Ever since the Sci-Fi Channel up and switched their name to SyFy–perhaps to signal a complete abandonment of the basic tenets of the genre–there hasn’t been a whole lot of new content worth checking out. However, before that change there was one show that hovered, unfairly in my opinion, under the radar, and that show was Eureka.
Like any good “boy meets show” story, this one begins with my looking for something new to binge watch on Netflix. I had recently maxed out their stock of Doctor Who episodes and needed something to tide me over until the next season debuted. Having watched a considerable number of science fiction-related shows, Netflix suggested this little show called Eureka.
Now, at first I ignored their suggestion. I had seen numerous commercials back in the day for Eureka on the Sci-Fi Channel, and while they caught my eye, they never hooked me into actually watching. Having now watched the entire series twice over, I can say those commercials, while entertaining, barely touch on the actual concept of the show–and really did the series an injustice.
For those of you who’ve never seen one, here is one of the commercials:
Not only is “Bobby D.” neither the “Director of Eureka” or even a character on the actual show, but, the whole point of Eureka was that it was supposed to be kept a secret from the world–not “the world’s smartest little town.”
I know this doesn’t exactly sound like rave review, but we’re not there yet, so stick with me.
Thanks for bearing with me there, because in actuality, Eureka is an awesome show.
U.S. Marshall Jack Carter accidentally stumbles into a small, fictional town in Oregon whilst transporting his daughter back to his wife after she ran away. Since Marshall Carter and his wife separate–due to his attachment to his career–their daughter, Zöe, has been less than cooperative. While the citizen’s of Eureka have been particularly good at keeping their business a secret, when Carter rolls through town one citizen’s experiment gets out of control and Carter can’t help but butt in on the investigation.
The problem is that Eureka isn’t your normal town, because unlike normal towns, Eureka is funded by the United States government and military. Every citizen is, in one way or another, a genius, and they all work for the super secretive corporation Global Dynamics, developing new advancements to better the world, or in some cases, destroy it.
This leads to particularly zany antics, for lack of a better word, week to week, when the town’s standing Sheriff decides to step down, and the government “promotes” Carter to fill the position. Each episode involves some level of crime appeal, from theft to murder, and in some cases even aliens, smart homes, and cloning. It’s up to Sheriff Carter, his deputy Jo Lupo, and the rest of the town to come together and solve the mysteries.
What makes Eureka work so well, though, isn’t just the fun in the premise. Jack, himself, is not in any way a scientist, and because the show is from his perspective, the audience isn’t expected to be, either. Every time a complicated scientific premise is shared, they manage to make it accessible so that Jack can understand it as part of his investigation, and as he becomes more familiar, so do we as the audience.
Combine that smoothly integrated accessibility with an excellent comedic writing staff, a standout cast–with Colin Ferguson as Jack (and now the Maytag Man), Joe Morton as Henry, and Ed Quinn as Nathan Stark really stealing the show–and great music from Bear McCreary and Mark Mothersbaugh, and you have an unavoidable hit on your hands.
Why You Should Watch It
As previously mentioned, the show is absolutely laugh-out-loud-funny, and you may actually find yourself walking away with a slightly better understanding of basic science as an unavoidable add-on. Plus the littering of major geektastic cameos makes it worthwhile as well.
There is also a certain childhood fantasy that Eureka manages to bring to life. Who out there hasn’t dreamed of inventing a working jetpack, a talking, emotional smart house, or a device that allows you to make an infinite amount of any kind of food you’ve ever wanted? Seeing a functioning town where all this and more is not only possible, but happens on a daily basis, sprinkled with the action and drama of a crime procedural, is just plain fun.
The series ran for six seasons on SyFy, and is the only show, in my opinion, to ever attempt a series reboot three seasons in and manage to pull it off successfully. That alone, is credit enough to the quality of the characters and the writers.
Honestly though, seeing as the ads never really showed the true premise of the show, I believe a lot of people passed it up, and I can’t blame them. However, having taken the time to actually watch it, I can say I feel sorry for any science fiction fan out there that missed out on this gem.