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Today's forecast calls for heat, frost, rain, hail, gale force winds and severe lightning...
on April 9, 2008
Apparently the little genius town of Eureka hasn't quite run out of disasters yet, even with the destruction of the Artifact.
In fact, Eureka's problems get worse as the show's writing becomes better, starting with the citizens bursting into flame. The second season of "Eureka" is more confident and well-balanced than the previous one, and it takes the characters, quirky humor and tight writing into brand-new territory. Including Carter walking around naked.
The timeline has been restored, and Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Henry (Joe Morton) are trying to adjust to their past lives. Carter also is convinced that the future will unfold just as it did in the other timeline.
But during a solar flare viewing, a guy violently combusts -- and soon other people start combusting. Carter searches for a link between the victims, and finds that someone near him may be next. Meanwhile, the Pentagon decides to remove Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) from Global Dynamics' big chair, and replace him with his estranged wife Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield). My, that's awkward.
Other problems pop up over the season -- shared dreams, personal forcefields, "ice funnels of death," falling debris clouds attracted to the GD headquarters, invisibility projects, Fargo's frozen grandpa, Biblical plagues, Carter becoming unnaturally attractive to all women, and an attempt to recreate the Big Bang that apparently turns everyone (except Carter) into driveling idiots.
But while the Artifact has been effectively destroyed, its presence is still felt -- Allison's autistic son Kevin has formed a strange connection to it. And when a brilliant scientist creates a deadly alchemical bacterium -- which turns all iron into gold, then rust -- it may lead to a showdown over Kevin's future....
There's a darker current running through the second season of "Eureka" -- Henry is more subdued and haunted, and a little boy's life is in danger. But don't worry, because thankfully the writers don't switch too far into the dark zone -- the focus is always first and foremost on our Everyman Sheriff, and how he tries to deal with the Horrific Crisis of the day.
In fact, the second season flows very easily, with a more relaxed pace and a colourful, diverse array of science-based problems -- including robot geese. There's lots of great dialogue ("Jo made it seem like the sky is falling." "That hasn't happened since 2004, and that was more of an igniting of the ionosphere") and hilarious comedic moments, such as Carter's naked public shower and the shared Zorro fantasy. But there are some sweet moments too, such as Fargo's grandfather coming to terms with the life he missed out on.
I wasn't too impressed by Ferguson in "Eureka's" debut season, but he really gets to blossom in this one -- he's quirkier, cuter and has a knack for physical comedy. He fits in better with the Eurekans. And he brings a lot of life to Jack's problems, whether it's the weird stuff, or the more realistic threat of his ex-wife taking his daughter out of Eureka.
Quinn and Richardson Whitfield also do well, as Allison and Nathan try to adjust to their new positions, as well as some renewed sparks. And the other characters get rounding out -- Jo gets in touch with her inner girly-girl, Zoe clashes with some genius "mean girls," Taggart has a maternal experience, and Fargo gets in touch with some family members. Also has to deal with the possibility of dying.
Of particular note: Morton brings a feeling of dark pathos into many of Henry's appearances, reminding us what he's lost and leaving us wondering what he's planning. And it's worth noting that a trio of "Stargate SG-1" actors make some very solid guest appearances -- particularly Michael Shanks as an embittered, myth-obsessed scientist.
The second season of "Eureka" sticks to the humorous sci-fi angle, but expands the characters -- as well as some of the darker subplots. Definitely a great little series, and promises to stay fun and suspenseful.