Here's the thing. I tend to think of myself as fairly hip when it comes to the world of geekery, if that's not a contradiction in terms. I know what the hot new thing is, is what I'm saying. Which is why I felt a little awkward touring the Eureka sets when I was pretty sure I'd never heard of the show before in my life. I mean, that can't be right, can it? It was supposedly Sci-Fi's biggest premiere of 2006, and I didn't even know it was on?
And I have to say, it's exactly the sort of show it sounds like I'd like. A secret city in the backwoods of Oregon full of crazy geniuses? Lots of nutty superscience? Even one of those Houses of the Future you sometimes get in Tom and Jerry cartoons? I'm totally in. Especially once I hear that from time to time, Matt Frewer shows up as a mad scientist. That's the role he was born to play! And I understand that there are occasional superscience mishaps, which are something I feel television could use more of. The day we were on set, they were preparing the Cafe set for some kind of Sonic Wave Pulse Explosion, which involved air cannons full of plates, and all the tables and chairs being attached to an automatic yanking device via metal cables. They'd also rigged a toilet to explode for some reason. Well, I assume there was a reason; they might have just been bored.
The sets were very impressive, although I kind of miss the days of cheesy two-dimensional sets that require the cameras to be locked down in position. These were all fully-immersive three-dimensional sets that seem like they'd be a lot easier on the actors. The walls all moved out to fit cameras in, but it was possible to stand in the garage set and really feel like I was in a working garage. The set decorations were all relatively realistic (until you looked closely and noticed how many things were just old VCRs and that 80% of the things on the wall were taken from the same two issues of "Science and Mechanics" (The December 1954 and one from 1957 -- now that's insider information!). But there were enough grease-covered car parts to make it even smell realistic. I did like the fact that the blueprints on one of the work tables were for the basement of a mental hospital.
In fact, the most impressive set I saw during the whole trip was the new Global Dynamics set, which is two or three stories and incorporates more connected locations than every 1950s sitcom put together. If you're putting together a futuristic technology company, I highly recommend the good people at Sci-Fi set design. There's even a hidden waterfall, and you know how important that sort of thing is.
The new season of Eureka starts on Tuesday, July 10, and Season One just came out on DVD last week. I really think they'd be better served having it come out a little earlier, to give people a fighting chance to get caught up. However, I have to admit that I personally have not gotten around to seeing any of it. I bought the whole season on iTunes (because I prefer to behave legally whenever possible), but it turns out that it's hard to fit "watching television on a handy portable device" into my busy schedule. I admit that the problem might be my own laziness. It usually is.
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