Eureka! We've found (again) a good show


First, please read my previous blog about the stand-up comedy show coming Sunday. I'm hoping someone shows up and even laughs.

And speaking of humor, "Eureka" is finally back tonight (Monday, April 16). This show leaps between droll humor and straight science-fiction action, but usually works well. Its final season starts now; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Eureka is sort of like any little town.

It has pleasant people, casual
conversations. It also has occasional shifts in time, space and
reality. Things disappear; robots are polite – one is a deputy
sheriff, another is a house – or menacing.

OK, Eureka isn't exactly like other
towns. It's fictional, in the “Eureka” series, now starting its
fifth and final season on the Syfy Channel; it's filled with
scientists and with things that can go wrong.

Still, the core is hometown life. “I
grew up in a small town in Oregon,” said Jamie Paglia, the
co-creator and producer; he got to sort of re-create that on screen,

Paglia is from Warrenton, a town of
4,500 people, near the state's northwestern tip.”We got our first
traffic light now,” he said. “It used to be a stop sign.”

To capture its mood, the show goes to
Chilliwack. a British Columbia city of 58,000, spiffed up with a few
signs and such. Much of the rest is filmed nearby in Vancouver
studios.

“Eureka” began in the summer of
2006, with U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) returning his
runaway daughter to Los Angeles. His car crashed and he ended up in
this odd place – where the sheriff had fallen into a fiery hole.
Soon, Jack was sheriff of a town filled with science experiments.

This skipped the usual sci-fi touches.
“We were told, 'no space ships, no aliens,'” Ferguson said.

Paglia, with no TV experience, had
chosen just the right time to pitch it to what was then the Sci-Fi
Channel. “They were really seeking Earth-based sci-fi, especially
grounded in humor,” he said.

And “Eureka” has plenty of room for
laughs. Ferguson looks like the standard hero, but he shows a quiet,
Canadian humor and spent time with the Second City Detroit comedy
troupe.

Jack has changed, Ferguson said. “He
was a closed-off father.” So has the town, the show and the Syfy –
which has tried to match the “Eureka” tone, especially with its
hit, “Warehouse 13.”

Still, “Eureka” has never been
huge. It should be starting its seventh season, but with
complications (including the writers' strike), this is only the
fifth.

Last season ended with a space ship –
yes, “Eureka” was finally allowed to have one – disappearing
with people on-board. The opener starts and ends with huge twists;
another cliffhanger was also planned for the year's 13th
and final episode.

Then Syfy – which had announced the
renewal for a sixth season, reversed itself. Paglia begged for one
extra episode, to wrap things up. Syfy said yes – if it could be
done without the expense of a break.

So he broke the news to his people: “I
said, 'The good news is we have a last episode. The bad news is it
(starts preparation) tomorrow.'”

The entire process of writing and
preparing an episode – usually spread over two months, alongside
other episodes – was done in five days, he said. Odd things happen
sometimes in Eureka.

– “Eureka,” 9 p.m. Mondays, Syfy,
rerunning at 11

– Season-opener is April 16; a
marathon of the 11 previous episodes starts at 10 a.m.

– Season-opener also airs at 8 p.m.
April 23, before the second episode