Channel Surfing: Eureka

by Jen on August 16, 2006

-Directed by: Michael Lange, Jefery Levy

Starring:
-Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jordan Hinson, Joe Morton

For a lot of the summer, the nice people at the Sci-Fi Channel had been in what could politely be described as advertising overkill for their show Eureka. Almost every time I turned around I was seeing yet another commercial. What stuck in my mind though was that as far as commercials went, these were pretty slick. So, on premiere night I tuned in like a good little media junkie and got something of a mixed blessing. Why am I bringing this to you now then? Well some things improve with time. This is one of them.

Taken from the “confidential” town history from SciFi.com.

As World War II came to a close with mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the impact that science and technology would have on the continued security of our world became catastrophically apparent. America nearly lost the race to build the atomic bomb; it could not risk such a close call again.

With the help of Albert Einstein and other trusted advisors, President Harry S. Truman commissioned a top-secret residential development in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest, one that would serve to protect and nurture America’s most valuable intellectual resources. There our nation’s greatest thinkers, the über-geniuses working on the next era of scientific achievement, would be able to live and work in a supportive environment. The best architects and planners were commissioned to design a welcoming place for these superlative geniuses to reside, an area that would offer the best education for their children, the best healthcare, the best amenities and quality of life. A community was created to rival the most idyllic of America’s small towns — with one major difference: this town would never appear on any maps. At least, none that haven’t been classified “eyes only” by the Pentagon.

Thus, the town of Eureka was born. But for all its familiar, small-town trappings, things in this secret hamlet are anything but ordinary. The stereotype of the absent-minded professor exists for a reason, and most of the quantum leaps in science and technology during the past 50 years were produced by Eureka’s elite researchers. Unfortunately, scientific exploration is rarely what one expects, and years of experiments gone awry have yielded some peculiar by-products.

From unrequited love to professional jealousy, from addiction to depression, the problems of Eureka’s townsfolk stem from life’s myriad of everyday challenges. But with the population’s unique talents, troubled psyches and limitless resources, these small-town concerns have a way of becoming big-time problems. It is at that intersection, where human frailty and super-science collide, that Eureka begins….

And where it began was with U.S. Marshall Jack Carter bringing his fairly bratty daughter Zoe home after she ‘d run away. When a local canine “hazard” runs into the road, Carter and Zoe are run off the road and that’s when things get a little complicated. Now, I should say this. I did like the pilot. I liked it a lot with one thing really bothering me. In the first episode, Zoe sounds like a truck driver with some of her language. I get that the “typical” teenager swears, but come on now. There’s a limit. Since then though, the language has improved to the normal level of TV programming so you can watch it without cringing.

One of the first things I liked about this show was the cast. Led by Colin Ferguson as Jack Carter, the cast is smartly put together and armed with writing that will leave you snickering. Ferguson also makes the whole “fish out of water” scenario believable with his reactions to some of the amazing things he sees in his new job. There’s also the special effects. Now, for a town filled with super geniuses, you’d assume there’d be some really sweet gadgets. This show comes up with things I will confess that I really do want. (Wall sized TV screen? Sign me up.) It also gives a fairly necessary object lesson. Science can be a benefit to society, but it can also be a hazard when greed gets in the way of discovery, or when things flat get out of hand.

As far as summer TV goes, this is a show you should check out. It’s the right mix of fun and drama that will keep you tuning in to see what else the fine folks in Eureka can think of next.

-Jenn Untch
Liberty, Missouri
jennuntch@yahoo.com

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