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Saying Goodbye to Eureka

Photo credit: Syfy

When a show ends after a long run, I sometimes like to look back at what was on the air when it started to see what the thing was that it was so different from that the network gave it a shot. Eureka debuted six years ago today, on July 18, 2006, and at the time it was the highest debut for a scripted show on the network.

In 2006. Syfy was still SciFi and its tentpole series, Stargate:SG-1, had just launched its tenth and final season. Stargate: Atlantis was just entering its third. Battlestar Galactica was on hiatus between its second and third seasons. All were shows with their own followings, and all had a bit of darkness about them. Eureka was an anathema at the time, a sort of shiny, happy place that could maybe be sinister but was much more Mayberry than Twin Peaks.

When Eureka was greenlit, I was excited about it because I’d recently discovered Colin Ferguson in rotation on some of the Lifetime movies shot in Canada. So he was on my radar (one of those movies, Playing House, is a treat if you catch it because it co-starred a pre-Haven Lucas Bryant and pre-Warehouse 13 Joanne Kelly). Second to that, Eureka was going to film in and around Vancouver. As the cast was announced, I came across names I didn’t recognize, and a couple that I loved–Joe Morton and Matt Frewer.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it when Eureka finally premiered, but it grew on me. I liked the fish out of water story of a Jack Carter, a straight and narrow law enforcement guy, migrating from federal to small town to get his daughter on track, being dropped into a town where everything and everyone were anything but straight and narrow. I liked that he was overwhelmed regularly, and that he came to know his daughter, figure himself out, find his BFF, fall in love again, and learn to love the people of this very oddball but endearing little town.

I liked that the show built a history and a mythology and then inverted, distorted, and rebooted it. I liked it less that that was sometimes hard to follow because the show was terribly chopped up by the network in terms of seasonal distributions. 77 episodes and five seasons aired over seven summers.

Two seasons–the third and the fourth–were each split in half between two summers. That seemed an overt money grab to force .0 and .5 DVDs, but it was also hard to follow from a plotting perspective because the show came with a certain degree of suspension of disbelief that was harder to track when you had to wait a year and then try to recall where you left off.

But those are minor grouses compared to how joyful, funny, and happy Eureka was. It also had its moments that were terribly sad–the scene where Stark dematerializes is still one of the most startling things I’ve ever watched, followed immediately by the heartbreaking scene where Jack has to tell Allison on her wedding day that Stark isn’t coming.

Taken as whole, though, Eureka was a warm, familial show, and by that I mean not only could you safely watch it as a family but the characters were a ragtag band of the genius and unique who found themselves thrown together in a kind of paradise where they faced a variety of OMG moments every day, all the time, and just rolled with it. Wormholes, time travel, quantum physics, and alternate universes were just a few of the paths they trod. But they (and we) always had Jack to help us feel less stupid in our “wait, who, with the how, and the what now?” questions.

I loved this show. I loved this cast. I was highly defensive last summer when they were short-sheeted out of a sixth season, but I was also super grateful they were granted a final episode to wrap things up, and they did so beautifully. So where did we leave everyone?

  • Grant swoops in at Fargo’s request and buys the town, on the condition that Henry assumes the reins of Global Dynamics.
  • Reunited with Grace, whom he freed with intel from Beverly, Henry says yes.
  • Fargo and a mindwiped/semi-restored Holly decide to embark on a DARPA project.
  • Jo proposes to Zane and he says yes. We don’t know where they’re going, but they’re going to be together.
  • Zoe is a happy, healthy young woman who’s come to love the dad she so resented, and is about to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Harvard.
  • Jack and Allison are finally married and in the closing moments when Jack agrees to stay, Allison surprises him with the news that he’s going to be a dad again.

In the last moment of the series, Jack and Zoe head out of town so she can go back to school for graduation and they talk about how far they’ve come. A car passes alongside them, and as they look over, they see themselves five seasons earlier heading into town that very first night. Younger Zoe stares back at them in horror, but younger Jack misses it. Current Zoe is alarmed and Jack happily sighs that he’ll deal with that tomorrow. If only we could go along for the ride.

We can’t wait to see what the creators, writers, and cast do next. For now, you can follow them on Twitter:

Jaime Paglia

Amy Berg

Eureka Writers

Colin Ferguson

Salli Richardson

Neil Grayston

Erica Cerra

Niall Matter

Jordan Hinson

Felicia Day

Wil Wheaton

Chris Gauthier

You can buy all five seasons of Eureka on DVD now. Season five was released yesterday after the finale aired Monday night. Thanks for enjoying Eureka along with us!

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