Technically this is the second time I've started watching W13, as it can be neatly shortened too. The first time I watched it, which was ages ago, I got a little bored of 'find an artifacts a week' thing, which sounds silly now, as my brother pointed out - that's the point of the show! Anyway, I don't know quite what I was thinking the first time, but on this second viewing I really got into it.
The show follows two American Secret Service agents, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), who are transferred to the mysterious Warehouse 13 - a huge warehouse full of artifacts with strange proprieties. These artifacts can not only do amazing things but can be highly dangerous, and it becomes Pete and Myka's job to locate artifacts then snag'em, tag'em and bag'em - as their new boss Artie (Saul Rubinek) explains.
What I like about this set-up is that opens up a multitude of creative possibilities, as artifacts can be anything, and doing anything. They often link artifacts to famous figures in history too, which is fun, such as Poe's pen or Harriet Tubman's thimble. Whilst the gadgets they use themselves range from the supertech of the video labels in the warehouse, to the more steampunk style video communicator's, the Farnsworths, they use on missions.
The show also mixes in a good dose of slight absurdity and humour, which makes sense when its set in such an odd place, and the dialogue between characters - and especially from whizz-kid Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) - has a slightly silly, quick-fire sense to it from time to time - like an odd-ball film.
However, the show can also be serious, and alot of that comes from the character's pasts, especially Artie's - and I wasn't sure if the serious straight stuff gelled with the more goofy, fast-talking side of the show at first. Now, I've seen the whole season, I think it pulls off alright. The weighty important bits are generally allowed room to breathe before they start being funny again, and of course the humour is used to lighten the mood during a more serious situation. So, all in all it works, and it is nice to have a scif-fi show that can be dramatic but also not take itself so seriously all the time.
I enjoy all the characters on the show, especially Claudia and Pete, who are both funny and smart. I was a little put out by Artie, with his cuddly, professor appearance it took me a while to get my head around the fact the character was also secretive, cranky and bossy. This is not a bad thing though, as of course it gives his character not only more depth, but it also gives the first season most of its over-arcing plot and villain, as someone from Artie's past returns.
In summary: A fun, bizarre sci-fi show that's very creative. The characters are all likable and well developed, and the setting is great. The first season gets a little slow in the middle, but does kick off once it gets going with its over-arcing storyline, and after that the stakes are raised and the twists just keep coming. Definitely recommended for sci-fi fans.