Well-acclaimed Saul Rubinek (seen previously in Blind Justice & Frasier) heads the cast of Warehouse 13 as Arthur “Artie” Neilsen, the Secret Service agent in charge. Assisted by field agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock – Bones, Crumbs) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly – Vanished, ‘Jack Hunter and the…’ series), the remaining members of the main cast are Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) and Leena (Genelle Williams). All are presided over – and often intimidated by – Mrs Frederic (CCH Pounder), Artie’s supervisor.
In the opening two-hour pilot, as characters are introduced, and for a couple of subsequent episodes after the pilot, the show takes on a steady pace with stand-alone plots that surround the artifact of the week and returning it to the Warehouse or as Artie calls it: “America’s Attic”. The artifacts are imbued with residual energy left by its former owner. These can drive a person to violence (as shown in the pilot) or can have other results, such as granting the bearer extraordinary luck at gambling, to make the written word become reality and many more besides.
During the pilot we discover how Pete and Myka are brought to the Warehouse after chaos erupts at a Washington D.C. due to the effects of an artifact on the curator. Pete and Myka are in attendance to serve protection duties for a Presidential visit as part of their roles as Secret Service agents. In dealing with the artifact, their actions lead to Mrs Frederic sending them to the Warehouse. Pete appears intrigued by the Warehouse and its purpose however Myka initially takes the approach that she is “too valuable to be wasted”. On gaining more experience of the Warehouse and its work, Myka later turns down the offer to return to her old job status and remains with Pete as an agent of the Warehouse.
The introduction of Claudia serves to allow more insight into Artie’s background – who is mostly seen as a closed book, with very little known about him. A later revelation surrounding Claudia’s arrival at the Warehouse is tied in with James Macpherson – a former Warehouse agent – and adds to later tension as MacPherson sets into motion his plans. As the first season draws to a close, viewers are treated to a potentially devastating cliffhanger that leaves Pete & Myka shocked to the core.
Although the show occasionally has its downfalls – scenes may drag at times with unnecessary drama and characters may annoy with their excessive chirpiness or cynicism – the overall plot and concept of Warehouse 13 is enough to pull it back from the down times. It has drama and comedy, action and emotion, seamlessly wrote into the script from scene to scene for an all-round entertainment value.
Character development and group dynamics are excellent – Myka is the studious and organised agent, Pete trusts his instincts and is more flexible to change while Artie is easily annoyed but protective of his agents and the artifacts. Claudia is an energetic and intelligent young woman, capable of breaking into the Warehouse and probably too smart for her own good. The main cast work well against each other and frequent pairings work well: Pete and Myka in the case of opposites attract for their working styles. Artie and Claudia end paired up in a number of scenes and the humour between the two shines.
Tv critics warmed easily to the cast with Stephen Lackey (TV Verdict) commenting on the “charisma of the characters” and Mike Moody (TV Squad) saying Pete “manages to be the most charming character of the bunch”. Opinions of the critics may differ beyond that but on its debut night, Warehouse 13’s premiere was the most-watched cable show on American television with 3.5 million viewers. It has also claimed the third spot for Syfy’s best premiere, behind Stargate Atlantis and Eureka.