Eureka is a series which has had me intrigued for quite a while, but until this week the price has always been higher than I could justify on what was essentially an impulse buy. The show arrived on my radar via the medium of "I've seen the box and liked the look of it" and then again via Twitters dakinegirl and debbiEggroll who both watch it. So I guess it gradually seeped into my consciousness and then when I saw it for ten pounds I figured "why not?"
Eureka is a sort of light-hearted super science based show which is most definitely science-fiction/light drama. U.S Marshall Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) crashes his car while swerving to avoid a dog and ends up in what is effectively a dumping ground for America's brightest and most brilliant scientists (they're also almost all conveniently photogenic as well). After the events of the pilot episode he's reassigned to the town as their new Sheriff, and a short while later his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) joins him.
As the season progresses Carter encounters a whole range of unusual events, all with super science at the heart of the cause. Carter has to work alongside his new Deputy - Joe Lopo (Erica Cerra) and DOD employee Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) along with the various residents of the town including Henry (Joe Morton) and Christian Bale-alike Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) to get to the root of the latest set of strange occurrences and solve them.
That, in a nutshell, is the base format of Eureka - something weird happens, Carter gets involved, it gets solved. Essentially the classic procedural show given a bit of a spin. And if that was all, then the show would be rather dull and un-engaging, but fortunately it's not as dry as that. The characterisations in the show are lively and likable, the guest stars are well chosen, the special effects are just superb and most importantly of all Colin's character - the Sheriff - is so well grounded, charismatic and engaging that you're buoyed along with him on these fun voyages of discovery.
But, Eureka is a show with some faults, I personally did find the leaps in character familiarity to be rather sudden, especially as the tenth episode (Purple Haze) has everyone 'acting out of character', but as I wasn't familiar with most of the characters by this stage (many of them don't get fleshed out too much over the episodes beforehand beyond stereotypical traits) I did sit there wondering how I was supposed to realise everyone was acting odd without being told explicitly. Also there's another character who appears partway through, decides to stay in what seems a huge moment and then disappears from the screen until the final episode where she becomes a key part of the plot. Things like this made the show feel like it was somewhat lacking weight and gravity at times - realism within it's own universe if you like.
What I'm saying here is that Eureka is certainly an enjoyable and fun show - I watched all twelve episodes and the only time I felt things dragging was during the extended pilot episode - but it's also clear that in this season at least, the show was still in it's infancy. So, that said there's certainly enough promise in the show to ensure that I will be picking up the second season when it becomes available. Which I feel is enough of a recommendation in itself.
As for the boxed set itself, it's from Playback - which means a series of standardised components which are identical in most of their products. An attractive cardboard dust sleeve, three almost identical slim line DVDs containing one disc each and very few extras. Playback get no marks for imaginative packaging here, but they do score for standardisation, functionality and general attractiveness. I think the only part of the packaging I feel is wasteful are the DVD cases, they could have used two here if they'd been willing to have a case with two DVD holders (one on each side). Still, the set is attractive enough that I decided to purchase it almost solely on the strength of the cover, so it must work!
All in all Eureka was certainly a pleasant diversion from the normally intense and often grim shows I prefer to watch and for that reason alone I have no problems giving the first season two thumbs.
Audio Commentary on the Pilot Episode
Made in Eureka Mock Informercials