Thursday, November 3, 2016

Television: #warehousewatch, October 2016

A screenshot of Ray Palmer, dressed as the Atom in futuristic red armour, standing in an abandoned warehouse. The caption reads, How many abandoned warehouses are there in this city? I'm genuinely curious.

The Ultimate Setting

The CW Network is big on tropes. The various writers’ rooms adore Secret Babies, DARK PASTS, Random Half-Siblings, elaborate faked deaths, and Crime Lord Mothers to a degree that loops past the absurd and right around to the sublime, in every sense of the word.

But even more than their signature DARK PAST-ed Secret Half-Siblings (who're liable to fake their own deaths with or without the assistance of their villainous mothers), the CW loves warehouses. Loves them. Which makes sense, really, because where else are you supposed to manage your criminal empire, hold your greatest enemy captive, or fight a ninja/assassin? And what's the point of a show in which none of those scenarios every crops up?

I’ve long wondered whether warehouses are as integral to the CW's brand as they seem at a casual glance, so throughout the 2016/2017 season I'll be conducting my most important piece of CW scholarship to date: a comprehensive list of every warehouse appearance on every CW show I watch1.

This began as an impromptu Twitter project and will continue there as #warehousewatch, with monthly blog updates as per Amber's suggestion.

What Counts As A Warehouse?

For our purposes, a warehouse is any large space with a concrete or packed dirt floor, suitable for storage and/or industry. High ceilings and metal shelves are common, but not an absolute requirement.

I strongly suspect many of the CW’s “warehouses” are actually parking garages the set designers have dressed up to look like warehouses. Others may be after-hours factories. I'll be counting them same as the rest.

A Comprehensive List of Warehouse Appearances: October 2016

The reason I called you here today. Let's break this down, by show and by episode.

THE FLASH, Season 3

  • Episode 1:
    • Barry holds Reverse Flash captive in an abandoned warehouse/factory. We get our first glimpse of this structure within the first three minutes of the premiere, which is significant because this show also kicks off the network’s entire season. Way to stay on brand, CW.
  • Episode 2:
    • For a terrible moment, I thought Flashpoint might have erased the abandoned warehouse thing. GASP! Luckily, the Rival eventually wanders into a creepy temple in a warehouse basement (which might actually be a sewer).
  • Episode 3:
    • There’s that creepy temple again.
  • Episode 4:
    • We open with Mirror Master and Top hanging out in their abandoned warehouse lair.
    • Mirror Master goes to a bar in an old warehouse.
    • In the final showdown, everyone converges on an abandoned amusement park in--you guessed it--a warehouse.


  • Episode 1:
    • SUPERGIRL eases into its CW career with a simple drone test in an abandoned warehouse.
    • At the very end of the episode, we encounter a creepy (and unsanitary-looking) hospital setup in the basement of a different abandoned warehouse.
  • Episode 2:
    • There’s that creepy warehouse hospital again.
    • Alex confronts a DOA mole in what I assume is the upstairs part of this same warehouse.
  • Episode 3:
    • Winn directs the DOA to a potential alien hideout in an abandoned warehouse; a significant detail because he specifies it’s an abandoned warehouse, and I love it when people mention the warehouse thing.
    • Alex and Maggie go to an alien bar in an old warehouse.
    • Kara, Alex, and Maggie face off against Scorcher in a foundry (ie, a warehouse with random fires in it).
  • Episode 4:
    • Alex and Maggie discover an alien fight ring that operates out of an abandoned warehouse.
    • J’onn visits the alien warehouse bar from the last episode.
    • The alien fight ring relocates to another abandoned warehouse.


  • Episode 1:
    • Evie works in a warehouse! An occupied one! With WAREHOUSE on it, in enormous letters! Now we can all learn what goes on in these places when the ninjas and the vampires and the alien fight clubs aren’t using them.
  • Episode 2:
    • There’s that warehouse again. I’ve gotta say, I never expected warehouses to have cubicles.
  • Episode 3:
    • I feel like they did this really deliberately. Like, they were brainstorming career ideas for Evie when someone said, “EXCUSE ME, are we not the CW? Do we not have a TOTAL THING for warehouses?” And then, of course, it was obvious.
  • Episode 4:
    • I repeat: it says WAREHOUSE on it in big letters. Big. Letters.


  • Episode 1:
    • A bunch of gangsters work out of one warehouse.
    • A bunch of cops work out of another.
    • The big showdown takes place outdoors within a warehouse complex.
  • Episode 2:
    • There’s that gangster warehouse again.
  • Episode 3:
    • No warehouses. :(
  • Episode 4:
    • Raimy and her team search an abandoned warehouse where a woman was held captive.

ARROW, Season 5

  • Episode 1:
    • We open, quite naturally, with Oliver fighting a ninja in an abandoned warehouse filled with bombs.
    • In the first flashback, Oliver competes in a fight ring in a Russian warehouse.
    • Back in the present, some Star City criminals count their money in a warehouse.
    • In the next flashback, Russian criminals hold Oliver captive in a warehouse.
    • In the present, American criminals hold Oliver captive in a warehouse. This is getting to be a thing with him.
    • Back in the past, we learn Anatoly has a warehouse base (seen only from the outside at this time).
  • Episode 2:
    • Oliver trains his new recruits in the old Hive base, which I’m gonna assume is a warehouse even though I can’t entirely remember. Because seriously, where else do villains hide out when they come to Star City?
    • Oliver’s flashback Bratva training happens in one those warehouses I suspect is a parking garage in real life.
    • Star City’s free clinic happens in a glass-walled industrial space that screams “warehouse for rich people.”
    • A weapons deal goes down in another warehouse/parking garage.
  • Episode 3:
    • Oliver meets Detective Malone in a “shipping centre,” which we all know is a fancy term for warehouse.
    • We see inside the Bratva warehouse lair, which has kind of a subway vibe to it on account of a couple of tiled walls.
    • Wild Dog and Artemis descend on a warehouse converted into a drug lab.
    • The warehouse training ground makes another appearance.
    • Maybe there’s another bar in a warehouse? It’s a bit tough to tell, but this is ARROW so it seems like a safe assumption.
    • There’s another Bratva warehouse lair. Because of course there is.
  • Episode 4:
    • The team takes down a criminal as he exits a warehouse.
    • Lila pulls up outside an army “shipping centre” (see above).
    • Ragman welds in a warehouse.
    • The ACU’s interrogation room looks an awful lot like a converted warehouse, but the scenes set in the rest of the complex render a definitive ID difficult. I'm gonna count it anyways, given this show's clear obsession with warehouses.
    • There’s that Hive warehouse again!
    • And oh, look, Tobias Church has a warehouse torture chamber. How unexpected.


  • Episode 1:
    • No warehouses :(
  • Episode 2:
    • No warehouses :(
  • Episode 3:
    • Still no warehouses. :( Maybe they assume we'll count Rogelio's sound stage as a warehouse?


  • Episode 1:
    • Sara and Ray spy on some villains doing in a deal in an abandoned warehouse.
  • Episode 2:
    • The Nazis hold Ray and Amaya captive in a warehouse lab/lair (which might actually be a bunker).


  • Episode 1:
    • Damon and Enzo operate out of a warehouse/abattoir.
  • Episode 2:
    • No warehouses :( This season hasn’t utilized any white pillar candles, either; a disappointment, since I more than halfway expected this final season to go Peak CW by opening with an abandoned warehouse fucking filled with white pillar candles. I can only assume they’re saving that visual for the moment when Bonnie gets her magic back.


I watched 27 episodes of 8 different CW shows in October. 22 of those 27 episodes featured at least one warehouse.

I knew there were gonna be a lot, but that's still a much higher percentage than I expected.

To no one's surprise, ARROW retains its status as King of the Warehouses with an average of 5.5 distinct warehouses per episode. JANE THE VIRGIN lags far behind everyone else with 0 warehouses in its first 3 episodes; a slight surprise, given that it's the most CWish of CW shows in every other respect. I trust it'll make up for lost time once Michael returns to work and proceeds to track criminals to their favouritest of favourite hideouts.

Recent CW transplant SUPERGIRL did a respectable job of integrating warehouses into its first four episodes, with bonus points for Winn uttering the words "abandoned warehouse" during Episode 3. New recruit FREQUENCY seems keen to ease itself into the warehouse game, while NO TOMORROW has gone all out by setting a large portion of each episode at the heroine's warehouse workplace.

Join me in early December to see if the network sustains this level of saturation throughout November. And remember, #warehousewatch is always open on Twitter.

  1. I no longer watch SUPERNATURAL--the original abandoned warehouse show--and I haven’t yet had a chance to see CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND. I won’t be watching REIGN upon its return in early 2017, either, since I fell really behind on it near the end of S2 and Netflix Canada doesn’t license it, making it tough for me to catch up.

    I may ditch ARROW and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW after the big superheroic crossover event, too. In the former case, I’m mostly in it for Felicity and I’ve gotta weigh my love for her against my interest in everything else that's happening this season. (I'm not disinterested, just strapped for time with my current TV schedule.) In the latter, the show is right on the edge of what I consider Too Silly, and I’ve got a ridiculously high tolerance for silly (as evidenced by the fact that the CW is my favourite network). So that’s saying something.


  1. I need to watch most of these shows. lol Lorrie does, but I am never going to be 'in' when it comes to television. lol

    1. Until I got into the CW, I was always ten years behind on pop culture.

  2. You are doing important journalism, madam. Currently I am watching 0 CW shows (I know this is shocking yet here we are), as my two current shows for the time being are Timeless and The Good Place. There are some warehouses in Timeless, though! And I'm hoping there will be more as the show goes on. I can never decide if the main Science headquarters for the Time Travel Scientists counts as a warehouse, because they haven't shown its exterior in a while, if ever. Stand by for updates.

    1. Thank you, thank you. I strive to keep the world informed re: the CW.

      GASP. I hope you'll have a chance to catch up on TVD someday, at the very least. The last couple of seasons have been rife with evil twins and white pillar candles, with a smattering of warehouses, a token Secret Baby, and a mother who faked her own death so she could take charge of a group of witchpires (ie, become a Crime Lord Lite).