STUDIO: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
MSRP: $39.98
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 558 minutes
Audio commentary podcasts
Deleted scenes with commentary
Mock Eureka infomercials

The Pitch

Putting all the country’s stupidest people in one living space worked wonders for Big Brother. What would happen if we put all the smart people in one place too?

The Humans

Colin Ferguson, Jordin Hinson, Joe Morton, Ed Quinn and Matt Frewer

The Nutshell

Jack Carter is a divorced, no nonsense U.S. Marshall transporting his delinquent daughter back to Los Angeles. She’s a bit of a rebel and frequently runs away from her mother, much to Jack’s chagrin. Jack ends up getting lost during the transport and runs off an embankment while trying to avoid hitting a dog in the middle of the street. This forces Jack to seek help from the nearest town, which just happens to be Eureka.

With this new invention, you can have the pleasant experience of having Sci-Fi Channel original movies beamed directly into your brain!

Eureka isn’t your normal small town. They don’t have a hipster coffee shop, they don’t have a Panera Bread and they sure as hell don’t have used record stores. In fact, Eureka is the result of a government project created by Albert Einstein and Harry Truman. The country’s greatest minds were moved to this town and in it they have been able to flourish away from the prying eyes of the outside world. The modern world’s greatest inventions all had their origins in Eureka and the dream of flying cars and jetpacks is alive and well there.

Unfortunately, the geniuses who create these things tend to be a little eccentric and their fancy inventions often end up backfiring and threaten to destroy the entire planet or the space time continuum. Through an unforeseen set of circumstances, Jack finds himself “promoted” to the role of Eureka’s sheriff and must do his best to try and stop the demented geniuses of the town from unwittingly destroying themselves.

I’m trying to scientifically determine how much taste I have in my penis.

The Lowdown

Eureka does an excellent job of balancing its self-contained “invention of the week” stories with an ongoing narrative about a mysterious object contained within one of Eureka’s most top secret facilities. For the most part, a viewer can tune in to a random episode and enjoy the plotline without having to know about the histories of the characters involved. The only time prior history really plays a factor is in the season finale, which involves an alternate future for all the residents of Eureka and wouldn’t be nearly as moving or enjoyable if you didn’t have a connection to the characters involved.

Character is really what the show is all about. The inventions are merely the catalysts to bring all the residents of Eureka together in order to save the day. Eureka is basically like any very small town in America where all the residents know each other’s names and there’s plenty of gossiping going on. Even characters who only appear for a single episode are often referred to again in passing, demonstrating that no one really ever leaves the town and despite their differences with each other, everyone in the town has a close kinship that only comes from living in such an insular community.

Earthworm Jim goes too far.

Since the character development is so crucial to the appeal of the series, the actors play a very large part in making Eureka great. Ferguson is well cast as the bumbling but well meaning sheriff who would be considered smart as a tack in any normal town but seems like a dimwit in comparison to the geniuses inhabiting Eureka. It’s often his common sense in the face of such extreme circumstances that leads to the town being saved. All of the members of the supporting cast are lovable for their eccentric character traits and you can never go wrong casing old pros like Joe Morton and Matt Frewer.

Eureka is certainly something different compared to the usual Sci-Fi Channel original programs. There aren’t any aliens traveling through gates or super sexy secret agents with miraculous healing powers. It’s actually clever, intelligent, sweet and funny, something you don’t find quite often on the network responsible for Mansquito, and seeing as Eureka was Sci-Fi’s highest rated program during its inaugural season, perhaps the network will see that viewers want more shows like it. Until then, we’ll just have to make due with movies about giant crabs killing people.

Tough luck, McFly.

The Package

Interestingly enough, the actual package for Eureka has a few special features. The packaging is 100% recyclable and made from 80% post consumer content. The DVD trays are completely biodegradable and are basically made out of potatoes, which all fits with the advanced and ecologically friendly nature of the town of Eureka. Unfortunately, the potato based DVD trays don’t seem to be as adept at holding discs in place as their evil, plastic brethren. The discs frequently pop out of their trays and onto the floor, but since the packaging is soft they don’t get scratched. It’s a trade off you’ll have to make for the sake of the environment.

The new trend with popular genre television shows are to record podcasts that serve as instant commentary tracks after the episode has aired. This must make it pretty easy for DVD producers since all they need to do are slap the podcasts onto the disc and the whole commentary deal is taken care of. There are podcast commentaries for nearly all the episodes in the series and regular commentaries for those without. They a revolving cast of writers, directors and actors for the series.

The Flash vs. Nolan Ryan lacked the same appeal as Superman vs. Ali.

Show stalwart Colin Ferguson makes an appearance on most of the commentaries and sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to hear from other actors like Jordin Hinson. Unfortunately, Matt Frewer fails to make an appearance on the tracks. All the commentaries have a very relaxed feel and sound like a bunch of friends just sitting around and shooting the shit about filming a show. The show’s writers go into some detail on how Sci-Fi Channel tweaked with the show a bit, including how episodes were aired out of production order and the continuity problems that this caused.

Also included in the extra features are eight very short webisodes that star the series’ regular cast. They look cheap and the story is nothing to write home about, but no one really expects an expertly crafted narrative from two minute shorts. The mock infomercials tout the extraordinary devices created in Eureka under the guise of a home shopping channel theme, but the commercials aren’t very humorous and aren’t nearly as clever as the current “The More You Know” style commercials Sci-Fi Channel is producing for Eureka this season.

No woman can resist the allure of the Frewer.

Overall: 9.0 out of 10