In most sci-fi shows, time travel is usually just a one-off deal that never has any lasting repercussions. But it forms the centerpiece of "Eureka Season 4.0," in which a single jaunt back in time causes sweeping changes for the citizens of Eureka -- it sounds like a cheap way of shaking things up, but the focus on what time travel has changed is pretty interesting.
Carter (Colin Ferguson) is out jogging on Founder's Day when he suddenly goes back in time to the year 1947, along with Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Jo (Erica Cerra), Henry (Joe Morton) and Fargo (Neil Grayston). With the assistance of scientist Trevor Grant (James Callis), and are able to get back to present-day Eureka.
But... some things have changed. Jo is the security chief of Global Dynamics and never dated Zane, Kevin is not autistic, Andy the robot is Carter's new deputy, Henry is married to a woman he doesn't know, and Fargo is now the director of Global Dynamics. Oh yes, and Grant has come forward in time with them.
As they try to adjust to this new timeline, they have to deal with mysterious power surges, a zombie-style rage infection, a super-oxygen infestation, random teleportation (from 1947!), stalkerish A.I.s, people turning into stone statues, and hallucinations of people from the past. And Dr. Grant starts discovering that the future isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I was starting to lose faith in "Eureka" after the disappointing Season 3.5, which was basically a bunch of standalone episodes. And while "time travel ripples" sounds like a cheap way of shaking things up, it actually works quite well here -- the writers spend the entire season exploring the repercussions of time travel.
It sounds kind of grim, but there are some fun moments keeping it light -- particularly a cute Wall-E-esque robot, or Carter throwing the despised Fargo a ravening horde. The one real disappointment is the Eureka crossover -- it's not really BAD, but Claudia Donovan's visit is kinda anticlimactic because... she doesn't do anything except ogle the machinery and make out with Fargo.
Colin Ferguson continues to be charmingly down-to-earth, even as Carter gets enmeshed in a very tense love triangle with Grant and Allison. Also fun: the writers take some clever pokes at Carter's role in the show ("Hello, I'm Sheriff Carter! I'm going to save the day with my everyman logic! Ha ha ha!").
But all the characters get some solid development -- Jo is in turmoil over the loss of Zane, Allison becomes even more of a fierce mama bear now that her son is normal, and Henry starts falling in love with the wife he doesn't even know (although this happens a bit too fast). Oh, and Sheriff Andy is back as Deputy Andy, reciting bad poetry and suffering massive damage.
"Eureka Season 4.0" pumps some new life into this quirky sci-fi show, and rearranges some of the key players. Good stuff!