Warehouse 13’s ratings for Season 3 led to Syfy calling it the most popular series in the channel’s history. Yet, it’s not clear why it is so appealing. While cable shows like The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones benefit from being daring, Warehouse 13 takes hardly any risks at all.
“We don’t chase bad guys, we chase artefacts,” spunky tech expert Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) tells new agent Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) early in the season. That distinction hardly distinguishes the series, though, because these guys would be out of a job if artefacts didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Season 3, like its predecessors, flaunts a playful mix of procedural clichés and National Treasure-style high jinks. Blood is occasionally spattered, but the guardians of the world’s most dangerous tat rarely seem to be in any real jeopardy.
Jinks is recruited in the premiere, ostensibly as a replacement for Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), who left at the end of Season 2. For the first few episodes Ashmore’s character doesn’t do much except give Donovan a chance to get out more and illustrate Syfy’s commendable willingness to put gay characters on primetime television. As another behind-the-scenes baddie drives events towards a cliffhanger finale, though, Ashmore’s addition is justified by the touching relationship he develops with Claudia. The culmination of this gives the fiery final showdown an unusually high level of emotional gravitas for a series that relies heavily on levity.
Less convincing is the awkward longing of Agent Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) for his platonic pal, Myka. The resolution of this subplot could have used more emotional depth and given the characters a chance to grow. This, though, is a show that delights in turning objects like Beatrix Potter’s tea set and WC Fields’ balls into vectors of chaos. Hence, it’s no surprise that angst is left behind as the Secret Service equivalent of The Antiques Roadshow gets on with things.