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Warehouse 13: Season 2

Universal // Unrated // June 28, 2011
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted June 17, 2011 | E-mail the Author
The Show:
The first season of Warehouse 13 was okay.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either.  The show had some potential and luckily that gets explored in season two.  The set of shows builds on the foundation laid by the first season and expands the Warehouse 13 world.  It stays away from the menace-of-the-week formula by creating a season-long problem for the agents to tackle while also fleshing out a lot of the background of both characters and the warehouse itself.

Series background:
When two secret service agents, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) end up saving the life of the President of the United States when a strange Aztec idol takes over a museum worker, they get more than a pat on the back.  They're visited that evening by the mysterious Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) and ordered to appear at a remote location in South Dakota the next day.

Arriving at the location, the pair discovers a huge, old warehouse built into the side of a mountain and discovers that they've been transferred to Warehouse 13, "America's Attic".  It's the place where objects that are too dangerous to be loose in the world are stored and cataloged.  These pieces, called artifacts, range from the fairly benign, like a plane that has to be chained down... it came from the Bermuda Triangle and the Triangle has been trying to pull it back ever since, to the down right dangerous, like the aforementioned Aztec idol.  Lattimer and Bering have been transferred to the Warehouse and under the watchful eye of Artie (Saul Rubinek) they're charged with tracking down artifacts and transporting them safely back to Warehouse 13 where they can do no harm.
The problem is that Pete and Myka don't get along very well.  Pete's more of an impulsive, go-with-your-gut-feeling type of guy and Myka is the studious agent who plans everything out carefully.  They frequently clash when on assignments though they have an unspoken respect for each other.
This season:
There was quite an interesting cliff-hanger at the end of last season.  An ex-agent, MacPherson (Roger Rees), has managed to escape from Warehouse 13 after being bronzed.  Not only was he able to escape, but he also 'debronzed' a second criminal trapped in the warehouse.  Who is this mysterious criminal and what does Mac Pherson want with him?  It's up to Lattimer and Myka to track down the rouge agent and his partner in crime, figure out what they are planning, and somehow stop them.  All while taking care of their regular workload too.

This season worked very well, mainly because there was an overreaching story arc that had a lot of twists and turns.  Every time viewers think they know where the plot is going, something changes that pulls the rug out from underneath their feet.  It kept the season interesting.
The show also takes some time to explore the background of the Warehouse itself (why is it #13?  Are there 12 others?) and fills in some of the details about Pete and Myka's personal lives.  One of the running gags that worked well is the Warehouse's cover story:  It's an IRS records warehouse.  That means Pete and Myka are IRS agents as far as the residents of the local town are concerned, which doesn't endear them to any of the citizens.  (Another gag I enjoyed is the name of the nearby city:  Univille short for unincorporated village.)  

While the show did take a giant step forward this season, there are still some problems.  Pete's adolescent behavior and references to pop culture seem to be lifted right out of Psych, and Myka's encyclopedic knowledge and abilities (she's an excellent fencer we discover) make her a bit too perfect.  The show isn't quite as funny as it could be, and the action sequences aren't as exciting as we'd like but the stories are interesting enough to mainly make up for those flaws.     
The DVD:

All twelve episodes that make up season one are contained on three DVDs that come in a custom case with slipcase.
The show's DD 5.1 soundtrack is fine, are does an adequate job in both the dialog heavy scenes and the more audio-intensive actions sections.  The full soundstage is used to good effect, with some nice subtle background effects thrown to the rears.  In one scene a door bell rings and the sound comes from behind the viewers, which made me jump. I like stuff like that.  In the more sonically busy parts the subwoofer gets a bit of work, and the room fills with sound.  The bad news is that the dialog is sometimes mixed a little low, and it's easy to miss comments that are mumbled or said under someone's breath.  There were a couple of times that I had to turn on the optional English subtitles to understand what was said, but this happen rarely though it was still a pain.   
The anamorphic 1.78:1 image looks very good.  Almost too good.  The lines are tight and crisp and the level of detail is very nice, but when an effect heavy scene pops up it's easy to tell that CGI is being used.  The computer work doesn't blend seamlessly with the rest of the image which is too bad.  Aside from that the colors look fine and the blacks are nice.  Digitally there's a slight amount of aliasing in a few scenes, but it's mainly limited to the background and nothing to complain about.
The set has a good amount of extras, which is always nice.  The show comes with commentary tracks to three episodes with various members of the cast and crew giving their thoughts on the show, as well as several video featurettes.  One warning:  The video features are spread over the three discs but they cover the whole season.  In other words, there are spoilers aplenty in them if you haven't seen all of season two yet.  First off is A Thrilleromedy which gathers the cast and crew to discuss how the show has changed over the second season.  A Stitch in Time is an examination of the group's new nemesis for this season, and Designing the Warehouse looks at the warehouse, some of the props in the background, and the steam-punk influences in the design.
One of the episodes in this season features Frago, from the Syfy show Eureka, making an appearance.   They also include the sister episode of Eureka where Claudia visits the town filled with geniuses.  The two episodes aren't connected aside from the characters visiting the shows, but it was nice to see the episode of Eureka. 
The set is wrapped up with several deleted scenes, a gag real (that's not too funny) video blogs, and a photo gallery.
Final Thoughts:
Warehouse 13 improves a lot with the second season.  There are still some plot holes and inconsistencies, but the stories are more interesting and they've done a good job of building on the foundation created in the first season.  A light SF show that's worth checking out. Recommended.
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