TV Wasteland: Fare Thee Well Eureka (Mania.com)

By:Rob Vaux
Date: Monday, July 16, 2012

Tonight, we say good-bye to Eureka, the quietly stalwart Syfy staple that takes a final bow after five seasons. The show was never a blockbuster like The Walking Dead or The X-Files, and its expensive production kept it from turning a big profit. The bosses at Syfy's parent company Comcast dropped the boom to the consternation of fans everywhere.

And yet, the precise manner of its departure suggests that fans have more power than we might suspect. Rather than waiting until the end of the series – with its inevitable cliffhanger and unresolved plot threads – the network delivered a cancellation date before the fifth season began, giving writers time to form an exit strategy. I'm not entirely convinced it did so out of the goodness of its heart, but rather because it reduced the possibilities of backlash and spared the station some publicity headaches. Regardless, the move provides fans with the dignity of closure and leaves Eureka a complete creative statement.
 
Beyond giving the audience a comparatively soft landing, the move also reflects how much TV has changed in recent years. With increasingly sophisticated plot threads and complicated arcs, the notion of simply dropping a show has become less and less viable. More importantly (at least from the bean-counters’ perspective), it more readily allows people to pick up the show after the fact. No one wants to get involved in a program if they know it ends unresolved, but a proper "The End" makes the prospect of watching a DVD set, video download, etc. much more appealing. Big hits often have that luxury regardless, while flops lack the fan base to make much of an impact if they're cut off. But when a show falls somewhere in the middle and still merits such consideration – as Eureka has – it suggests that our brave new multi-media world still works for the consumer sometimes. And that can be a tremendous comfort.
 
The series finale of Eureka airs this Monday at 9:00 PM EST on Syfy. 
 

Monday

Eureka (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The series comes to an end as a series of wormholes threaten to tear the town apart. See the top of the article for more information.
 
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Bo faces down against the Ash, and the results don't quite match what she had in mind.
 
The Batmobile (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Fresh from its triumphant Comic-Con appearance, the Batmobile gets its own special on the CW. It covers the history and evolution of the vehicle, including interviews with Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Tim Burton and Adam West.
 
Mission to Mars (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Brian de Palma violates the work of Stanley Kubrick in the most unspeakable ways with a silly piece of near-future sci-fi.
 
The Matrix (AMC, 10:30 PM EST)
No violations here, although I make no promises when it comes to the sequels.
 
Fast Five (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EST)
Seriously, I didn't know the Rock had that much sweat in him!
 
Paul (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Seth Rogen scores as a wisecracking alien, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost dust off their reliable shtick in an entertaining bit of fluff that will help cure your post-Comic Con blues.
 
Jackie Chan's First Strike (FMC, 7:30 PM EST)
It's really complicated. There are these bad guys… and then Jackie Chan beats the crap out of them.
 
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (FMC, 9:30 PM EST)
Ang Lee's tribute to all things kung fu has lost none of its power or majesty in the past ten years.
 
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
The crumminess of this film hurts only slightly more than the number of talented people who participated in it.
 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (HBO, 6:30 PM EST)
That Voldemort is a persistent one, isn't he? 
 
The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Among its other amazing accomplishments, it stems from a book that I would have considered unfilmable had I not seen it with my very eyes.
 
The Green Hornet (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Rogen has never been more in need of a pimp slap than he is here. And when you're playing a superhero, that's never a good thing. 
 

Tuesday

Destination Truth (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
I'm not fond of this show, but with a title like "Ghosts of Cannibal Village," it's going to be hard not to tune in.
 
Haunted Highway (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Anyone want to give me odds on when they yank this turkey? Three more weeks? Two? What's the over-under on this?
 
Batman Begins (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Just in time for The Dark Knight Rises!
 
In Time (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
Though poorly received by the critics, this tale of a future where people use the years they have left as currency is a lot smarter and more engaging than it looks.
 
Hostel Part II (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Horrific misogyny? You're soaking in it!
 
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (IFC, 10:00 PM EST)
Know why we don't need any more Evil Dead movies? Because they can never be as cool as this one.
 
Resident Evil: Afterlife (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Credit Milla Jovovich for rocking the doors off these flicks each and every time.
 
Let Me In (Starz, 10:30 PM EST)
The original Let the Right One In is better, but this English language remake gives it a hell of a run for its money.
 

Wednesday

Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EST)
Amy and Leela get addicted to the 'roids when they sign up for a popular sport. There is, in all likelihood, some squick involved.
 
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The show investigates a bookstore and a renovated home, both in Ohio.
 
School Spirits (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
It's Sweet Briar College in Virginia this week. Any questions?
 
Star Trek (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
J.J. Abrams saves the vaunted franchise from permanent dismantling with a terrifically entertaining reboot. Well played, sir.
 
Peter Pan (Starz, 7:00 PM EST)
Though the color palette is a tad garish, this remains the most thematically complex and emotionally mature adaptation of the famous story thus far.
 
The Smurfs (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Steaming dogshit is blue… who knew?
 
Ghost World (Sundance, 8:00 PM EST)
Fans of indie comics shouldn't miss this sterling adaptation of the underground bestseller about a strange not-romance between a jaded teen and her forty-something buddy.
 
Fight Club (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
They break it up with commercials… which constitutes the biggest case of Missing The Fucking Point you're likely to see. 
 

Thursday

Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EST)
Michael gets a hand from an unexpected source when he takes on a corrupt criminal.
 
TRON: Uprising (Disney XD, 9:00 PM EST)
They've devised a "Hulk out" upgrade for willing programs, something Beck really isn't cool with.
 
Forbidden Planet (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
The high point of 50s sci-fi posits a slick retelling of The Tempest in outer space. Leslie Nielsen rocks the Bob's Big Boy hair as a very credible romantic lead, while Anne Francis still looks stunning in an array of space-girl gowns.  
 
Casino Royale (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Daniel Craig dons the tux in the most vibrant and exciting James Bond flick since Sean Connery stared down that giant laser. Here's hoping Skyfall recaptures its magic.
 
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Never let it be said that Bruce Willis won't try something different.
 
Alien vs. Predator (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
So much potential… so little of it actually onscreen.
 
Galaxy Quest (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST)
A loving and very funny homage to Star Trek finds the has-been performers of a cult TV show whisked into outer space by aliens who don't understand that it was all an act. Not to be missed.
 
The Thing (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Cinemax is hitting this 2011 prequel pretty hard, though I don't imagine that will last. The film just wasn't that good.
 
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Speaking of which… the durable franchise finally crash lands in an effort that ranks high on possibilities, but low on actual delivery.
 
The Last Legion (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
You can make a drinking game out of counting the slumming British actors appearing in this bit of Arthurian drek.
 
Final Destination 2 (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
Who knew a Part 5 could actually trump a Part 2? (Parts 3 and 4 will be battling it out in the consolation bracket.)
 
 

Friday

Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Note the new day for this new episode, in which Bo accepts the Ash's offer and deals with the fallout.
 
Conan the Barbarian (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
None of this "remake" shit for the BBC. They know which films to show.
 
X-Men: First Class (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Marvel's Merry Mutants get fresh life thanks to a very groovy origins story and some brilliant performances.
 
Fright Night (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
Not all updates should be feared, as this clever retake on the 80s cult classic proves.
 
Drive Angry (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
God bless your crazy ass, Nick Cage…
 
The Dark Knight (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Pity whoever has to settle for a basic cable showing of Christopher Nolan's masterpiece rather than watching some other – any other – Batman story that might be available.
 

Saturday

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
This surprisingly charming version of the classic children's book strikes the perfect balance between adult snark and child-like wonder.
 
Contagion (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
Ever wonder what The Stand would look like in real life? Steven Soderbergh has the answer.
 
300 (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
If you look closely, you'll see a pre-star Michael Fassbender bellowing among the Spartans. Well done Mike!
 
Van Helsing (TNT, 10:30 PM EST)
I can almost guarantee the remake will be better, but still… some turds should just be left alone.
 
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
Perfection achieved. 
 
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Though it contains its share of boners (the Tarzan homage was ill-conceived), this revamped adventure of everyone's favorite archaeologist is far better than people give it credit for. The sign-up sheet for fighting me to the death over that statement will be open until Thursday.
 

Sunday

True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Alcide preps for a new throwdown while Sookie revels in the fact that she's still a human being. More or less.
 
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
Ben is betrayed while the group finds themselves trapped and facing an entirely new enemy.
 
District 9 (AMC, 7:30 PM EST)
Aliens find themselves stranded in South Africa, and science fiction hits a surprising high point in the bargain. 
 
Clash of the Titans (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST)
See? Awesome 1981 version on the BBC, not crappy 2010 version.
 
The Gate (IFC, 7:00 PM EST)
A very young Stephen Dorff stars in a kid-friendly horror movie about demons plotting to return to our world. Pretty forgettable, save for those in need of some 80s nostalgia.
 
The Forbidden Kingdom (IFC, 8:45 PM EST)
Jackie Chan and Jet Li?! How can it go wrong? Wait, don't answer that…
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Starz, 6:40 PM EST)
Johnny Depp's in fine form, but the mermaid and the preacher are the real stars of the show here.
 
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Yet another case of perfectly good actors debasing themselves for the sake of a ridiculous project.
 


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