A Town Called
Jack Carter - Colin Ferguson
Allison Blake - Salli Richardson-Whitfield
Zoe Carter - Jordan Hinson
Jo Lupo - Erica Cerra
Henry Deacon - Joe Morton
Nathan Stark - Ed Quinn
Douglas Fargo - Neil Grayston
Beverly Barlowe - Debrah Farentino
Jim Taggart - Matt Frewer
OTHER EUREKA SEASONS
OTHER SCI FI COMEDIES
Hitch-Hikerís Guide to the Galaxy
3rd Rock From the Sun
A Town Called EUREKA is an unusual fish. It's not quite an out and out comedy, but that's the genre that sticks the closest to. Sure there are lots of funny situations, but the comedy comes completely from the characters and most especially from Sheriff Carter as the ordinary man in an insane world. His reactions are the audience's reactions to the strange bubble that is EUREKA
To that end, it s fortunate for the show that it is fronted by Colin Ferguson, who is adept at this confused everyman stuff and is instantly likeable and believable in the midst of so much that isn't. He is matched by Salli Richardson-Whitfield, whose Allison Blake is sexy, self-contained and successful. She provides the love interest and a pretty good role model for young women as well. Ed Quinn provides the love rival for her affections and the nominal bad guy, although he is simply manipulative, not truly bad.
Then there are the oddballs. Henry is played by Joe Morton as a genius who just wants to tinker for the sake of it and who becomes far more important towards the end of the season, Erica Cerra is the delightfully hardcore deputy Jo and Matt Frewer is just plain unhinged as the unlikely-accented hunter Taggart.
It was difficult to see at the beginning how they were going to sustain a show in the same small town where somebody invents something that threatens the world every week, but the originality and invention of the writers has kept that problem at bay and the interplay between the characters has been the important thing anyway. It is their relationships that have driven the show to be one of the lightest, good-spirited and just fun shows in the genre for a long time.Top
Jack Carter is a Federal Marshall transporting a runaway delinquent who turns out to be his own daughter back to Los Angeles when an accident leaves them stranded in a small town in the midwest. This isn't like normal small towns, though. Strange people are doing strange things. Carter learns that this is the town of Eureka, a place where the finest minds in the US are gathered and work at the Facility. They also experiment at home and that's when the problems start. One such experiment has gone badly wrong and is threatening the whole fabric of space and time. Jack, though, may kow where the key to salvation lies.
EUREKA wants to be a new TWIN PEAKS. It has all the strangeness, great characters, and snappy lines, but it doesn't have the dark undertone, the edges that hinted of the madness below the serene surface.
Which is not to say that it hasn't got things going for it. The concept allows for a lot different stories, but could become hamstrung by its own parochial nature after a few episodes. The characters really are great and the introduction of some of them (Debrah Farenino's uncoventional psychotherapist for example) is very funny. Colin Ferguson makes for an appealing lead (although he looks and acts painfully like Joel Gretsch in The 4400 and chemistry between him and Salli Richardson-Whitfield's Department of Defense agent was immediate. Some of the humour was also great, coming out of the characters quite naturally and without having to be forced or to resort to caricature.
We'll have to see how this show develops, but it has got some great things in it. We really liked the pyramid-shaped bubbles.Top
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Strange things happen as a matter of course in the town of Eureka. However, people coming back from the dead and the apparition of ghosts all over town are matters for concern, even here. Meanwhile, Jack has to come to terms with his new house, a house that has a bit more personality than most.
The humour level of this second episode is much higher than in the first one, which is just as well because the plot is so easily understood that the audience will have worked it out in the opening scene and watching the characters blunder around and ignore the obvious is frustrating. Fortunately, there is Jack's new house to deal with and the characters are full of wit and charm. We need a bit more in the story department if this show is to run.Top
BEFORE I FORGET
An old flame of Henry's comes into town with her genius husband to help perfect an attack proof suit. It soon becomes clear that the genius is in possession of a device that wipes out short term memory. He uses this to steal the ideas of others and make it look like he thought of everything. Jack is onto him, but then has his memory erased and has to work it all out again, and again and again.
Memory can be a funny thing and the most is made of it as the characters consistently forget what has happened and have to go through the painful motions of working it all out again. This allows for a lot of nice character interplay and some good jokes.Top
A small group gather to watch a pirated movie in a trailer. The very next day, they start to get a bit angry and confused and kidnap the leader of a group of aliens that is masquerading as a congressman. Jack figures out where their delusions are coming from and attempts to put their trust in him up against their enforced delusions.
This is another nice episode, full of fun and entertaining. There are a lot of jokes made at the expense of the weaponry that Jack's not allowed to touch and we have to say that we want the kid's home theatre system.Top
A scientist's work renders him incapable of dying, which changes his outlook on life somewhat. When he is unable to duplicate the effects, it becomes clear that the changes are caused by something known as the Artefact which is held in the super secret Section 5.
A simple enough episode that hints at some of the running plots that will no doubt become more important as time goes on, but this episode concentrates on the humour inherent mainly in Jack's continued responses to his new situation.Top
Getting a new Office is a sign that you are going up in the world, but in a town called Eureka it's also an opportunity to start the timer running on the ultimate doomsday device. Whilst Henry tries to figure out a way to stop the machine going off, the sherriff looks up the man who was responsible for the device during the Cold War, only to find him in a retirement home with an addled mind.
More light and frothy fun with no real depth, but that's OK because that's what this show does. When the ultimate doomsday device is activated, it's a time for mild consternation, not mad panic. Its treatment of mental illness is cavalier at best with the old doctor's mania being cured so easily, but it also has some very funny moments. When the old doctor turns to ask with justifiable scorn 'Did somebody cut the blue wire' you just have to laugh.Top
A strange car accident puts Sherriff Carter on the trail of somebody who might be Bigfoot, but then again might be someone whose metabolism has been pepped up until they can run at 600 miles per hour. What has this to do with the new anti missile defence shield and how do you fight someone who moves faster than you can blink?
This is a lesser episode. The show stands and falls by its humour due to the fact that the plots are always too straightforward to stand on their own merit. We know from almost the start what is going on and even why (yes peer pressure is a terrible thing, especially in a place like EUREKA), so it's down to the cast to entertain us whilst they go through the motions of solving the puzzle. The repartee isn't as sparkling this time around, though, and the special effects aren't anything that we haven't seen before, so this episode is a bit ho-hum.Top
RIGHT AS RAYNES
A young man with a history with Jo returns to Eureka and immediately things start to go haywire. Zoe has dyed her hair and let her dad down. Stark is acting strangely. Yes, it's another normal day in a town called EUREKA.
First things first, the scene with the magnetised fence is one of the funniest things in science fiction since Our Mrs Reynolds in FIREFLY. The rest of the episode is amusing enough and goes in some unexpected directions, but it's that one scene that saves the day.Top
A computer link that ties the computer directly into the human brain and tiny nanobots used for medical emergencies combine to create a host of false Starks, a host that is growing exponentially.
Another light and fun episode in the fashion that is the hallmark of this show. Everything hangs on the characters and the actors are doing a fine job of making them people that we would like to spend some time with. Real Plaudits to Colin Ferguson as Carter whose presence is so personable that he can easily carry the show on his shoulders.Top
Just as Henry finishes his super-clear mobile phone system, people in Eureka start acting strange, well stranger than normal anyway. People who were agressive (Jo) become bright and perky, people who were timid become violent and people who were controlled and in command offer themselves up to Carter wearing not a lot. When the town psychologist starts broadcasting everyone's secrets, Carter has to act before the town implodes.
Now that we've got to know the characters it's time to make them all act out of character. It's an old plot device (think Star Trek's episode The Naked Time), but when the characters are as well drawn and fun to be around as they have been in EUREKA then it works really well. As the only person not affected, Carter gets to have a lot of doubletakes and say that this is not good a lot.
And the sight of Taggart naked is not nearly as edifying as Allison in only her underwear.Top
When Carter begins to feel unappreciated, he pulls a couple of sick days and starts looking for beachfront property. Sarah, the house computer, calls the major players in EUREKA's set up together and then traps them, stating that the disharmony amongst them will lead to disaster. IN trying to escape, they initiate her base programme, an military interrogation system, which decides that getting them to love each other is worth killing them all for.
Take all of the fun characters, put them together and then threaten their lives. It's a nice idea, but isn't as much fun as the show has been in the past. People under stress aren't usually in the frame of mind to be firing off smart remarks and quips and that's the case here. Souls aren't bared to any major degree, so it's all a bit flat.
That said, the side story of Jo and Taggart trying to work their way past the house's defences has lots of fun to be going on with.Top
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
It's 2010 and people who weren't are now married, pregnant, graduating, getting naked in the park and not being dead. The trouble is that time isn't as it should be and keeps trying to right itself. If it can't, and that seems likely, then both real and altered time are going to get wiped out. Carter has to find out who did it, how and go back in time and stop it, even though he knows that he doesn't want to considering all that he now has.
A clever way to end the series if you don't know that you're going to get renewed for a second season. This episode shows what the future might hold for all the participants, providing a sort of closure if it's a stand alone series, but then throws it all open to change in case a second series gets commissioned. There's plenty of fun, more emotional depth than usual and how brave for the show to go out on a downbeat.
We look forward to revisiting A Town Called EUREKA again.Top
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