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TV Review: You Could Do Worse Than Warehouse 13

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131The SyFy channel completed its name change this week and yet, even though they seem to have gone “Poochie” with their network’s branding, they haven’t abandoned geek programming entirely. Along with the name change came the premiere of their latest original series Warehouse 13. They’re looking for another genre programming hit here, with Stargate aging and undergoing changes and Battlestar Galactica drifting off the air. This is just the first in a long series of new ideas on the channel, and surprisingly it’s unlikely to be the worst.

Warehouse 13 feels a lot like Eureka, one of SyFy’s few successful returning series. It has that same sense of restrained whimsy, it has a sense of humor, it seems to know what it is and goes about doing it anyway. That Eureka feel is melded with something akin to the X-Files as two Secret Service agents are put to work investigating the weird and possibly dangerous of the world. The twist here is that they’re more artifact hunters than alien finders.

In the two-hour season premiere, Agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering are ordered to a remote location in the desert where, they find a massive and mysterious warehouse. It’s manned by Artie, a man with nearly as many secrets as the treasure trove he protects. Inside Artie’s warehouse are the secrets of America, miles and miles of boxes and shelves stocked with things beyond man’s comprehension. They’re stored here, until we finally get around to comprehending them.

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TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel’s Star Runners

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starrunnersTime is running out for the Sci-Fi Channel which, in a matter of weeks changes its name to SyFy so they can, presumably, run less science fiction and sell out to the infinitely more profitable world of ultimate fighting. Maybe it’s for the best. Sci-Fi has never been as sci-fi focused as its name suggests and when they try, it always turns into a bad horror movie. Case in point: Their latest made for TV movie Star Runners.

It starts out in the right direction, with old school pulp lettering in the credits and an outer space chase sequence. That seems sci-fi enough, doesn’t it? Former Trek helmsman Connor Trinneer stars as Tycho and Heroes best-buddy James Kyson Lee is Lei Chen, a pair of transport pilots or “star runners” with an illegal shipment to slip past the feds. It seems at first that they’re going for a Han Solo/Chewbacca dynamic here between the two of them, smugglers shaking patrols cracking wise at one another. It never quite works, mostly because Trinneer and Lee play their characters as if they’ve just taken a heavy dose of sleeping pills, but at least the script seems to be trying, even if it’s not succeeding.

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SyFy Channel President Attempts To Excuse Name Change

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syfySyFy Channel president David Howe talked to the folks over at our sister site Cinema Blend today about their newly announced name change. Dead and gone is the Sci Fi Channel, replaced by the more idiot friendly SyFy.

Howe right off the bat, compares the naming of his TV channel to choosing a name for drugs. No really. He says:

If you look at brands that launch now, on the whole, new brands have to have a name which is completely made up so it will be a word that you’ve never seen before. You see this particularly with drugs. You look a name like Celebrex, Viagra or Cialis. Any of these drugs. You have to invent a word that doesn’t exist.