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Reviewed by Will Harris
espite all the love that the Sci-Fi Channel’s reinvention of “Battlestar Galactica” is getting as it approaches the beginning of its final season, let us not forget that there’s another fantastic original series on the network that’s not only popular, but also tremendously successful creatively. When “Eureka” began, its premise could be summed up in a single sentence: an average Joe (well, Jack, if we’re to be accurate) becomes the sheriff of a town full of geniuses and has to deal with integrating himself into their population and dealing with the mishaps that their inventions cause. From there, however, we’ve come to discover a great deal about both Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) and the population of Eureka, and the show has only gotten better with each passing episode.
The second season of “Eureka” takes off from the dangling threads left at the end of the previous season closer, which left Henry (Joe Morton) and Sheriff Carter as the only two people in town who still remembered what had happened before they changed from Henry’s newly-created “happily ever after” timeline back to the correct timeline – you know, the one where his girlfriend, Kim, died. (If that sounds convoluted, it’s probably because you haven’t watched Season 1.) In his heart of hearts, Henry knows that Carter had to fix things back to the way they were, but he also knows that he had found happiness again, and Carter destroyed that for him; as such, Henry wipes Carter’s memory of the other timeline and embarks on a season-long quest to find out who was responsible for Kim’s death. The other major arcs this year also spin directly out of last season’s finale as well, with Nathan Stark’s (Ed Quinn) actions resulting in his removal as the head of Global Dynamics. His replacement: his ex-wife, Allison Blake (Salli Richardson). In addition to her new responsibilities at the office, Allison is also dealing with the reality that she must work with Stark to determine what’s wrong with her autistic son, Kevin, as a result of his exposure to the artifact in – you guessed it – the finale of Season 1.
The character of Sheriff Carter is still walking that perfect balance between being the relative moron in the town of Eureka while still regularly surprising the “smart folk” by figuring something out that has escaped all of the big brains. On the personal front, we finally meet Carter’s wife (and Zoe’s mom), Dr. Abby Carter, played by the still-gorgeous Olivia d'Abo, late of “The Wonder Years,” and it’s an interesting twist to find that his attraction to intelligent women – and they to him – isn’t exactly something new. The relationship between Carter and Zoe (Jordan Hinson) isn’t nearly as tortured this season, with the only recurring battles revolving around those typical between a father and his teenage daughter (dating, driving, grades). As for the Sheriff’s love life, the season begins with the ongoing flirtation between him and Allison, but by season’s end, it’s clear that Nathan and Allison have grown closer once more, and given the recent appearance of a very special dry cleaner in Carter’s life, it’s not impossible that he might be less interested in Allison than he used to be – but that’s probably not the case. Also finding love this season is Deputy Jo, who finds herself smitten with the new genius in town, Zane Donovan (Niall Matter).
The beauty of “Eureka” is that it’s both a sci-fi series and a police procedural, not to mention both a drama and a comedy. The writers take standard sci-fi and fantasy premises, ranging from the Midas touch to invisibility, and thanks to the blend of different characters, can treat them in a lighthearted manner and with deadly seriousness. Over the course of these two seasons, “Eureka” has secured a position as a place you’d like to visit on a regular basis, and with Season 3 – 21 episodes this time around! – looking like a predominantly blank slate, here’s hoping things stay on par for quite some time to come.
Special Features: In addition to two featurettes, one examining Season 2 from the actors’ perspective, and the other finding the writers looking at the possibilities for Season 3, it’s the same approximate bag of goodies as last time. There are deleted scenes, a gag reel, a mixture of podcasts and webcasts from throughout the season which serve as audio commentaries, and a series of public service announcements done by the cast of “Eureka.” In short, fans will once again be pleased with the bonuses Universal has provided for them.