The gang from Eureka have found themselves in a lot of sticky situations over the years, but when the series returns to Syfy with season 4.5 tonight, they'll head into uncharted territory in more ways than one, according to creator and executive producer Jaime Paglia and stars Colin Ferguson and Salli Richardson-Whitfield.
If you expected any kind of reset after the Eurekians time-tripping journey back to 1947, think again. "Our people are adjusting to some of the changes that have happened since their trip to 1947," said Paglia in an exclusive interview.
Fargo is still head of Global Dynamics, Carter and Allison are still a couple, Jo and Zane are still not a couple, Deputy Andy's still around as Carter's second-in-command, and Henry's fallen in love with his wife, Grace.
"We thought it was really interesting to put our characters into these positions of new jobs and new relationships and seeing how they adjust to them and whether or not they are going to embrace them or reject them," said Paglia.
When the series returns, "a little time will have passed," he said. "It is still in the aftermath of Grant's having gone away and that Beverly Barlow made this attempt and she has escaped. And we left off with Zane realizing that Joe somehow had his grandmother's engagement ring and that there was some kind of relationship between them. ... So he is suspecting some things are not what they seem to be."
The consequence of using the bridge device "leads to some experimentation with a new technology based on the principles of the bridge device, and that will, in our season premiere, lead to a very unique situation for our show that's an homage to one of our favorite movies of all time," said Paglia.
While he doesn't want to identify the movie—"it will give away" the plot—this experimentation "leads to the crisis in our season premiere. I have to just say, from a visual effects standpoint, it is really an epic episode," added Paglia. "It takes us to where we really never traveled before in our show. The outcome of this gets Fargo in hot water, because inadvertently, even in his director capacity, he is part of why this problem happened. It leads to Eureka actually being given a very unique assignment and it is a mission that is handed down by someone who is going to be new to the show, one of our guest actors this year, played by Ming Na."
"The big arc of the season is the Astraeus Project. Basically Eureka is going into space," said Ferguson, who plays Sheriff Jack Carter. "And I was concerned when we started it that it was going to be just a path like, 'Oh, this is the mission du jour that we're going to on for 13.' But it actually balloons and blossoms into this fantastically complex plot."
According to Ferguson, by "the end of the season you're about see, it kicks into the whole next year in a way that you completely don't expect. So, what I'm really looking forward to seeing is everyone next summer going, 'Oh, my God. Really? We're ... That's happening now?' Because it's sort of Eureka going into space, and do they go into space, and it's really interesting."
The actors are especially excited because they are actually working on season five, which premieres in 2012 next summer. "Everything is just getting so much better, and it's like you just want everyone to know and you want them to see all this great stuff that's coming," said Richardson-Whitfield. The writers and producers have "really put everything together well, so it's hard to hold back and not tell you everything that's going on, because it's so exciting."
What the actors can talk about is their take on the Jack and Allison relationship. "I think they've found a way to put us together, but not make it boring," added Richardson-Whitfield.
"It's never straightforward," said Ferguson. "That's what I really liked about it, and that's what actually Sal and I fought against really hard for a long time. Because the temptation is like, 'Oh, they're together. Now you guys kiss in every scene.' And we're going, "No, no, no, no, no. That's not realistic, and it's not interesting."
The writers have done a good job of giving the couple "very real problems that you deal with in relationships that keep it both, I guess, affectionate and clear that there's love there. But at the same time very clear that it's not easy. [Life] is not easy, and relationships aren't easy, and I appreciate the realism of that," he added.
All the characters will face those real-life problems. However, it will be within the strange mix of science, adventure, comedy and horror that is Eureka, said Paglia.
This season also offers up a wealth of guest stars. We'll "get a glimpse of Stan Lee, Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, all in episode," he said. In fact, Day and Wheaton will be around most of the season.
In addition, "we have Wallace Shawn coming in. We have Dave Foley coming in, and it's just sort of ... I mean, God bless the recession, right? Like, those names—that's great to get all those people in to the show," said Ferguson.
We'll also get the return of Jordan Hinson as Zoe and Matt Frewer as Taggart. But that's not all. We haven't see the last of Beverly Barlowe, played by Debrah Farentino. "Yep, she's coming back. But, that's tied into, like, the spoiler of spoilers, so that's about all I can say on that. But yeah, she's coming back, and coming back with a vengeance," said Ferguson.
Beyond that, there is one other guest shot in our Eureka future. Creator Paglia has a cameo in the premiere. "I'm the guy in the window," said Paglia. 'What window?' you ask. Let's just say you'll know it when you see it.
"If you thought what we did in this first half of season four last year was big and impressive, wait till you see what our team delivers in this back half," he added.
Eureka premieres on Syfy at 8 p.m. ET and kicks off a night of originals, including Warehouse 13 and Alphas.
Are you ready for a new season of Eureka?