Warehouse 13 (TV series review)

I love good TV series. That’s a fact. Unfortunately, with many of those I was too often late to the party, but thanks to boxsets and streaming services I can catch up with many of those. And when the season 13 of my favourite TV show Supernatural ended, naturally one needs to get his fix somewhere else for time being, right?

I was reading about Warehouse 13 a few times before, but it beats me why I haven’t given it a chance. Actually, I could even watch it when it was current on the TV! But I haven’t, however that’s mostly to the fact I have either worked nights or very early in the morning, and this won’t leave you exactly with much time to devote to your night TV watching.

Anyway, I have given it a try. And to be honest with you, I haven’t been really enamored with the pilot. True, Supernatural is hard to beat when it comes to this kind of series (although I am definitely open to the furious discussion about old X-Files versus Fringe versus whatever else we can bring to the table), so it’s kinda understandable.

But I didn’t want to go finish the final season of Grimm for obvious reasons (a.k.a. another botched job on nice TV series, Grimm screenwriters should be ashamed), so I went and gave Warehouse 13 one more chance. And this time it’s stuck with me (and also my better half). From about the first season’s second episode we’ve been firmly caught up in the cases and the relationships of the agents and other nice (and not so nice) folks. And yes, as with Supernatural, here it’s also mainly about the development of relationships between the characters themselves than artifacts they are after.

Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore), Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti)

The series centers on the group of Secret Service agents – first on the duo of Pete Lattimer (played by seasoned TV actor Eddie McClintock), Myka Bering (Joan Kelly), supervised by Warehouse supervisor Artie Nelsen (Saul Rubinek), and later, as we proceed with the story, young Claudia Donovan (Alison Scagliotti) and a former ATF agent Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore). All of them directed and followed – when necessary – by mysterious and seriously serious Warehouse caretaker Mr. Frederic (CCH Pounder) as they chase mysterious and usually dangerous artifacts with supernatural/mystic features and encounter various villains along the way.

CCH Pounder as Mrs. Frederic

It’s really interesting and nice how obviously a small budget (greenscreen effects are obvious) and – although pretending to work on the global scale – mainly sticking to USA ground, works. But it’s thanks to the good writing and also good dose of humour thrown in. However, even if the cases are quite a lot on the funny side (some artifacts were just hilarious) and the whole show being really a sci-fi/paranormal “lite”, some moments were on a very serious note and yes, even I have cried when one person has died. Seriously, I have. That’s how you develop the relationship between viewers and actors, folks!

It was nice addition to our weekend nights and today it has ended for me, as we have finished watching all 5 seasons of it. It was only shame it has ended quite abruptly (although I have to say they at least have some decency to make some closure).

In case you haven’t watched it yet – do it. If you even slightly like paranormal/sci-fi/weird series in the vein of aforementioned X-Files (very very thin connection, though), Supernatural, Grimm or Librarians, you will definitely like this one.

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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Zorro’s Fighting Legion (a cliffhanger serial review)

Many of my friends (or, shall I say, almost no one) don’t share my passion for older stuff. No, not the retromania, or some vintage nostalgia revival, far from it. I am talking about the love and passion for discovery of artefacts of era long gone.

Although in the Rubber Axe webzine we’re try to talk and review also new releases (along with interviewing artists from the modern era, which only makes sense), I always liken our effort to building a skyscraper. So, getting to the solid foundations first.

OK, there’s no doubt this stuff is not for everyone. Some movies are extremely outdated, some music sounds outwordly to the modern spectators and listeners, and obviously, not everyone is a culture enthusiast or movie critic. And I’d say most of the fanf of extreme genres stick to horror/gore genres, but hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

Really, nothing’s wrong with that. However, today we’re gonna talk about a curious and entertaining feature, almost a staple diet from the beginning of the sound era – cliffhanger serials.

Well, not about all of them, of course, there were too many to squeeze in one article, of course. But let’s start with a serial with the character even the modern viewer can readily recognize – Zorro.

Zorro, as you know it, is something of the legendary Robin Hood to the Mexicans, figthing for the people against bad landlords and Spanish government officials. From pulp stories, comics to the silver screen and video games, Zorro’s character is firmly established as a popular culture icon.

Don del Oro, the bad guy

So today, we’re gonna have a look at 1939 cliffhanger serial Zorro’s Fighting Legion. In 12, relatively short, chapters Zorro fights Don Del Oro, the person masquerading as Yaqui Indians’ deity. And what an interesting and entertaining serial it is!

It’s pretty straightforward and although nowadays many prefer difficult relationships and ambiguous characters, this plays according to standard rules. Good guys are good guys, villains are bad, no middle ground.

The setting is the birth of the Mexican Republic with Benito Juarez (who was an actual historical figure) discussing with the official of San Mendelito the need for their gold mine to deliver the gold for establishing a credit for the new republic with the foreign countries and to pay for the armaments. I guess I don’t need to add it doesn’t go as planned, as there is a competition on the horizon in the form of one Don Del Oro, somebody masquerading as Yaqui Indians’ god, pushing those to attack those transports in an effort to undermine the Republic and establish himself as an Emperor of Mexico. What a grand plan!

Luckily for the Mexico, don Francisco, the patriotic old guy, organizes the Fighting Legion to protect those gold transports, but alas, he gets killed. Who’s gonna lead the Legion? Glad you’ve asked, but you should have guessed. Yes, that man.

Don Diego de la Vega alias Zorro

Bring the good ol Z-man on the screen! Yes, here comes Diego de la Vega, the young, a naive and inept fellow on surface (yes, we know he’s just acting), taking don Francisco’s place in the town council – but those scheming officials working for Don Del Oro don’t know (we do!), that Diego is actually Zorro himself!

From this moment we encounter almost relentless action and entertainment. Fistfights, shootings, pursuits on horses, traps…episodes actually fly by! And, of course, by the end of the final chapter, we unmask the villain and the good guys won again. That’s the way we like it, yup, yup!

This was a Republic Pictures serial, directed by John English and William Witney (both of those gentlemen directed also Zorro Rides Again, a cliffhanger serial from 1937 and quite a few others). As for the actors, for younger generations (and I include myself here as well, for obvious reason) those are absolutely unknown names… can you ask any 20+ years old about Reed Hadley (in the main role of Diego de la Vega/Zorro)? Well, you can, but unless that person is old movies’ lover, all you would get will be a blank stare.

And the same would go for the rest of the actors, but because I am in a very good mood of discovering those cinema gems, you can bet your last piece of currency we’re not done yet and the Rubber Axe will bring the knowledge of those long forgotten actors and movies back where they belong.

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