Yes, I realize I’m a week behind in giving you some spoilery reviews, so perhaps they’re not so spoilery anymore! Regardless, last Monday was the highlight of my Summer and tonight will be even more exciting in a super geeky way – Felicia Day makes her first appearance on Eureka!! Yay! I know you’re all super excited about that. Quick thoughts – Eureka made a strong showing for its first episode of their half season, Warehouse 13 is definitely improved for having brought in a new character, and Alphas is giving me renewed hope in the Superhero genre.
Eureka Episode 411: Liftoff
Though my husband has never been quite as sold on Eureka as I have, I have spent the last 4 years spending the regular seasons looking forward to the Summer Seasons. There are a few shows that did this for me, Monk and Psych started that trend, but then I found Eureka and thus my renewed love affair with Science Fiction geek television began. I honestly don’t know how scientifically accurate any element of Eureka is, but I do know that they’ve woven science into the show in such creative ways that I really could care less. There were times that I worried the show would be cancelled (I’m still trying to erase The Artifact out of my memory) and Season 3 had so little story and so much disaster that I stopped loving the characters, but the beginning of Season 4 brought a reboot that actually worked.
Season 4.5 picks up the alternate timeline scenario with a chance for Zane to get in on the action. Henry cheated and told his wife the truth last season, so it hardly seems fair that Jo can’t reveal anything to the man she loves (this show turns me into a romantic, damnit). But Zane is a bit dogged and after Jo gives him his grandmother’s ring back, even though he never gave it to her, his suspicions are piqued. This, of course, means that he’ll have to corner the most vulnerable character, Fargo. Unfortunately, he chooses to do his cornering in a suddenly functional rocket and they “Liftoff” into space together.
To make matters worse, it has no functioning nav system, comm system, or all that much oxygen, so the two are pretty much hosed unless they can figure out how to get back home without destroying the International Space Station or dying in the process. Furthermore, Zane cut one of his typical corners and stole a part from the only thing that can guarantee a safe landing.
Meanwhile, back on earth, Jack, Allison, Henry, Jo, and Grace are busy trying to get the cosmic catcher’s mitt functioning and communicate with the capsule, but without any functioning electronics. Oh and the adorable Deputy Andy is trying to figure out why S.A.R.A.H. doesn’t want to marry him.
The great thing about Eureka is that the characters are probably some of the best written in television – you will be hard pressed to find a moment in which they ring false. Even given the alternate timeline issue, these characters are still comfortable in their own skin. They’re dealing with their own personal struggles amidst the insanity that is Eureka, but not in a way that those struggles are either overpowered or by the technology, nor underwhelmed when placed beside the craziness. And Season 4 brought back STORY to the episodic nature of the series. As fans probably know, Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton will be making multiple appearances, and I would venture to guess that Ming-Na’s new character, Senator Wen, has something to do with Felicia coming to town. The highlight of this episode was the clever emphasis on the importance of the Space Program as inspiriation for American Scientists – not only is it a critique of our current lack of a comprehensive Space Program, but also a great way to make these characters even more genuine. Well done, Jaime Paglia, well done indeed.
Warehouse 13 Episode 3.1: The New Guy
Yay for Summer Syfy! Really, I can’t express enough how I appreciate that SyFy has given me excuses to escape the Summer heat. Warehouse 13 has had a rocky first couple of season, the stories were always fun, but the overarching plots and some of the cast interactions never quite clicked. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now that I know Myka isn’t gone forever – Myka and Pete should NOT be set up as a romantic couple, they work better as siblings. At least they have up until this point and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, what with Myka coming back to the Warehouse. We’ll see.
Regardless, after Myka’s departure last season, and the somewhat disappointing revelation that H.G. Wells really was a horrible person bent on world destruction, the crew is back and trying to fill the hole that Myka left, and they’re only moderately succeeding. This first episode of the season was FAST. I barely had time to blink and the writers were obviously aware of the frenetic pace they created (It’s also great when the characters break the third wall.. brilliant). This actually WORKED for the most part, even the somewhat weak case that Claudia and Artie were working on. The case that Pete and the new guy are working on was great fun though, as we get to see why the pen is mightier than the sword (or at least mightier than cursed pictures). Lit Geeks FTW!! Even with the fast pace they actually managed to squeeze more character in than they have in past seasons – and that’s WITH a new couple of characters thrown into the mix.
That’s really the important thing here – The powers that be have decided that the Warehouse needs a new agent, the human lie detector Steve Jinks. The fact that they’ve chosen to include another pseudo-supernatural into the mix (don’t forget about Pete’s vibe!) is actually welcome news – Warehouse 13 has NEVER been about hard science, after all, and is a great foil to Eureka. We also have a new bad guy lurking in the background, with a new well paced minion, so I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with that. So far my only continued character complaint is Leena. They seriously just need to either write her off or actually WRITE HER IN, but I prefer the former. She is the weakest link, goodbye!
Alphas Episode 1.1: Pilot
Just an FYI, Alphas is not your parents’ Heroes. This show is an entirely new creature that reminds me more of Griff the Invisible than it does the X-Men franchise. The characters are genuine and understandable, not SUPER, not even heroes, just regular folks with regular problems. The writers have somehow managed to make superpowers believable and the desire to do so is obvious – rather than amazing abilities that confoundthe senses, the Alphas have small neurological enhancements that give them abilities beyond other humans, but not beyond our understanding.
Nina is a fashionable and beautiful woman with the ability to override willpower (the power of suggestion times 10); Bill is an FBI agent that can increase his strength in a fight or flight response that he can only use for 5 minutes before risking a heart attack; Gary can see electromagnetic waves – a sort of ever present, manipulable HUD; Rachel can amplify her senses to extreme levels, but only one at a time and at the expense of others; and Cameron has superkinesis – his body and senses are so finely tuned he can hit impossible targets, but it doesn’t always work and he is super sensitive to his environment.
This team is led by a psychologist, Dr. Rosen, who is more concerned with giving these people a purpose and a functioning life than he is their powers, unfortunately the necessary evil is sponsorship and oversight from the DoD. This means he must deal with putting their lives in danger, especially when a segment of criminal Alphas targets them. The episode begins with the “activation” of Cameron. Without knowing why, he is compelled to leave work early, go to a specific location, and shoot someone. We soon find out that his target was a federal witness being held by the Agent that acts as the Alpha groups handler. The witness was a part of a criminal network of Alphas, but they obviously don’t like that the feds have someone who could implicate them. When the act is done, Cameron has no recollection of the event. Similar deaths have cropped up on the federal radar, but usually the killer takes their own life. Dr. Rosen suspects Cameron is being saved for something and the team has to track down and eliminate the Ghost Alpha before he strikes again.
The familial interaction, with occasional bickering, is an absolute delight. This is a family of damaged people, who must learn to work together in order to both survive and thrive. Each has a distinct problem that I felt automatic empathy for – Bill desperately wants to feel like he’s still an FBI agent, Rachel is sensitive to how others see her, Gary is a high functioning autistic, Cameron is so sensitive to his surroundings that his marriage has fallen apart and he doesn’t get to see his son, and Nina.. well Nina has a dark past and seems to owe Dr. Rosen for the fact that she’s not incarcerated. I like that a nemesis has already been established, a nemesis that will allow for the writers to bring in a variety of Alpha powers without having to dedicate anymore time than is necessary. They need to concentrate on the dynamics between this core group and not go the way of Heroes – a show mired in its own absurd complexities.