A year ago, the Sci Fi Channel relaunched itself as Syfy. And, in honor of the occasion, premiered the series "Warehouse 13."
In the 12 months since then, Syfy has set a number of ratings records. Its audience has grown, and shows like "Warehouse 13" have been pretty successful for the network.
As a matter of fact, the network is thrilled to tell us that "Warehouse 13" is its "most successful series ever" in terms of audience, averaging 4.1 million viewers per episode.
And viewers who actually like quality science fiction have been consistently disappointed.
"Warehouse 13" returns for its second season on Tuesday (7 and 9 p.m, Syfy). And, after watching the first couple of episodes, there's nothing to indicate that my original review of the show no longer holds:
There's no sense of wonder, nothing to spark the imagination — not even anything that's entertaining — in the premiere of "Warehouse 13." ... At best, "Warehouse 13" is silly. At worst, it's stupid.
If anything, the second season of this series is worse than the first. In the first five minutes of Tuesday's episodes, the manipulative script tries to make us believe that not one, not two, but three of the main characters are dead.
It's not much of a spoiler alert to tell you that none of them dies.
If you missed the first 12 episodes, "Warehouse 13" follows the adventures of two Secret Service agents — the dopey Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and the driven Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) — who have an unusual assignment. They're assigned to Warehouse 13, a South Dakota facility stuffed with weird, otherworldly/supernatural/really weird artifacts.
It's a lot like that warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is stored at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Only odder.
With the advice and assistance of warehouser caretaker Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), Pete and Myka go on various assignments to retrieve artifacts and battle bad guys.
(The cast also includes Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan, a techno whiz who works for Artie; CCH Pounder as Mrs. Frederic, the boss; and Genelle Williams as Leena, the proprietor of the bed and breakfast where the agents live and possessor of psychic powers.)
The premise of "Warehouse 13" is not necessarily a bad idea, but it's very poorly executed. Frankly, it's not so much exciting as just plain dumb.
The scripts are weak. It's easy when all you have to do is haul out some sort of artifact to plug any plot holes.
But the greatest flaw of "Warehouse 13" is the badly drawn characters. They're more like cartoon than real people, and their relationships are just plain awful.
Pete and Myka have a love/hate relationship that's supposed to create sparks. Mostly it creates groans with lots of dialogue like this as the pair ride a zipline together:
"Hey, if you're going to grab me like that, I need some sweet talk." says Pete.
"Just shut up and fly!" says Myka.
It's not fair to blame all of Syfy's creative failings on one show. And "Warehouse 13" isn't the worst show on TV.
Heck, it's not even the worst show on Syfy.
But for anyone who loves science fiction, it's tremendously disappointing that a channel that's supposed to be devoted to the genre can't do any better than this lame show.
Ah, well. At least it's not "Ghosthunters," "Destination Truth" or "Scare Tactics."
WAREHOUSE BALONEY: It's not surprising that a "documentary" titled "Inside Secret Government Warehouses: Shocking Revelations" (Sunday, July 11, 7 and 9 p.m., Syfy) is a commercial for "Warehouse 13." And mostly baloney.
"Award-winning journalist" Lester Holt (what journalist hasn't won an award?) damages his reputation by hosting this special, which purports to tell us about "alien body parts, powerful religious artifacts (and) UFO wreckage."
It's pretty much what you'd expect, with the possible exception of a segment that debunks a video of an alleged alien.
But there's a consistent logical fallacy that's simply insulting to the intelligence of viewers: "A" is true so unrelated "B" is true, too.
For example: The government hid the truth about medical experiments so it's hiding the evidence of aliens.
This is two hours of completely wasted time.