Welcome Back to Warehouse 13 and Eureka

Geekerati, rejoice! Two terrific, fun Syfy original series return to that network this week – Warehouse 13, returning for its second season on Tuesday night, July 6, and Eureka, which returns for its fourth season on Friday, July 9. Both series released their previous season’s DVD set last week. I love both shows, not because they’re particularly deep, challenging, or mysterious (I compare every show to LOST), but because they’re cozy shows that appeal to my love of sci fi and geekiness, as they were clearly created to do.

Welcome to Warehouse 13 – The Unknown Has an Address

If you’ve not seen this series, it could be described as Bones meets The Lost Room (an exceptional mini-series also from Syfy) meets The X-Files meets Jules Verne. The basic premise is that there are artifacts strewn about the world which are imbued with supernatural powers (as was the subject of The Lost Room), and they are collected and stored in the warehouse. The warehouse employs two government agents, played by Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelley (the Mulder and Scully Lite of the show), who seek out the objects based on information gathered by the warehouse manager and top agent, played by Saul Rubinek. Later in the first season they added Allison Scagliotti as (eventually) a young assistant, who brought a helpful dose of youth, frenzy, intellect, and a bit of edge. The look of the warehouse, which is one of my favorite things about the show, is very steampunk. If that look wasn’t a part of the show I’m certain I wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

Warehouse 13 is a show whose episodes are most often Monster of the Week in content, meaning you can jump in at any point in the series and not feel too lost. If you’d like to catch up on the entire run of season 1, the DVD set is now available. It includes the entire 12-episode season (I’m sorry, isn’t that really a half season?) on 3 disks. The bonus features are the usual – gag reel, commentaries (four!), plus a few other fun (if somewhat un-magical and therefore disappointing) compilation features. The commentaries in particular are fun and interesting, without too many unrelated conversations that sometimes make commentaries irritating.

I was already looking forward to the show’s return, but the sneak preview and commentary mentions of what to expect make me even more hopeful. Maybe just a little more edge, please? But heavy on the steampunk!

(Just Another Day in) Eureka

I loved this series from the time I saw the pilot when it aired in July 2006. The idea is that the town’s citizenship is made up of scientific geniuses who all work at (or in support of the employees of) Global Dynamics, a company that apparently has been responsible for all of the major scientific breakthroughs of the last however-many decades. Most of the episodes are seen through the eyes of the sheriff, played by Colin Ferguson, the town’s lone non-genius. The first season was just right, from a geeky person’s perspective. It was odd. It was quirky without being saccharine. Sheriff Jack was new and we were new, and it was a good fit. And especially, it had Matt Frewer.

The loss of Matt Frewer in subsequent seasons says a lot about the direction the show took. It was no longer new and of course had to move on, but I miss the just plain bizarre quality of the first season. Nevertheless, to me Eureka is what The Big Bang Theory should be: a comedic homage to brilliant minds without actually making fun of them.

Due to various real life issues, the series has brought in significant new characters with several-episode arcs with varying degrees of success in seasons 2 and 3. I have heard spoilers about one or two new characters, and am hoping that these add an element that may have been missing over the last two seasons. Given the fact that there is a new executive producer on board, I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s coming in season 4.

Eureka has unfortunately been a victim of cable tv production’s propensity for “half seasons” with sometimes six months or more between halves. As cable productions tend to have shorter seasons anyway, the wait between half-seasons is exceedingly annoying. Add to that the fact that releases of DVD seasons or half-seasons are usually held until just before the next season or half-season debuts, and you have a very cranky-yet-excited me now that the DVDs are here and the season 4 premiere is in a few days.

The bad and good news is that the Eureka Season 3.5 DVD set is short but terrific. Chock full of commentaries, including podcast commentaries, a great special effects bonus feature, and a charming half season (but only seven episodes, argh!), this is another highly recommended DVD set.

Thanks to Syfy for a couple of terrific series. With the addition of Caprica and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Stargate Universe, Syfy has a fairly well-rounded group of shows that are not made to reach the lowest common denominator, but rather to appeal to the geek universe. A wise choice, Syfy; we are loyal, we are mighty, and we buy your DVDs.

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