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Archive for Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SyFy’s ‘Warehouse’ feels quirky but cluttered

July 6, 2010

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Now entering its second season, the gadgety fantasy “Warehouse 13” (8 p.m., SyFy) stars Eddie McClintock as Pete, a Secret Service agent reassigned to the super-secret repository of all things strange and legendary. Along with his fetching partner Myka (Joanne Kelly) he works for the Warehouse’s gnomish caretaker, Artie (Saul Rubinek), to ensure that the mysteries and artifacts don’t fall into the wrong hands.

There’s a lot to love about “Warehouse,” starting with its remarkable “Steampunk” technology, an array of modern devices cobbled together from more venerable ingredients. Artie communicates not with a PDA but with a picture phone that appears to be from the dawn of the TV age.

While Artie’s toys are striking and original, Eddie’s character is seriously recycled. He reacts to danger — and to the proximity of dangerous beauty — with spasms of pop-culture references and adolescent quips. This quirk leaves him virtually indistinguishable from the male leads on virtually every show on the USA network.

The action on “Warehouse” careens from one preposterous scenario to another. People change identities, shapeshift, rise from the dead, run through walls and defy gravity at a dizzying clip. Credible sci-fi (or SyFy) fantasies rely on a sense that the audience knows or cares about the rules of the game. But the folks on “Warehouse” just seem to be making it up as they go along.

Not that anybody’s listening to me. The first season of “Warehouse” was a smash for the network last summer. This season, “Warehouse” will feature several crossover episodes with “Eureka” and guest stints from Lindsay Wagner and Tia Carrere.

• “Promised Land” on “P.O.V.” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) looks at South Africa, where nearly a decade after the end of Apartheid, the white minority continues to own more than 87 percent of the land. Black citizens contend that generations of racist policies stole their property and that equality is impossible without a more equitable distribution of real estate. On the other hand, we meet an Afrikaner who fears he may lose his homestead, a plot settled by his family in 1830. What are the statutes of limitation on justice and reparation? “Promised Land” shows us there are no easy answers.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Ramsay subjects contestants to two hours of blind taste tests on “Hell’s Kitchen” (8 p.m., Fox).

• A sailor’s murder appears to be linked to a posh socialite on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).

• A spot in the top 48 beckons on a two-hour helping of “America’s Got Talent” (8 p.m., NBC).

• As his sons bicker, Phil’s health takes a bad turn on “Deadliest Catch” (8 p.m., Discovery).

• Tommy tries to understand his nightmare on “Rescue Me” (9 p.m., FX).

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