We Recommend: A Town Called Eureka
The existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously stated that “Hell is other people”.
Being a fairly grumpy person who despairs at the universe, I usually find myself agreeing with him. But if the other people were children who can build models of the solar system that have real, working mini-suns and actual mini planets that rotate around them, a mechanic who spends more time building spaceships than he does fixing cars, a tiny, female, borderline psychopathic deputy sheriff who is obsessed with guns, and a talking house that locks people inside when she doesn’t want them to leave, I’m not sure “hell” is quite the right word.
A Town Called Eureka is about an incredible high-tech town in Oregon. It’s completely inhabited by scientists, completely secret and completely brilliant. Everyone in the town is a genius — for example, the dry cleaning woman is a top scientist who created an incredible, ground breaking formulae that coincidentally also gets clothes really clean.
In fact, the only person in the town who isn’t a genius is U.S Marshal Jack Carter, who accidentally finds the town with his rebellious teenage daughter Zoe and becomes Sheriff. The schtick of the show is that whilst Carter only has average intelligence, he’s incredibly practical in a way that the scientists aren’t. With the town doing lots of complicated experiments, lots of things go wrong in lots of ways. Each episode follows Carter as he tries to save his friends, his family, the town, the country, the entire world or time and space.
Sound complicated? It is! And we’ve not gotten to the really weird bits yet. Some of the characters go back in time and change things...multiple times. So there are multiple totally different timelines to try and follow. The huge, multi-series story arcs revolve around things like biological entities that exist outside of the laws of physics allow children to possess incredible healing powers.
To be honest, the whole show is totally nuts. Each episode has more science crammed into it than an entire GCSE — but as someone who didn’t do that well on her science GCSE, I can assure you that it’s not something to make your brain ache. Carter isn’t a scientist, so everything has to be broken down to his level. And by his level, I mean our level — the level of someone who just about remembers water is two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom (I think).
Eureka isn’t groundbreaking, gritty TV. It’s not educational. It won’t make you exclaim “This is the best thing I have ever seen”. It is, however, fun and silly sci-fi. And its utterly delightful for being so.
Alongside each peril-filled main story is a funny subplot about the town’s mayoral election. For every dilemma about how to rescue the people trapped in the vault that has been scheduled for thermal cleaning, there is a bowling team that has been turned green by their opponents. The fact that Eureka is a science filled town just lets the writers play around and put their cast of funny, quirky characters in dangerous, quirky situations. It works really, really well.
If you’ve not seen Eureka before, there’s a mini-marathon tomorrow on Syfy. It starts at 5pm and leads up to the newest episode being shown at 8pm. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t have a clue who any of the characters are, what has happened in the previous three series or why a robot who looks like a man is marrying a house. To be honest, you could watch the entire series from the start and feel like that, but it really doesn’t matter. Just sit back, and enjoy.