Imagine a warehouse in a remote part of America, which contains very special artifacts that can cause major damage if used in the wrong hands.
Now imagine two federal agents who suddenly find themselves working there, and being tasked with finding other powerful artifacts.
That's the premise of Warehouse 13, a new show that may be Syfy's next big thing. Former Buffy writer and producer Jane Espenson is credited with creating the show with Brent Mote, and also writing the pilot with Davis Simkins. Simkins and co-executive producer Jack Kenny were there at Comic-Con to talk about the show. They both said they go through a lot of research coming up with incredible artifacts, whether it's a 45 RPM record that plays a song so soothing it's used to rob banks, or a special compass from the 16th century that could case someone to teleport.
"We approached each story," he said, "from a more personal aspect in terms of what would be a character be experiencing or going through.". In the latest episode, "Claudia", the artifact, a 16th century compass, figure in a teenager's desperate attempt to save her brother from a terrible accident that put him stuck between dimensions for 12 years.
Unlike most sci-fi shows, W13 also presents characters who are more than meets the eye. At first glace, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) may look like a Secret Service agent who doesn't take life seriously. In fact, McClintock says he doesn't take life too seriously, either. However, we find out Eddie is special because he can feel "vibes" that warn him when something's wrong. When he was a kid, he felt a vibe before his dad, a fireman, died. "It's what caused him to grow up to be someone," he says "who metaphorically keeps trying to save his father by saving the world."
His partner, Myka Bering (Joanna Kelly) is a by-the-book agent who often clashes with Eddie's laid-back style. "She's very structured," Joanna explains, "This girl likes things done a certain way, likes rules, likes regulations, makes her feel in control." However, we also learn she lost someone she loved in an unnamed event in Denver. The pain is still there, which is why she prefers to stay in control. Once she gets more involved with W13, she learns how to work with Pete. It's not long before she breaks a rule or two if it gets the job done.
McClintock admitted he was worried when it looked like someone else would becmoe Pete on the show, but Kelly calmed him down just before they auditioned together. Their read-through, which even included a couple of flubs, convinced the producers to hire them as the leads.
The leads are impressed with how much SyFy is backing the show, and so is Saul Rubineck, who plays curator Artie Neilsen. "Syfy doesn't have six or seven shows to take our place," Rubinek says. "If we were on a network, we dip in the ratings, GONE!
We're not like that. They're invested in the show, we know that"
Rubinek also revealed W13 has a history that extends back thousands of years, and that Artie may have a few secrets of his own. He's also pleased with the newest cast member, Allison Scagliotti. She's none other than Claudia, the girl who begs Artie to save her brother. She turns out to be a scientific whiz kid that will be a big benefit to W13.
She admitted she was pretty impressed with Rubinek after meeting him. "I learned from him every day," she says, "even still now the show has wrapped and we're still bouncing ideas off each other." She's also impressed with the set, and Artie's office, which she says could have been designed by Jules Verne. But she is also proud that the show's fantasy elements are still down to earth "(W)hat makes us different," she says, "is that we've blended these action and fantasy elements with real people and real places and artifacts that could have been in your attic."
Mark Stern, the head of Sci-Fi, was also there. Kenny used this chance to ask if the show would get a second season, and asked the crowd to help. Stern said that he loves the show, and the cast is amazing. he also said it's the public's decision on whether a second season is coming. Judging from the latest ratings, they'll also be around for some time to come. He also said that next year, the panel should be at Ballroom 20.
The show will also have one other Whedon alumnus: Mark Sheppard will be on the show as a member of the organization that runs the warehouse. We'll also meet an adversary who thinks there shouldn't be a warehouse at all.
Warehouse 13 airs Tuesday nights on SyFy