Undercover and warehouse agents

Hi there, new blog, where I’ll splooge thoughts about TV and stuff. Because I like TV and like to talk about characters.

The new fall season will be starting up soon and my DVR may short out under the strain, but for now, here are two shows I’ve gotten into this summer, and well, they ate my brain. They’re very different in style and levels of realism but share a few things in common: law enforcement (of one kind or another), the importance of found family, and the ability to make me tear up on a regular basis.

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First up, is Graceland, airing on USA, the “blue skies network.” It’s the brainchild of Jeff Eastin, the same guy who brought us White Collar (which I also love). A bunch of undercover federal agents share a beach house together, a haven to return to at the end of a day pretending to be who they aren’t and having to lie, and lie, and lie (even to those they’re close to). There’s no new episode this week (and I need to know what happens, auuuggghhhh) so here’s my Graceland post of appreciation instead.

More people need to watch this show. No, really, if this doesn’t get picked up for a second season I’ll be crushed. I can’t tell you too much without giving too much away, but the dynamics of the house “family” of agents, the various friendships, the look into how draining it is being under cover, trying to retain a sense of true self, all while having to pretend to go along with some horrible things in order to catch criminals, is compelling. The lines are blurred between right and wrong, some characters are more clearly in the light and some wading into some regrettable things. The criminals are also not one-note. It has a few points in common with White Collar, but otherwise is a big departure in style and content. I’m trying to think of other shows doing what this show does and can’t think of many.

There are funny, warm moments to balance out how much it hurts, an excellent, diverse cast, and an unpredictable story.

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Warehouse 13 is a show I’d checked out years ago when it first started, enjoyed the first season, but for various reasons, didn’t keep on with it. I meant to, but never got around to it. After people kept personally reccing it to me, it wound up on Netflix streaming and so I started mainlining it and became completely hooked.

For those not familiar with it yet, the premise is that there is a secret government storage warehouse full of “artifacts” that have different powers. Lewis Carroll’s mirror, Sylvia Plath’s typewriter, a comb that belonged to Lucrezia Borgia — the artifacts are dangerous and need to be located, bagged, tagged, and contained. The Warehouse agents look after the artifacts and keep the world safe from them. There’s an intriguing clockwork of mythology behind the warehouse that slowly gets revealed, along with the surprising layers to the characters, who are all compelling, the relationships thoughtfully unfold, it’s often goofy (in a good way), a little uneven, but also very good. It’s insane amounts of fun, all the better to lure you in and get you comfortable, bringing you a plate of cookies before it suddenly rips out your heart. This show knows where its audience lives, it’s smart and funny, full of historical as well as geeky references, and the writers handle the ensemble in a satisfying way.

I was warned going in, and am still surprised how often this show has made me cry so far (I’m almost done with season 3).

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