Copyright 2010 by Gary L. Pullman
Occasionally, television transcends itself and offers a series that is worth watching, even in the conglomerate science fiction-fantasy-horror genre: Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville. Lately, the Syfy Channel has done it again, with not one, but two, series: Eureka and Warehouse 13.
Created by Andrew Cosby and Jamie Pagli, Eureka premiered on July 18, 2006, and focuses upon its setting, the small town of Eureka, Oregon. The town (like Mercury, Nevada) is owned and operated by the U. S. Government, as a combination home, laboratory, and think tank for its residents, most of whom are geniuses and scientists who work for Global Dynamics, a research facility that has invented, discovered, or engineered most of the cutting-edge technological marvels released and distributed to the public over the past half century.
The plotlines for the episodes are much the same: use or abuse of experimental research causes a catastrophe that is remedied by the town’s scientists and its sheriff, Jack Carter. The lawman stumbled upon Eureka as he was transporting his runaway daughter Zoe back home to her mother’s residence in Los Angeles and, when one of the town’s many mysterious accidents injured the sheriff, Carter was chosen as his replacement. The show is filmed mostly in Canada’s British Columbia, although its city hall is Ashland, Oregon’s, city hall and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the source of Global Dynamic’s exterior shots.
Warehouse 13 was created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran and executive Battlestar Galactica co-producer Jane Espenson and D. Brent Mote. Two U. S. Secret Service agents, Myka Bering and Peter Lattimer, chase down supernatural artifacts, collect them, and deposit them in a secret government warehouse (the Warehouse 13 of the series’ title) for safekeeping. The agents are supervised by Arthur Nielsen, whose nemesis is James McPherson, a former Warehouse 13 agent who now seems to be freelancing. Twelve similar warehouses preceded Warehouse 13, each of which was located, in its day, in the world’s most powerful nation. Designed by Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and M. C. Escher, Warehouse 13 is located in South Dakota.
Among the artifacts that Bering and Lattimer have recovered are a stone that controls those whose blood touches it (“Aztec Bloodstone”), an electronic stun gun (“Tesla Gun”), a boomerang football (“Rugby Football”), a mask that allows its user to breathe underwater (“Underwater Breathing Mask”), a self-propelled vehicle (“Bio-Energy Vehicle”), an aircraft lost in the Bermuda Triangle (“Training Flight 22”), a billfold that can transport dead souls (“Harry Houdini’s Wallet”), a kettle that can grant some wishes but not others (“Wishing Kettle”), a clock-stopping calendar (“Mayan Calendar”), a song that creates a sense of euphoria (“Euphoria Record”), an Alice in Wonderland-style looking-glass (“Lewis Carroll's Mirror”), a camera that transforms its subject into a still, two-dimensional, black-and-white photograph (“Still Camera”), and a host of other objects. Although the artifacts are not all as imaginative or ingenious as one might wish, enough of them remain at large, one may presume, to fuel many future installments of the inventive series.
More information about both shows is available at Syfy’s official website.