The fourth season of Eureka [Syfy, Fridays, 9/8C] gets underway this evening with a full blown time travel episode in which the show’s core characters find themselves whisked away from Eureka’s annual Founder’s Day festivities and deposited in Camp Eureka – a military base that will eventually [in a few years] become the town envisioned by Albert Einstein and Doctor Trevor Grant [James Callis].
Now, however, Sheriff Jack Carter [Colin Ferguson], Deputy Jo Lupo [Erica Cerra], Allison Blake [Salli Richardson-Whitfield], Henry Deacon [Joe Morton] and Douglas Fargo [Neil Grayston] have to blend in with the military and medical personnel on the base and try to figure out a) what the heck happened, and b) how to reverse whatever the heck happened and get home.
The how involves a machine that was new in Camp Eureka and has been hauled out of mothballs by Fargo, whose effort to get it up and running somehow causes the phones of the five to ring and when they answer, BAM! 1947! Now the five have to not only figure out what’s going on, they have to do it with base security actively searching for them [you don’t just pop up, nude, out of nowhere and not freak out someone].
Founder’s Day makes for a cool entry point for first-time viewers because it sets up the series’ mythology and serves up plenty of both the show’s quirky comedy and moments of dramatic tension. Series co-creator Jaime Paglia also does a first-rate job of providing everything that the show’s long-time fans have come to expect – a character-based hour that moves organically from comedy to drama while throwing in exactly the right sci-fi tropes to drive the character moments.
In Dr. Grant, Paglia has created a character who is both a basically decent guy and a man driven by curiosity – a trait that figures directly into the episode’s climax. James Callis plays Grant as charming and slightly sly, as well as curious and decent. As the show’s newest cast member [he will be recurring over the entire season], Callis shows terrific chemistry with all of the core cast and gets a great deal out of his character’s attraction to Allison. Can you say triangle? Of course you can…
Matt Hastings’ direction keeps the pace up, mixing straightforward set ups with unusual angles and maintains a warm, earthy palette that really gives the characters a sense of inner light.
Based on the season’s first two episodes [the second, A New World, carries on with the situations set up in the final moments of Founder’s Day], this may be Eureka’s best season to date.
Final Grade: A-