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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

‘Eureka’ is a geek paradise

I’m making a special point of not missing Eureka this year, cuz it’s nice to see a show in which most of the characters are such big ol’ geeks. That’s usually a “type” — “the science nerd” — but here geeks are filling all the dramatic niches: the leader, the (sorta) villain, the criminals, the lovers, the fighters, the cads, the nice guys, and so on. See, geeks are people too.

And the light-heartedness of the show makes it perfect for summer viewing. Last week’s episode, “Try, Try Again,” in which Fargo gets stuck in the personal-force-field thingie? Nicely done, with all the funny extrapolations on the problems such a toy could cause — I liked the exploded-out door of the bathroom stall. Though it’s probably best that the episode shied away from some of the other problems that had to have been inevitable: like, if nothing can get in or out of the shield, how does one get food and drink through it, either coming or, ahem, going? (I don’t think Fargo actually needed that bathroom stall, if you know what I mean.)
This week’s episode, “Unpredictable,” started with what looked like a murder, but even in Eureka, where things are sometimes what they seem — gee, could some sort of science toy run amuck have caused the deep freeze that killed that poor guy? — they aren’t always quite what we expect. All those red herrings about randy scientists and jealous husbands … well, that wasn’t the motive behind the death at all. Instead, it was professional jealousy — geek jealousy, you might even call it. No fair hogging all the Nobel Prizes, supersmart science dudes: time to share the wealth with the weatherman. Excuse me: meteorologist. (People always say, Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. Our bad guy here did, though, didn’t he?)

I’m getting more than enough drama and angst from the new Doctor Who — I don’t need any more. But still: it’s good to see that it’s not all mad scientists on the rampage in Eureka. Poor Jack, our befuddled sheriff, all alone at the episode’s end. Will he find love again before the season ends? Oh, of course he will.

Guest star check: Hey, that was Olivia D’Abo as Jack’s ex! It was driving me nuts trying to put a name to her face while watching the episode. And there was David Nykl, Zelenka from Stargate: Atlantis as the nearly blind weathermaker: hey, turns out Zelenka’s Eastern European accent is a put-on after all. I wondered about that …

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