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Science fiction is a tough genre with tough fans. It’s difficult to get sci fi fans to invest in a world and a program that doesn’t seem carefully crafted or make theoretical sense. It’s also frequently difficult to get non-sci fi fans to invest in a science fiction drama, especially if it’s on a channel other than network TV. Braving all of these fronts is Syfy’s Warehouse 13, which is currently in its fourth season on the cable network. The real question is whether or not the show is worth investing in this late in the game.
While there are shows that are easier to invest in if they are watched from Day 1, luckily there are plenty of shows with the ease of plot or the writing finesse to help people to jump into any episode and get involved with a new series. To determine whether a show falls in to the former or latter camp, TV Blend writer Jessica Rawden has vowed to watch episodes of shows she’s never seen before and analyze those shows in different areas to let you, the reader, know how quickly you could become a fan. This week Jessica is tackling Warehouse 13’s Season 4 Episode 18 comedy “Lost and Found.”
1. Quality Of Story
The overarching idea of Warehouse 13 is that there is a giant warehouse on U.S. property in South Dakota. The warehouse features a slew of supernatural artifacts that need to be guarded from going out into the world once, more. Each week, a group of agents go out into the world to attempt to retrieve more artifacts and “bag them” to bring them back to the safety of the warehouse.
Monday’s episode featured a storyline offering hidden treasure and the tale of a pirate. While one warehouse group went off to learn the pirate’s secrets, another team had to deal with safety and trust issues when the warehouse was compromised. Additionally, a smoke monster and some seemingly nefarious characters tried to cause a rift in the team. Pirate plotlines are always engaging, but I didn’t enjoy the way everyone needed to split up during the episode to be involved in different stories. With so many characters, the writers have to give everyone something to do. Having never watched the show before, I’m not certain this is what happens each week, but the show is far more exciting when the different characters get to engage with one another rather than be split into teams.
2. Quality Of Characters
Like plenty of Syfy’s other programs (Eureka comes to mind), the characters are amusing and the show is often charming. The main team in the series is made up of five characters. There’s Artie, who seems to be the most knowledgeable about the artifacts and who also seems like the head honcho. Then, there’s Pete and Myka, who have skills that complement one another and who seem to have worked together for a very long time. Finally, there’s a secondary team of youngsters. During Monday’s episode, Steve and Claudia get into some shenanigans at the Warehouse while the rest of the crew is out.
Honestly, these characters aren’t going to entrance you with their awesomeness or excite you with their uniqueness. They are all extremely watchable and mostly likeable, except for Pete when he makes a few bad Comic Con jokes. Add to this familiarity a few random abilities, like having a kick-ass memory or being able to tell when someone is lying and the characters in Warehouse 13 are quirky enough to keep fans returning for more.
3. Likelihood Of Staying On Air
There is good news and bad news on this front. Warehouse 13 is in the latter half of Season 4, which means there are a few more episodes hitting cable this summer. Additionally, Syfy has already announced the show will be returning for Season 5. This may make it seem like a perfectly safe time to sign on for the show, but it’s not that simple.
When Syfy renewed its original series for a fifth season, it also effectively cancelled the series. The final season will be far shorter than the 20 episodes the show received in Season 4 and less even than the dozen or so the show nabbed for season orders prior to this year. Season 5 will be a shortened season and will only offer fans six episodes. While that’s sad, Syfy is pretty good about re-running shows, so if you give this one a shot, there will be plenty of older episodes to marathon through.
4. Necessary Investment Level
Depending on how you like your television, the necessary investment level in Warehouse 13 is either awesome or the opposite. Today’s episode was mostly a contained story, although there was enough of a plot transition to get me intrigued about next week’s episode. If you like contained mystery-solving episodes with some personal plotlines intertwined, you may very well like Warehouse 13. However, if you prefer programs that offer a continual storyline throughout the course of an entire season, you are out of luck with this one.
The biggest problem I’'ve found with this drama is that the stakes don’t ever feel particularly high. Our heroes are dealing with dangerous, supernatural artifacts, but oftentimes the abilities of these artifacts are played for jokes. The smoke monster in the episode seemed more like a curiosity than a danger, even when it was choking one of the characters, and the one time something dangerous did happen to one of the main characters, I still found myself feeling as if things will turn out alright.
The Good, The Bad, And Whether You Should Watch
Warehouse 13 can be a little cheesy. Its jokes are easy but are not always thoughtful, and it’s storylines and artifacts are often similar to other science fiction programs of its ilk. However, if you like to geek out to that sort of stuff, the show can be a lot of fun. Additionally, Warehouse 13’s characters are just familiar enough that they feel like people you might actually know.
This one’s a giant toss up. There are pros and cons to giving the show a shot, especially depending on what sort of genres you enjoy, but it is a bit late in the game to get invested right now. Think hard about what you like and what you don’t like from your television before changing the channel to Syfy or DVRing this program, but don’t let a little dislike for science fiction programming stop you from getting into this one. Sure, this show's about some wacky adventures, but it's also about the characters.
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