The Sci Fi Channel may have changed its name to Sy Fy, but it hasn't really changed its brand that much.
Sy Fy's original offerings tend to be either really, really great ("Battlestar Galactica," "Farscape") or extremely mediocre ("Eureka"). It hasn't helped the network that apparently it's not picking up the most recent seasons of the BBC's "Doctor Who" or "Sarah Jane Adventures" either, one of the best reasons to watch the network.
Nor does it help that most of the best, original science fiction concepts ("Fringe," "Dollhouse") are going to other networks.
Tonight, Sy Fy debuts "Warehouse 13" at 9 p.m. It's hard to judge an entire series based on a pilot, because the pilot (especially this one) spends a lot of time setting up the entire concept for the show.
"Warehouse 13" centers on two Secret Service agents (Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly) who are recruited by a mysterious government operative (CCH Pounder) and sent to a bunker in the middle of nowhere called Warehouse 13. It's the home of a variety of oddities, magic talismens, weird inventions and so forth, run by Saul Rubinek. The agents are dispatched to a small college town when weird things start happening.
"Warehouse 13" tries to come off as a lighthearted "X-Files," with the Mulder/Scully stand-ins working for a kooky curator to investigate all sorts of weirdness. McClintock and Kelly don't have nearly the same chemistry that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson had, but perhaps it's too much to judge them on one episode.
"Warehouse 13" is from the same people who created "Eureka," a show I gave up watching after the first season, but is perhaps more reminiscent of TNT's "Librarian" TV movies, which starred Noah Wyle and Bob Newhart in a similar scenario.
"Warehouse 13" is worth a look and should get better once it gets some momentum in the storytelling, but so far it doesn't seem to fit with Sy Fy's better offerings.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: My favorite reality show has always been "The Amazing Race." However, the one installment of that series I truly hated was the season where they switched the teams from two-person teams to families. Naturally, that's the season NBC decided to rip off with "Great American Road Trip" (NBC, 8 p.m.), which sends a group of sure-to-be quirky families across America in RVs in a race. It's followed by a new "America's Got Talent."
Cable has some better offerings, including "Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.), in which Franco's new girlfriend is more macho than he is.
"The Apprentice UK" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) is down to its final four (please don't let Saira advance), while "The Cleaner" (A&E, 10 p.m.) is also new.
Finally, the History Channel is airing a new series about new inventions of stuff that seemingly only exists in science fiction work, called "That's Impossible" at 10 p.m. Tonight's episode is on invisibility cloaks.
I'll have Part 2 of my Emmy suggestions tomorrow.