I admire the guts of EUREKA's showrunners and writers. Their time travel do-over ploy at the season's start was brilliant and has reshuffled the dynamics of the show in really interesting ways. But the guts-admiring that I harbor doesn't concern that. No, the ballsy move is the decision to NOT return things to the old status quo. This is the new reality. It's staying this way. And Fargo is still the director of Global Dynamics, and it's startling how infrequently he tends to mess up nowadays. Only a show like EUREKA, with its influx of crazy mad science and anything goes sensibilities, can get away with that sort of game-changing swerve and still plausibly fold it into narrative continuity. Try that on for size, Bob Newhart.
With James Callis's departure, the second half of Season 4 shifts to the furor over the impending deep space voyage to Titan, the largest moon circling Saturn. The eccentric hidden community of Eureka is all a-hubbub over the six month mission as Fargo and Dr. Holly Martin (a recurring Felicia Day) must whittle down 387 applicants to a 20-man crew. But this is merely the backdrop to more episodes concerning out-of-control geniuses and science run amok. Sheriff Jack Carter - our longtime point-of-view everyman character - is still Eureka's dumbest bloke by comparison. And he's still the fix-it guy when things inevitably go kabonkers. And I get a kick that Jack's first go-to move whenever the fit hits the shan is to yell, "Alright, everybody out!" Running sub-plots revolve around evil therapist Beverly Barlow's latest transgression (this time targeting Alisson Blake), a romantic triangle evolving amongst Fargo, Holly Marten (Day), and Dr. Parrish (Wil Wheaton), and whether Carter and Allison are ready to move in together. On the disappointing side, it's frustrating that Jo Lupo and Zane can't seem to get their act together. Sadly, the season finale marks the departure of one of the core characters, although the giant hope is that we'll see this person again come Season 5.
If you just abide, there's bound to be a DVD set coming out with the full fourth season of EUREKA. But if you can't wait and you already have EUREKA 4.0, then ponder getting your paws on this one. EUREKA Season 4.5 features these episodes:
- Episode #10 - "O Little Town" - Chris Parnell guest stars merrily as Taggart's "Santaology" experiment is fiddled with, causing the rapid shrinking of the entire town, perhaps out of existence. A fine Christmas episode.
- Episode #11 - "Liftoff" - If you're in camp Fargo, then your boy gets a chance to shine as he and Zane accidentally get launched into space in what was intended to be an unmanned space probe.
- Episode #12 - "Reprise" - First appearance of geek goddess Felicia Day as a socially awkward scientist newly arrived to Eureka, except that she unwittingly brung a virus with her which insinuates itself into the town's music database and compels listeners to act out song lyrics.
- Episode #13 - "Glimpse" - As scientists vie for a place on the Astraeus mission crew, Jack and Jo field test revolutionary contact lenses which can predict potential security risks. Meanwhile, Alisson's behavior continues to become more erratic.
- Episode #14 - "Up in the Air" - Sheriff Carter is apprised of a bank robbery, and this initially excites Carter - he's just happy to land an old-fashioned crime for once - until he learns that the entire bank itself has been stolen. Meanwhile, Allison's time fugues worsen. See this one for Carter's aggravated histrionics when, to save the day, he's forced to dangerously float up to the airborne bank.
- Episode #15 - "Omega Girls" - Zoe Carter visits from college and gets her Die Hard on when Eureka's residents fall into a coma and Zoe is left by herself to fend off an incursion.
- Episode #16 - "Of Mites and Men" - It's Carter versus a horde of destructive, invulnerable nanite bugs even as several of the Astraeus candidates are confined to a cramped underground cell designed for psychological stress testing.
- Episode #17 - "Clash of the Titans" - Wallace Shawn guest stars as a "relationship auditor" from the DoD come to Eureka to assess Carter and Allison's relationship. This coincides with the arrival of the robot probe Tiny, except that Tiny has brought along Titan's lethal atmosphere to Eureka. But never mind that. Will Wallace Shawn ruin the good thing Carter and Allison's got going? Inconceivable!
- Episode #18 - "This One Time at Space Camp..." - This episode gives us peeks into the Astraeus candidates' pasts as they undergo final interviews. An accident leaves the relationship auditor reliving Carter's past exploits.
- Episode #19 - "One Small Step" - The Eureka think tank (and Carter) scrambles to retrieve a steadily declining Deputy Andy who is stranded on Titan and exposed to its unforgivable environs. This is a surprisingly emotional episode that humanizes Deputy Andy and his girlfriend, the smart house Sarah. I love Kavan Smith's performance here as Deputy Andy.
- Episode #20 - "One Giant Leap" - Essentially the season finale. On the day of the big launch to Titan, micro black holes appear in Eureka, threatening to destroy the world.
In Episode #21 - "Do You See What I See?" - things get a bit... sketchy. It's another fun Christmas episode, one which integrates an out-of-control holobook, evil snow ninjas, and animation (in all its formats) into the story. Note that this episode isn't included in this DVD set but probably will be in the Season 5 DVD release.
So can I get an "Aaarggh!!"? EUREKA is one of the most wildly inventive shows around, and the Syfy network is opting to kick it to the curb. Suffer not a good show to live, must be the universal motto of these television networks. The plug will be yanked after Season 5, although Syfy was gracious enough to allow for one more episode for closure purposes or whatever, so there'll now be 14 episodes for Season 5, instead of the original commitment of 13. Gee, thanks. For fans of EUREKA this is pretty dire straits. I would suggest launching a Subway drive, but that only worked for so long for CHUCK. I guess, somewhere, Sheriff Carter is reacting to this calamity. He's yelling: "Alright, everybody out!"
EUREKA Season 4.5 is a three-disc set with the following bonus material:
- "The Mythology of EUREKA": Viewers can trace the lineage of "Eureka" and go back to the town's roots (00:15:10 minutes)
- Deleted & Extended Scenes on 9 episodes
- Audio Commentary on "Lift Off" with co-creator/writer/executive producer Jaime Paglia and executive producer Bruce Miller
- Podcast Commentary on "Lift Off" with Jaime Paglia, Bruce Miller, and VFX producer Matt Gore
- Podcast Commentary on "Reprise" with Jaime Paglia and writer/co-exec producer Amy Berg
- Podcast Commentary on "Of Mites and Men" (Extended Version) with Jaime Paglia and co-exec producers/co-writers Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes Burton
- Podcast Commentary on "Omega Girls" with Jaime Paglia and actress/director Salli Richardson Whitfield
- Podcast Commentary on "One Giant Leap..." with Jaime Paglia and director/co-exec producer Matthew hastings
- Extended Version - "Of Mites and Men"
- WAREHOUSE 13 Crossover Episode - "Don't Hate the Player"
- Gag Reel (00:05:18 minutes)
- Sneak Peek at EUREKA Season 5 (00:04:50 minutes)
By the way, several folks have mentioned that "Clash of the Titans" is missing on this DVD set. But if you go to the episode selection menu on Disc 2, there's an arrow on the right which, when clicked on, will take you to a second episode menu page. "Clash of the Titans" is on there.