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Regan Lee is also a columnist for UFO Magazine. Check it out !


Keeper of the Secrets: Warehouse 13 and Eureka

Warehouse 13 airs on the SyFy channel (don't get me started on the branding and reinvention efforts of the Sci Fi channel to the SyFy channel) and it's a show I enjoy. Fun, mystery, conspiracies, esoteric history, paranormal topics and really retro-cool gadgets like the black and white tv/radio “Farnsworth” -- a sort of pre-cell phone thingie -- the show touches on all of those and more. It's a lot of fun.

Also on SyFy is another show I enjoy a lot: Eureka. Eureka doesn't involve the paranormal or UFOs, although it has that feel, it's not Fringeor the X-Files. It's more lighthearted than those shows, and the focus is on the science fiction aspects of inventions.

Both shows: Warehouse 13, and Eureka, do share something in common, and that is the idea of government as keeper and controller of the secrets. The government gets to keep the esoteric booty, not us proletariats.

Warehouse 13 ‘s premise is this: government agents, formerly assigned to the Secret Service are whisked away to work in the badlands of South Dakota in “Warehouse 13.” Warehouse 13 is a huge warehouse full of artifacts going back centuries, and its existence is unknown to most of the rest of the government. The warehouse is run by “Artie” and an assistant. The mysterious Mrs. Frederick shows up now and then; she's the powerful boss lady of this shadowy program. Agents are given a new task each week, which is to track down some artifact somewhere in the world, being used inappropriately by greedy humans, neutralize it and bring it to Warehouse 13 where it is cataloged and locked up.

Eureka is set in a small pleasant and pretty town in the Pacific Northwest full of uber-geniuses. The town is run (owned?) by the government, home of Global Dynamics. The sheriff (not an uber-genius, but a very sensible and intelligent character nonetheless, which gives the show a nice balance) deals with scientists and experiments gone awry every week.

He's expected to deal with these exotic hassles yet is often kept in the dark because government/globalist/military infrastructure trumps small town sheriff. Experiments, data, machines, and all kinds of scientific toys are, ultimately, property of Global Dynamics. GD is a government agency; occasionally a character in a military uniform comes through to give some sort of ultimatum. At any given moment, the sheriff and the residents of Eureka, including the scientists of course, are admonished that their research, their awareness of projects, and their machines are “classified” and belong to the government.

Underscoring the idea of average worker bee citizen not worthy, capable or trustworthy enough to handle such ideas or objects, the sheriff in Eureka is constantly being told to handle fantastic events caused by government run research projects while at the same time, hindered in doing an effective job because he is not given all the information he needs -- it's classified.

Both programs are entertaining, with many comedic moments. Like I said, I enjoy them both very much. But the similar messages within both shows are curious. Aside from the human characters: the sheriff and scientists in Eureka -- the government agents and peripheral citizens privy to the purpose of Warehouse 13 - - there is the non-human character of the government. The government as entity is at the top, in control, the one that makes the rules and ultimate decisions. One of those decisions is who gets to know about the secret experiments (Eureka) or artifacts (Warehouse 13) and those people are the few.

Additionally, those few are threatened with treason or some other heavy handed tactic by the government if they reveal their discoveries, or, get too close to the discoveries of others. (For example, there are many levels within Global Dynamics. The lower -- the deeper-- one goes, the more restricted the access and the fewer that know about what's in those deeper levels.) And in Warehouse 13, not only is the general population considered to be unworthy of owning such intriguing artifacts, but so is most of the government. Most humans are incapable of understanding such items, or using them correctly. Even when their intentions are good, they're just too inept, and the object must be confiscated and filed away inside the seemingly never ending, dim corridors of Warehouse 13.

The government is the keeper of knowledge; the controller of artifacts. Like the high priests of antiquity, who kept knowledge from the masses, these shows are a contemporary expression of that same idea.

Fringe, another favorite show of mine, is a darker and more “serious” show than Warehouse 13 or Eureka, but there is, like the now classic X-Files, a government within a government working with secrets. The difference here is that, while others within their own government can't be trusted, the fantastic experiences of the average citizen are taken seriously by the shadow/secret government agents. Sometimes the citizens are good, sometimes they have evil intent. One of the differences between Fringe and The X-Files is that often the government that orbits around the inner shadow government are the bad guys.

And finally, I can't help but wonder at the similarity of names for government connected scientific infrastructures: in Eureka, the highly classified scientific research entity is named Global Dynamics, and in Fringe, the often sinister scientific government connected corporation is named Massive Dynamic. Both names suggest far reaching and huge entities (“global,” “massive”) that are energetic, vital, well, dynamic. These are the gigantic organizations that reach to all corners of the world full of such vitality no average person can hope to successfully battle. Combined with the ability to withhold esoteric information, these massive, global dynamic infrastructures ensure that the fight is lost before it's begun.

Of course, it's just TV.