From TV Squad:
(S01E03) We're three episodes in, guys. You need to start working together better. I loved that the artifacts in the warehouse don't like the negative energy that Pete and Myka's constant bickering gives out. There's even an alarm and a slime system that the folks at Nickelodeon would be proud of.
It looks like, at least for the time being, while Pete and Myka are off on the quest of the week, Leena and Artie will be trying to figure out who's hacked into the warehouse and what they're hoping to accomplish. It's not much, but it's something. Eureka gets by on less sometimes, but makes up for it in the charm of the community and the elements of humor that permeate the script.
I've recently been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I missed it the first time around, and noticed that a lot of the strength of that show was in the characters. The humor came from their personalities and it made even a sometimes lackluster plot more palatable. So it comes as no surprise that one of Warehouse 13's creators, Jane Espenson, spent five years writing and producing Joss Whedon's baby. The reason that I'm so enjoying this series so far is Myka and Pete, Artie and Leena and the mystery of Mrs. Frederic.
All the artifacts and the big warehouse and even the boomerang football take a back seat to these characters. With Pete and Myka heading off to some new locale each week, we can get plenty of local flavor, but as with most procedurals, we're talking disposable background noise that's here one week and gone the next.
This week's case of a handful of locals acting out their subconscious desires because of a chair didn't even provide a tremendous threat. It only impacted about five people throughout the episode, and until the end they were relatively harmless. So there was again no sinister danger to anyone for much of the hour. At least on Eureka, the town is going to be destroyed, if not all of reality, a couple of times a month.
While "Mental" provided intriguing potential, the mystery solving was about as pedestrian as the first two episodes. It's in exploring the ideas behind these artifacts that Warehouse 13 could achieve something more than a fun summer romp. At this point, however, it seems content to be the fun uncle rather than the serious professor of science fiction.
Science fiction has always been about exploring our world and our views through the backdrop of the fantastic. We can look at religion, society, humanity and any other hot topic issue we want under the protective coating of fancy gadgets and sparkly lights. That's when science fiction is amazing. This is when science fiction is just having fun showing you the doo-dads and whatzits. And that's okay, too.
If you're not going to explore greater concepts with your science fiction, as Battlestar Galactica ambitiously tackled season after season, then you need to make it fun. Give us another reason to want to spend an hour in your world week after week. Warehouse 13 is certainly aiming to get there, but I'm not quite sure it's there yet.
I think I want them to aim bigger with some of the artifacts. And personalize the struggle in some way. Delve more into Artie. Have some artifact in the warehouse "attack" and have a dramatic effect on a member of the team. Give us a bit more on Leena. There's mysteries to explore here, and doing so will make us feel more invested in the cast and, thus, the show. Otherwise, it's a sideshow. And the problem with sideshows is that while they're fascinating while they're in town, once they blow out, life goes on and you don't really miss them.