TV Wasteland: Fare Thee Well Eureka (Mania.com)
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.
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.
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Final Destination 2 (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
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Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
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Conan the Barbarian (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
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X-Men: First Class (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
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