Jane Espenson’s magic number is “13”


What do you get when you cross Moonlighting

… with The X-Files

… and toss in a Buffy alum?

The Sci Fi Channel hopes the answer is something you’re all revved up to watch. It’s called Warehouse 13, and it’s helmed by none other than my second favorite Buffy writer, Jane Espenson. (Joss Whedon is my favorite, of course.)

The show’s two-hour pilot is scheduled to shoot this fall, with a premiere likely sometime next summer. (If they’re going to shoot this fall, they’d best get cracking. We’re quickly fading into winter.) According to Sci Fi Channel’s programming exec Mark Stern, the show has women as its target audience. Apparently, Sci Fi wants to broaden its audience base by developing and marketing shows more likely to attract female viewers. I’m guessing that would be because they understand that we women control the purse strings, whether or not there happens to be a man in the house.

Warehouse 13 is described as a “comedic drama” in which two FBI agents are sent to oversee a top-secret warehouse in South Dakota. (Where else would you put a top-secret warehouse you don’t want anyone else to know about?) The warehouse in question is a storage depot for the odd and inexplicable. The items are collected by the government and hidden from the general public, which is typical government behavior. Take the things you don’t understand and lock them away, lest they scare the general populace.

The two FBI agents, one male and one female, are responsible for safeguarding this warehouse and the items it houses. Not only that, they are also responsible for tracking down the ones that get away and for locating new things to hide away from the rest of us. I wonder if one of them will attempt to explain everything with science while the other simply believes.

Seems the X-Files similarities are intentional. Sci Fi even describes the show as a mix of Moonlighting and The X-Files. So what does that mean for us? It means endless flirtation between the two leads that doesn’t really pay off in the end. Oh, and did I mention a love triangle that develops when the dead partner of one agent is brought back to life by one of the items locked away in that warehouse? Goody, I’m such a fan of love triangles. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll throw in an Agnes DiPesto type to amuse me.

At least Espenson knows how to write good banter — good, funny banter at that. She had a hand in writing some of the best Buffy episodes, including “Band Candy,” “Superstar” and “Conversations With Dead People.” She’s also no stranger to the Sci Fi Channel: She’s penned an episode of their new dramedy Eureka and has either written or produced several episodes of Battelstar Galactica, including the upcoming Razor.

Did I mention she also has a really cool blog for aspiring screenwriters? Now the question is, do I hope for some sort of lesbionic twist to the story, or do I simply revel in Espenson’s brilliance and call it a day?

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