Monday, September 01, 2008

A Town Called Eureka

This blog has gotten too serious of late, so I'm going to take positive steps to lighten things up.

First up: my current favorite sci-fi show, Eureka (also known as "A Town Called Eureka"), which is in itself a generally lighthearted show. Since Doctor Who is on hiatus until 2010, and everything is else just requires significant emotional and time commitment, I'm happy enough to stay in Eurekaland.

Quick summary of the show: Eureka is a town populated by all the top scientists of the US government. Its main industry is research, conducted within the massive laboratories of the town's primary employer, Globodynamics.

The scientists' research brings about all sorts of patent weirdness: alchemical transformations, artificial humans, amnesia devices, killer pheromones, and recently, time loops.

Caught up in the middle of all this is Sheriff Jack Carter, possibly the only average person in town (even his daughter is a budding genius.) Carter is a former US marshal who wandered into Eureka by accident, and was eventually assigned the post of sheriff by the US government.

Despite his average-ness, Carter is usually the one who comes up with practical solutions to the problems facing them each week.

By situating the science fictional elements in a contemporary setting, Eureka manages to skirt the problems of unrealistic ethical dilemmas amidst unbelievable social structures. The show is not about human commentary dressed up in latex masks and riding in spaceships; it's about the here-and-now. And by using a small northwestern town as its backdrop, Eureka keeps the stories in a small and manageable arcs.

All in all, a very watchable show.