Back in 2009 I wrote this of the first season of Warehouse 13:
“There’s a lot wrong with this show. On paper it looks good, but the way the concept is put into practise is really very shabby in places. The whole thing has a kind of sheen of cheapness about it – plots are unpolished and full of holes, special effects are awful and some of the dialogue is truly dreadful. However the casting is superb and all of the actors are wringing every last drip of fun out of the scripts and making the show a lot better than it deserves. I really hope next season they manage to find some writers who can produce scripts worthy of their cast and really raise this show up a notch.”
Two years later and I have to report that they really haven’t taken it up a notch, it’s still just as shabby and cheap as the first season. But the astute amongst you will notice that despite that, I’m still watching the damn the show!
It really does take a special talent to make a show as bad as this. I can only really conclude that they are either so cheap, or so lazy that they just don’t bother reviewing their scripts to see if they hang together. Every episode I can spot at least a dozen ways that the stories could be made better even while simultaneously eating my dinner and doing a sudoku. That’s not me boasting at all, that’s just how utterly awful the scripts are.
The other reason that I multi-task so much is that the simple act of watching, rather than just listening, also has a notable impact on the enjoyability of the show. It still seems to be one of the cheapest shows on television, with huge quantities of it blue screened to avoid having to go on location and the CGI seemingly priced on a pixel by pixel basis. I think the big expense this year was a relatively well trained dog, although the ridiculous amount of product placement for Priuses (Prium? Priai?) may have covered that.
So why am I still here? Two reasons. Firstly, there is painfully little sf on television, and that is about the only thing my housemates and I watch together. We never really took to Eureka, Dr Who is over for another year and there’s only so many times you can rewatch Firefly.
Secondly – somewhere underneath the terrible scripts there’s a really talented and entertaining cast desperately trying to drag themselves out from under cliché and twaddle. They’re charming and funny and bring a genuine sense of wonder and excitement to the adventures they have. Most importantly none of them are perfect, they all have their little flaws and failings that prevent them from becoming the kind of super-agents that just get really irritating. This season had a really lovely collection of little character stories, Claudia making a friend, Pete finding out a family secret, Myka finding her confidence as an agent, Artie getting a dog – it was just nice.
Fortunately Warehouse 13 is on when there’s not much else to compete with, on a quiet network and doesn’t have a very long run each season – all meaning that it doesn’t need spectacular ratings and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Thanks to all that it let it sneak below my quality radar, but I do get frustrated with it because the stuff that it’s failing at is the easy stuff and it really wouldn’t take much to make this a really great little show.