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SciFriday: The Trial Of ‘Warehouse 13’

One Syfy show’s life is far different from another one

Before you read too far into this and start thinking, “Hey, does that Michael Hinman guy even like ‘Defiance?'” let me answer the question for you.

Yes, I like “Defiance.” A lot. It’s on my must-see television list (which is not a very big list because I lead a very busy life), with an amazing concept and some pretty powerful characters.

But also on my must-see list is “Warehouse 13.” This is a series I originally gave up for dead after the start of the first season, but with the urging of Eddie McClintock the first time I ever met him at a red carpet event, I gave it another shot. And now I wouldn’t miss “Warehouse 13” for the world.

However, I worry that we may have to give up on the show, and sooner than we think. Syfy renewed “Defiance” for a second season on Friday, but stayed quiet on “Warehouse 13.” Part of me is hoping that they just didn’t want to clutter up a renewal announcement by talking about two shows that, outside of the day of the week they air and what channel they are on, don’t have too much in common.

At the same time, I see the viewership numbers, and I’m worried that Syfy will get cold feet and move on. It’s actually quite normal for Syfy to do that, usually jumping ship on a show the moment that ratings start to wane (instead of actually trying to pump it back to life in some shape or form).

The numbers for “Warehouse 13” really aren’t terrible. In fact, they might be in-line with what the show was doing in Season 3 when Syfy not only renewed it, but expanded the season.

It seems that “Warehouse 13” was always second fiddle for the cable channel. To begin with, the show launched in 2009 not only in the shadow of “Eureka” — then the cable channel’s highest-rated scripted series — but also the renaming of the cable channel itself. “Warehouse 13” would be the first show to launch under the “Syfy” brand that NBC Universal bought from this very website.

Unlike what fans at San Diego Comic-Con saw last July for “Defiance,” there were no skyscraper-sized billboards for “Warehouse 13.” No cafe takeovers that focused fully on the show. No major marketing push (at least not to the levels we’ve seen it for “Defiance”) or many of those things we would expect to see behind a good show that is popular with the fans.

In fact, the Syfy Digital Press Tour — which has been around since 2008 and visited places like Vancouver, Colorado and Florida — didn’t even stop in “Warehouse 13’s” production home of Toronto until this past year.

Now don’t get me wrong — Syfy does work hard to promote its shows, and “Warehouse 13” has received promotion. But the level of promotion is far different from where we’ve seen it for other shows.

And I am leading the chorus of people who think the move for “Warehouse 13” to 10 p.m. is a bad move. Syfy is run by human beings, and they are allowed to make mistakes. And either I will be saying, “Oh, maybe it’s not so bad” if Syfy does announce a renewal in the next week or two, or I’ll be pointing a big finger at the move if Syfy does the unthinkable.

Sure, it would be nice if “Warehouse 13” could get the huge banners, the cross-platform television ads across the NBC Universal family, and maybe at least a hot dog stand themed for the show at Comic-Con. But the bigger thing is that while Syfy ponders its decision on the fate of “Warehouse 13,” it thinks about the fact that the behind-the-scenes of “Warehouse 13” and “Defiance” is a tale of two cities. And it would be unfair to compare what’s happening with “Warehouse 13’s” audience with what’s happening with “Defiance’s” audience.

Renew “Warehouse 13.” Do it not just because it makes good business sense, but because it’s a perfect opportunity to build even more respect with the overall Syfy fan base. We like the adventures of Pete, Myka, Artie, Claudia and Jinks, and we’re not yet ready to let go and have China get “Warehouse 14.”

P.S. Can we please go back to the full opening credits so that we can enjoy the Emmy-nominated theme from Edward Rogers? Thanks!

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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