Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas, Have Some Eureka!

Alas, the SGU mid-season hiatus has begun, so no Stargate Wednesday for a while.  To tide us over for a bit and get us into the holiday mood, however, last night Syfy did air all-new holiday episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13. 

While I enjoyed them both immensely, the main effect these had on me was to remind me how psyched I am for the back half of Eureka's current season to start airing.  The holiday episode that aired last night (in both cases, actually) was a completely stand-alone episode.  It didn't touch on any of the current season's plot lines (other than to keep up the status quo with the altered time line established in the first half of the season).  There were hints at some of the romantic pairings we've seen so far this season, but nothing overt, so that anyone watching wouldn't assume something was going on if they didn't already know about it.  Also, sadly, there was no Deputy Andy.  (Three guesses who plays Deputy Andy.  The first two don't count.)

The casting tidbits alone for the rest of the season have my inner geek practically salivating.  Wil Wheaton appeared in a couple of episodes in the front half of season, and from what I have heard around the web, he is back in a big way when the show returns.  In addition, Felicia Day will be coming on with a fairly meaty recurring role for the rest of the season.  Other lined up guest stars include Wallace Shawn, Aaron Douglas, and Dave Foley.  The idea of any of these people puttering around in America's secret little genius haven is splendid, but all of them?!?  Now, please!

Eureka is one of those shows that I absolutely adore, but also somehow manage to forget about when it is not airing.  But then, as soon as it starts back up, I fall in love with it all over again.  There is a lot in it that should be cliched or trite, or has just plain been done before.  It shouldn't be nearly as awesome as it is.  But somehow, every time the episode starts, and the problem is identified, you think to yourself, Oh, I know where they are going with that! and then the show promptly does a 180 and heads off in a completely different direction altogether.  The show deals with some heavy issues without ever forgetting its lighthearted base.  It also completely embraces the quirkiness of the premise and refuses to take itself too seriously.  Viewers have fun watching this show because this show is not afraid to have fun with itself.

Seriously, how many shows would make the main character's house one of the major secondary characters on the show?  And then give that house a boyfriend?  (The town's artificially intelligent police deputy, no less.)  And oh yes, that plot line will apparently continue throughout the season at least.  Color me delighted.

Also, the writers (who are all insanely talented) realize that the true heart of this show is its characters, and they continue to focus on them season in and season out.  We care about these people, we want to see them succeed and grow and find happiness. This is helped along not only by the crazily talented writers but also by the wonderfully talented cast.  These people exude a charm and chemistry with each other that hands down beats that of almost any other show on television.  My mom and step-father, neither of whom would remotely consider themselves genre fans, absolutely love this show too.  And the reason for that is because it is a completely fantastic television series that just happens to also be a science fiction show. 

People often wonder why genre shows have such a hard time succeeding in today's entertainment world, and I think that there is a very valuable lesson to be learned from Eureka, as well as the other successful genre shows, of which I can actually think of a few off the top of my head.  Start with your basic premise, and if it happens to be science fiction, that's great, but when you go on to build the actual show, if the only thing you're focusing on is the science fiction aspect of it, well, you're going to lose people.  Focus on the show itself--on the people and on the stories they have to tell.  That is what keeps people coming back for more, regardless of what category the show might get filed under.  "Good" is a cross-genre category, my friends.

And now, for your Wednesday viewing pleasure, and apropos of nothing, I leave you with this--The Princess Bride with light sabers:

Good day to you!

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