If winter felt a little colder than it actually was, that’s because we didn’t have new episodes of “Warehouse 13″ on Syfy.
Well, tonight we do, along with the season premiere of “Alphas,” another good show. (“Lost Girl,” yet another fun Syfy show — they’re on a roll, has moved to Fridays.) Here’s a look:
“Warehouse 13″ (9 p.m.): “Warehouse 13″ is Syfy’s most popular show, and it’s easy to see why. Despite my reservations at the dark turns of last season, the brightness comes back as Pete (Eddie McClintock), Myka (Joanne Kelly), Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Artie (Saul Rubinek) work frantically to repair the damage from a bomb that destroyed the Warehouse in the season finale.
Syfy also gave the show a vote of confidence this season with an order for 20 episodes. Of course, that means it’s subject to Syfy’s infuriating habit of splitting shows into two mini seasons several months apart. According to Syfy, the current plan is for the second 10 episodes to air in April.
As for the premiere itself, it feels a bit rushed and a tad too convenient, but it gets the job done. I think a two-parter would have served the story better. It opens right where things left off with Pete, Myka and Artie at the Warehouse trying to figure out what, if anything, the mysterious stopwatch Artie holds can do to fix things.
It turns out, the watch may be able to reset time, so it’s off to an obscure Knights Templar sect in France to find an artifact to work in conjunction with the watch. In France, Brent Spiner (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) shows up as a Templar member and gives Artie a dire warning about the artifact.
But, best of all, I was glad to see things lighten up a bit. The banter is back in full force, and I especially like the growing relationship between Claudia and Artie. Their “Pooh bear” bit is priceless. But Claudia is also showing a dark side as she mourns the loss of Steve Jinks (one of three to die in the finale last year) and makes plans to try and bring him back.
Do they restore the Warehouse and bring back their friends from the dead? You’ll just have to watch and see. I won’t spoil it for you. (But the show is still called “Warehouse 13″ and not “Warehouse 14.”)
Spiner has signed on for six episodes, so with one threat defused and another not immediately apparent, the Templar angle should make an interesting thread. There’s also the possibly forgotten plotline featuring artifacts going randomly wonky.
The show continues to work because of the team’s chemistry. It’s good to see that back on firm footing.
“Alphas” (10 p.m.): Detroit News critic Tom Long did a good job Friday of setting up the new season, which picks up eight months after the events of the finale, when Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) revealed the existence of Alphas to the world.
I recently caught up with the last several episodes of last season, which had been sitting on my Tivo, and was impressed with how strong and interesting the show got as it wrapped up.
Yes, it’s beholden to the X-Men. Tom’s review even mentions that creator Zak Penn co-wrote two X-Men movies. And the end of the season premiere has a very Brotherhood of Mutants vibe with Stanton Parrish filling in for Magneto and a group of Alphas walking ominously toward the camera.
But that’s OK. People keep reading the X-Men comics and seeing the movies because they tap into that feeling people have of being different.
It’s a successful formula. The key is keeping things interesting and finding new ways to tell the story. That can be through specific events or mixes of characters. “Alphas” has a strong team at its core, creatively and on screen.
If they can keep up the strong storytelling and keep the characters compelling, it’s worth watching. The premiere implies that shouldn’t be a problem.