouse 12 in London, England, in 1830AD -1914 AD when the war against Germany had begun and Vincent Crowley was planning on using the Rocket, a weapon co-developed by HG Wells and powered by Joshua’s Trumpet a device that when blown had the ability and power to reduce people to dust.  Interesting as it is, my mind was blown when in this series, H.G. Wells is a woman, and Charles Wells, her brother, was the writer. I love writers!

Such fine writing by such brilliant script writers, I have only praise for them.  I am spellbound from the get go, I love this programme.

If you’re looking for something easy to watch, with loveable characters and some you really want to hate.  If you want to learn a little about ancient history and the artefacts that can be found, and add a little spin to them, then you need to watch this show.  It’s Mulder and Scully, its Indiana Jones, its Ghostbusters, its Warehouse 13, and it’s brilliant!

You can find the full Series up to Season 4 on Netflix


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