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Is Time-Travelling "Eureka" Still Ahead of Its Time? Or, At Least, Ahead of the Broadcast Networks?
September 9, 2010  | By Gerald Jordan
 
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Only those whose lives are caught up in the thick web of conspiracies would surmise that Eureka is on the SyFy channel because its casting is too avant garde for network TV. Count me among those spiders.

Well, maybe I'm not committed to the true belief that a conspiracy exists, but the question does arise: Why can't network TV dramas be bolder in defying convention? And the answer is that this season, they just might do so.

Eureka, which presents its "midseason finale" Friday night at 9 ET on Syfy, is an excellent production for several reasons, not the least of which is story line. Eureka also draws high marks from me because the cast is diverse.

Blah, blah, OK, I hear the volume being turned down. But viewers have to give Eureka credit for knocking down conventional walls, and installing a cast that includes persons of color in significant roles.

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Set aside the fact that Salli Richardson-Whitfield's eyes beam the kind of beauty that just says "cast me in anything and I'll be a hit." (In addition to her estimable resume of movie and TV roles.)

In Eureka, though, she's less ornamental and incidental, and much more significant to this marvelous tale of a secret utopian science/research community run by the government.

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Add to that Joe Morton's role as a research scientist, and the show has legs. After all, how could The Brother From Another Planet -- Morton's role in the 1984 John Sayles movie about an alien who fit comfortably, if silently, in urban America -- not add value to a science-fiction production?

The telling moment for courage of conviction by the Eureka producers took place this season when the cast slipped through a worm-hole of a time warp that landed the key characters in a World War II-era Eureka. The community';s premise was the same, but the political time was vastly different.

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The script moved through awkward moments in the 1940s (Richardson-Whitfield as a brilliant, 21st-century trained physician) without the African-American characters having to reach for mops and buckets to fit in.

Three million viewers can't be wrong. Whether they view Eureka through the same hopeful and cheering eyes that I do is quite another matter.

There's good news, though, whether you're enjoying the series, the subtext, or both:

SyFy has picked up the very well-made drama/comedy/science-fiction show for another season.

 

2 Comments

 

Nathan said:

I would just add that they've been bold not only in their diverse casting, but in pairing characters of different ethnic backgrounds romantically without ever making a big deal about it, or even mentioning it, really. Not only is Salli Richardson-Whitfield -- who could convincingly play at least four different ethnicities, if called to -- paired with white dudes, but Joe Morton's most significant relationship until this season was with an Asian woman (though admittedly much of that took place off screen, and in ret-con). Now, if they could just get Vincent the chef a boyfriend. . .

Comment posted on September 9, 2010 6:18 PM


Nakita Ryce said:

Righty said Nathan. Its quite rare these days to see such a diverse casting. It takes quite a thought to romantically link different ethhic background characters.

Comment posted on August 24, 2011 1:25 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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