Small town. Big secret. A SyFy Original Series. Or at least it was until it became yet another casualty in SyFy’s seemingly apparent war on quality science fiction. I started this entry as a rant, a pure emotional outpouring of outrage and disappointment, but the more I wrote, the more I remembered what Eureka was about:
While I cannot possibly do the series justice, I will say with absolute certainty, that Eureka is a gem that should not be missed.
Flashback, July 2006
In the summer of 2006, something odd happened, the Sci Fi Channel had been advertising a new original series called Eureka. The ads were a little quirky, the cast wasn’t all easily recognized, except for Joe Morton (Speed, Terminator 2: Judgment Day), but overall it was appealing, nonetheless.
The series debuted with U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) transporting a prisoner home and literally stumbling into the hidden community protected from satellite observation and average passer bys. That prisoner, by the way, was Carter’s rebellious daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson).
Eureka is a town like no other. Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, it is home to the United States’ most gifted scientific minds, victual braniacs who are decades ahead of the rest of the world in their scientific exploits and discoveries. After a series of mishaps, Jack elects to stay on in Eureka along with his daughter. As Sheriff, it’s Jack’s job to ride herd on the scientists (much like herding cats).
Series Debut Sets Record
The series debuted to 4.1 million viewers, a number that surpassed any rating for a Sci Fi series to date. The show’s quirky residents and storylines were a hit with the fans too. The diversity of the cast, the reliance on fresh storytelling rather than caricatures and racial stereotypes earned Eureka devoted fans.
The first season ended with a bit of a time twister, a glimpse into a potential future where Jack and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) were married. Only their present was in danger because of something Henry (Joe Morton) did to save Kim (Tamlyn Tomita), the love of his life. The second season found Jack following Henry through the time loop and stopping him, resetting Eureka back on the path it should have followed, with only Henry and Jack remembering the future that almost was.
Jack’s grief was a very real, palpable thing and in deference to his friend’s emotional state, Henry wiped that memory from Jack’s mind, leaving Henry to carry the burden of that potential future alone.
Time, Time, Time
Later seasons would explore other aspects of time, including the control of Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) in the third season. Thorne’s real name was Mary Perkins and was one of the founders of Eureka. During the testing of an Element X, most of the lead scientists were killed, but Mary survived and was apparently no longer aging. Jack helped Thorne put to bed the disaster and she left Eureka before the Department of Defense could put her into custody.
At the beginning of Eureka’s fourth season, they delved into a game-changing storyline that took Jack, Allison. Henry, Jo (Erica Cerra) and Fargo (Neil Grayston) back to before the town’s founding where they met Doctor Trevor Grant (James Callis). Apparently, the activation of the Grant-Einstein Bridge in 2010 Eureka sent the group back in time. When the five (six if you count tag-a-long Grant) returned to the ‘present’ they discovered that everything had changed, the loss of Grant in the past affected their present, leaving the six to harbor their secret.
The emotional journey continued into the second half of the fourth season as Jack and Allison are finally together, but facing trouble from Dr. Beverly Barlow (Deborah Farentino), a psychotherapist who worked in Eureka in the first season, but eventually disappeared after sabotaging Kim’s experiment and trying to kidnap Allison’s son.
On August 8, 2011, it was announced that Eureka would be canceled after five seasons. Syfy gave this statement:
“After painstaking consideration, we have had to make the difficult business decision to not order a season six of Eureka. But Eureka is not over yet. There is a new holiday episode this December and 12 stellar episodes set to debut next year, marking its fifth season and six memorable years on Syfy. The 2012 episodes are some of the best we’ve seen, and will bring this great series to a satisfying end. We are very grateful to Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia, their team of incredible writers, and an amazing cast and crew who have consistently delivered a series we continue to be very proud of. We thank the fans for their support of this show and know they will enjoy its final season in 2012.“
Setting Eureka Apart
Eureka is a small town where anything and everything is possible. But what made Eureka a place everyone is so eager to return to is Vincent serving at the Café Diem, Fargo’s mishaps, Henry’s wisdom, Allison’s gentle patience, Jo’ rugged determination, Zane’s irreverence and Jack’s optimistic management of them all.
The cancellation notice was handed down a week after mention of a possible six episode sixth season and just two weeks shy of filming the end of the fifth season (to be aired in 2012). The cast and crew were just as surprised as the fans. Twitter exploded in a buzz of outrage and disappointment while the series stars handled it with professional aplomb.
Fans have taken to Twitter to protest, set up grass roots movements to save their show and even as they tar and feather SyFy executives, they are remembering to thank the fabulous stars and writers behind this quirky, unique and very original series.
Eureka is a small town with a big secret and an even bigger heart. Thank you Jaime Paglia, Bruce Miller, Colin Ferguson, Erica Cerra, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Ed Quinn, Neil Grayston, Niall Matter, James Callis, Matt Frewer, and so many more for the last five years.
Eureka will be missed.