SyFy’s Warehouse 13 may not be strictly science fiction per se, but it is one of the nerdiest shows on television. It’s done time-travel, regularly resurrects and references great scientific, literary, and film stars, and brought us a badass female H.G. Wells. It’s the only show (other than Futurama) to reference one of the pioneers of television technology and Nikola Tesla every week. Warehouse 13‘s heroes are even a bookworm and a comic book fan who grew up to be Secret Service agents.
In August, SyFy announced that it was renewing Warehouse 13 for a fourth season at the same 13-episode size the show has maintained since its premiere. Last week, the network demonstrated increased confidence in the show by ordering an additional 7 episodes for next season. That brings the total order up to 20 episodes, which is more in line with shows like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, and Stargate Atlantis than what SyFy has been ordering from its original programming lately.
The move makes sense for SyFy on both ratings and image levels. Warehouse 13 was the network’s highest rated premiere of a scripted show in years when it started in 2009, and still averaged 2 million viewers (Live+Same Day) in the third season. It’s a show that can pull in the nerd contingent with its subject matter and references, but manages to stay fairly family-friendly and not alienate viewers who have no idea why the communicators are called “Farnsworths”. With the weird stunts SyFy has pulled regarding Eureka (splitting seasons over two separate summers, shortening episode orders, and, finally, canceling it) and the ever-increasing frustration of the nerd fanbase with the onslaught of “reality” programming on the channel, SyFy could also do with some good will amongst its nerdier viewers. Maybe the increased episode order will help a bit.