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Seasons 1 & 2 (2006-2008)

My friend Bob recommended this show; Im not sure how he stumbled upon it, but it was his enthusiasm that drove me to check it out. A Sci-Fi (Im not using the other spelling) channel original, Eureka is a quirky show about a US Marshall, Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), who stumbles onto a secluded town in the northwest US (Washington state, later changed to Oregon) where strange things are afoot. It turns out that Eureka is essentially the Hogwarts of the US scientific community, where most of the residents are astounding geniuses playing with the very frontiers of technology and science. Carter meets up with a Department of Defense agent, Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), who initially brushes him off while trying to protect the secret of Eureka, but who eventually comes to trust Jack. When the towns sheriff is injured toward the end of the pilot, Alison lobbies for Jack to become the new sheriff, and were off. The town is full of quirky characters, from resident mechanic (and super-genius) Henry (the always reliable Joe Morton) to chef Vincent (Chris Gauthier), proprietor of the Caf Diem who can make, literally, anything, to Jacks teenaged daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) to Alisons estranged husband and head of the towns major employer and think-tank, Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn). Matt Frewer (remember him? Max Headroom?) pops up as a badly-accented Aussie hunter/tracker/vet/oddball named Taggert, and theres also a gun-crazy SEAL-happy deputy, Josephina (Jo) Lupo (Erica Cerra). Most episodes revolve around some sort of unexpected glitch in some scientific research project that has unforeseen and deadly or harmful results, and Jack must corral the others into saving the day. Often the resident geniuses handle the heavy lifting on the solutions, but it is Jacks ability to connect disparate ideas that generally lead him to at least orchestrate the effort. Most of the characters are fun and likable; theyre all intelligent and have sharp senses of humor. Theres a rivalry between Stark and Jack because both of them like Allison, but most everybody else gets along pretty well in town. The first season proved much stronger than the second. Most of the first season consisted of tech disaster of the week plots, with Jack and the others getting to know each other as they bonded over saving the town. Some plots seemed borrowed from Star Trek: The Next Generation (everyone keeps disappearing and only Jack remembers them; everyone in town suddenly gets stupid and childish except for Jack; and so on) and the ensemble interplay resembles that show in many ways. Unfortunately for me, Eureka scaled a summit at the end of the first and beginning of the second seasons that they could not maintain or replicate. The first season finale jumps us ahead four years into the future, where we see that more or less everything positive in the show has worked out Jack and Allison are married, everyone else in town is happy, even the resident semi-villain has reformed and is working with the good guys. The only problem is, this happy alternate future was

Eureka

created when Henry went back in time to save the love of his life from being killed in an accident, and its starting to come apart at the seams. Jack must time travel back (they send your brain back in your own body) to stop Henry and prevent the future from unraveling. Of course he does so (kind of a bummer to end the season with the universe flying apart, no?), and as the second season opens, everything is back to normal except Jack and Henry have memories of the other future. This is played brilliantly in the season opener, Jack acting like he did in the future, calling people by new nicknames and such, and I thought that by giving Jack this twist they could make him even more interesting and a little tragic. Of course, by the end of the episode they erase his future memories. Disappointing enough but then the second season goes on to lack a lot of the charm that the first season demonstrated. The potential Jack/Allison relationship is simply forgotten about, Allison is significantly weakened as a character, and a timeconsuming subplot about an ancient artifact is introduced that ultimately goes nowhere. Very little is resolved in the second season, and while there are some strong individual episodes (one where a scientist comes out of cryo-freeze from the 1950s is very good), the overall plot arc for the season just stinks. Theres very little continuity, and it seems as if various members of the writing staff argued over where to take the show, a discussion no one ever really wins. The second season lurches out of control, and new love interests are introduced toward the end of it that only tend to water down the shows fading formula further. The first seasons pretty well done and I con openly recommend that to anyone; I think everyone I know would really enjoy those dozen or so episodes. Just be smarter than I was and quit while youre ahead. The second season of Eureka isnt bad, but much like Babylon 5 after the Vorlons and Shadows leave, it never really returns to its peak, and you sort of sit there wondering what in the hell happened on the creative end. March 5, 2010