Sci-Fi Channel Says 'Eureka'
On Tuesday, July 18, Sci-Fi Channel takes a less supernatural and more scientific approach to the concept with the premiere of "Eureka."
Shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, the series is set in a fictional hamlet in the Pacific Northwest that was established by President Truman -- with some help from Albert Einstein -- to be a safe, nurturing environment for the nation's greatest scientific geniuses.
Not found on any maps except those put out by the Pentagon and marked "eyes only," Eureka has produced most of the quantum leaps in science and technology in the last 50 years. But, since experimentation isn't always a neat or predictable process, more than a few strange byproducts have been created along the way.
In the pilot, U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) has just retrieved his wayward teen daughter, Zoe (Jordan Hinson), and is on his way back when a traffic mishap caused by one of those byproducts strands him in Eureka. After meeting several colorful characters and seeing many amazing things, Carter is drawn into the life of the town, eventually agreeing to become its sheriff.
Also among the enticements are his new friendships with local genius and eccentric Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) and sexy psychotherapist Beverly Barlowe (Debrah Farentino), and his partnership -- and possibly more -- with Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), the government liaison between Eureka and the Department of Defense.
As to whether Beverly might provide some romantic distraction also, Farentino says, "Beverly's too smart to get herself too involved with the sheriff. She might use him to manipulate him, but she's certainly not going to get romantically involved.
"Jack is cute. It might be hard for her not to, but she has to work for a greater cause."
Also starring are Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) as Allison's estranged husband, who runs the local research facility, Global Dynamics; Erica Cerra as Jo Lupo, the tough-as-nails deputy; and Matt Frewer as Jim Taggert, who's charged with keeping control of Eureka's biological oddities.
"Eureka" is the creation of Andrew Cosby ("Haunted") and Jaime Paglia.
"Who is Sheriff Carter?" Ferguson says. "I spoke to Andy about it. I remember, when I got cast, I said, 'I'm surprised. I thought you were going to go prettier with the whole thing.' He said, 'No, no, we wanted somebody who looked like he'd been punched in the face.' I was like, 'I don't think so.'
"I think he meant the whole feeling of, he's been beaten down. He fancies himself an outsider. At the same time, he's good enough that he can get his job done and stay on the inside, because he's a good guy to have around.
"He's trying to piece together his relationship with his daughter. He's never really been there for her. He's not really comfortable being a part of anything. So being part of a family didn't work too well. Trying to give his job has made him resentful.
"So at the end of the day, you have this guy who's trying to be accepted in his own head, but that's not how he's wired."
Apparently, neither Carter nor Ferguson is going to get a whole lot more comfortable anytime soon.
"I've got to say, that gun belt is horrible," Ferguson says. "I spent 95 percent of my day dressed in my polyester sheriff's uniform with that belt on. It's flat-out not comfortable. My hat's off to policemen. It's not a thing I'd like to wear all the time."
Morton is much more comfortable, since Henry favors wearing overalls and a cap most of the time.
"He has no fashion sense whatsoever," Morton says. "There's the old story that Einstein only wore black because Einstein didn't want to think about what to wear. It's a part of his brain that he thought was a waste of time. The same thing is true in a different way with Henry.
"He just decides, on my work days, I wear these overalls and this hat, and that's what I do. All he does is change the patch on his overalls, so someone can determine what it is he's doing at the moment."
Although they might look like an odd couple, Carter and Henry evolve into a well-oiled team.
"He being the sheriff," Morton says, "obviously, he heads up all these investigations, and Henry has the reputation of being able to figure out and fix almost anything, so when Carter needs to find out something, get a piece of information, he comes to Henry. It's evolved into a wonderful kind of partnership.
"Carter obviously appreciates Henry's brain as well as his heart, and Henry appreciates Carter's basic good common sense and also his heart."
Apparently Carter's brawn also comes in handy. "Jack takes it to the body a lot," Ferguson says. "In a town of minds, Jack has to use his body. I'm constantly getting banged around. I had to drive into a wall, get thrown off buildings, get hit the face, take it in the ribs -- which is sort of fun.
"But I guess that's how he breaks in. If somebody's going to take it, it's going to be him."
As for having to spout "technobabble," Ferguson says, "I don't know if it's made up, but it feels made up. Maybe it's not. I don't get to say any of it, though. I'm always the guy who's like, 'So, the ion thingy, that thingy, right?'"