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TV Wasteland: Fare Thee Well Eureka

The Syfy staple bids good-bye.

By Rob Vaux     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.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Hookedonavengers2012 7/16/2012 12:15:46 AM

 Goodbye....Eureka!....sob...sob...

noahbody 7/16/2012 6:44:48 AM

Tron cartoon gets a nod but none of the others?

DC Nation.... Marvel Universe?

millean 7/16/2012 7:13:44 AM

I hate to see Eureka go.  The last season hasn't been my favorite, but easily still better than a lot of shows out there.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is 10 years old???  Wow.  I need to watch that one of these days...

karas1 7/16/2012 7:44:17 AM

Millean, you do need to watch that.  It's a damn good movie.

Farewell Eureka.  I'll miss the show.  It managed to make some very intricate and difficult scientific concepts easy to understand by filtering them through Sheriff Carter and his comon sense approach.  Also the characters were loveable and it was humorous and charming.  That's a mix that can't be easy to do and the pulled it off with aplomb.

 

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.

This movie sucked monkey balls.  It's Star Trek made by somebody who didn't understand or like Star Trek.  It's a lot of pretty explosions strung together by a nonsensical plot.

redhairs99 7/16/2012 8:00:25 AM

 Good bye, Eureka.  I was hesitant to try you at first, but once I did, I was hooked on your quirky sense of fun Sci-Fi, back when Sci-Fi wasn't SyFy.  

One thing I find interesting is that they are releasing season 5 the final season on DVD Tuesday.  Why the heck doesn't anyone else follow this awesome idea!?  It makes no sense to me why a studio would release the previous season of a series a week or even THE week the new season preimeres.  That leaves extremely little time to catch up and refresh you on the series at hand and trust me, some shows need a refresher...especially when those shows have breaks that are nearly a year long.

monkeyfoot 7/16/2012 8:08:39 AM

I'll miss Eureka, too. I was loyal to it for a couple of seasons then fell out of watching it. I came back last year. I liked that it was able to appeal to the geekiest and techiest out there but also had great relationship stories that could be very touching to those who didn't get into that stuff. Geek & Romance P0rn nicely blended together. Star Trek could never quite do well with the Romance part.

Karas, you have a point about Abrams' Trek but it is true that he brought it back to full, successful life in a way everybody could like. 

wessmith1966 7/16/2012 8:50:22 AM

I'm very sad to see Eureka say goodbye. The show was always fun and the actors protrayed their characters so well that I couldn't wait to see what happened to them next. I know the show was expensive, but it has a fan base. Maybe SyFi should have given the show more money and put less money into the bloody awful animal/disaster movies and miniseries (Phantom anyone?) they finance. Other than Warehouse 12 and Alphas there's no reason for me to watch the channel, especially with all of those mind-numbingly idiotic ghost hunter shows.

SyFy continues to be a huge disappointment as a network. I really believe they need to get someone in charge who is actually a fan of genre shows and knows how to program for those of us who are.

When Warehouse 13 and and Aphas aren't on I don't even use my cable guise to see what's on because I know it's either an awful hurricane or monster alligator movie or someone's hunting ghosts by going "Oh, did you hear that!?" Yeah jackass, I heard it. Your producer off camera farted.

fenngibbon 7/16/2012 9:13:39 AM

 I'm going to miss Eureka, though the endless screwing around with Allison and Carter got a bit old after a while.

 

And Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?  Better than Temple of Doom.  

Walker 7/16/2012 10:03:01 AM

 @karas1:

It's Star Trek made by somebody who didn't understand or like Star Trek.

Yet it was still better than every single Next Gen movie. Including the excretable First Contact that decided that it made sense to turn a decentralized enemy with no single point of failure into a hive creature with an "I win" button.

karas1 7/16/2012 10:49:09 AM

It was a better movie, but it was not better Star Trek.  Abrams' ST was a fine brainless action flick if that's what you're in the mood for.  But Star Trek is NOT supposed to be brainless.  It's supposed to be more than pretty explosions and pretty actors striking poses and pouting.

Yes, Abrams ST was popular with the masses.  But a brainless action flick is what the masses want.  Joe Public doesn't want to think too deeply about a summer popcorn cruncher flick.

As for the Next Gen movies, yeah, they weren't great.  But I've never accepted "But it was better than that other movie" as an appropriate excuse for a movie being bad.  Whether or not the Next Gen movies were any good has nothing to do with Abram's movie since they weren't connected in any way.

What makes me cry is that with the fine actors and production values he had in his film, if Abrams had come up with a decent script it could have been a fantastic movie.  But all he (and the studio) wanted was a brainless action flick to part the moviegoer from his cash and nothing too challenging to scare Joe Sixpack away.

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