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(Fridays at 9:00/8:00c starting tonight)
The network's description: "Returning with 10 new episodes, Season 3.5 picks up where "Eureka" left off at the mid-season cliffhanger with Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) being removed from his job as Eureka's sheriff and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) announcing that she is expecting her recently-deceased husband's baby. Carter is also confronted by some challenging decisions on the home front where his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) is concerned and encounters a new love interest with the arrival of Dr. Tess Fontana (guest star Jaime Rae Newman) who will supervise the re-opening of Global Dynamics' infamous 'Section 5.' "Eureka" was the most watched scripted series on SCI FI in 2008 delivering its best performance to-date. The first half of the 3rd season averaged 3 million viewers per week. Co-creator Jaime Paglia and Charlie Craig ("The X Files," "Brimstone") and Thania St. John are executive producers. "Eureka" is produced by Universal Cable Productions."
What did they leave out? That about covers it.
The plot in a nutshell: Even after being redacted as sheriff, Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) isn't quite done with Eureka. And while daughter Zoe's (Jordan Hinson) schooling, his friends around town and a lackluster job search (as he's technically just as a small town lawman to the world at large) are keeping around, it's a new case that forces him to dig his heels in. After his robot replacement, Sheriff Andy (Ty Olsson, in an amusing turn), dismisses a tree collapse that almost kills Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield, preggers both on and off screen at the time) as an accident, Jack can't help but wonder if there's something more at work. This being Eureka, it's no surprise that something is definitely amiss and the various tracks are laid for Jack to assume his previous post.
The second episode (airing July 17), directed by Ferguson himself no less, sees Jack heading off for his biannual recertification. In his absence, Deputy Lupo (Erica Cerra) - herself having returned from the aforementioned testing - assumes the town's policing reigns, including giving the final say on a controversial new DNA-based security system. But when she begins exhibiting uncharacteristically un-Lupo-like behavior - throwing both boyfriend Zane (Niall Matter) and unrequited lover Fargo (Neil Grayston) for a loop - it's up to both of them, along with Allison and newly installed mayor Henry (Joe Morton), to save the day.
What works: Between his you've-got-to-be-shitting-me reaction to the town's outlandish problems to his everyman take on their solutions, Ferguson's Jack continues to be one of the show's strongest assets. It's a fact that's particularly apparent in the second episode as even after being relegated to a silly subplot involving an increasingly nonsensical test, he still manages to eclipse the main plot. Overall though, the show's main draw is its playfully quirky tone as the fantastic is the mundane to the residents of Eureka. ("Is it possible?" Jack asks at one point only to find himself quickly rephrasing it as, "Is it Eureka possible?") Even brief addition Sheriff Andy gets in on the fun, from his surprisingly folksy charm to a survival instinct that rivals the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
What doesn't: From a procedural standpoint, the show remains as fluffy as ever. From its obvious suspects (gee, peripheral scientist character, I wonder if you will be the one behind what's going on?) to its technobabble solutions, there's rarely a sense of danger beyond the exasperation of the characters. And while that's kind of the point - the everyday foibles are exponentially larger here - it still doesn't make it any less redundant. The show also has an odd habit of tabling emotional arcs for no particular reason, ultimately softening them when they are serviced. New viewers for instance may be surprised to learn that the father of Allison's unborn child died a few episodes ago as there's nary a mention of it. And while I'm sure that fact will be touched on around he or she's birth, it still makes investing in Allison's journey feel like a bunch of fits and starts. All that being said...
The bottom line: ...you'd still be hard pressed to find a more fun hour of scripted television this summer.