Finally…that small town populated with big brains and even bigger hijinks is ready for another onslaught of tourists (or viewers, anyway): ‘Eureka‘ airs 10 brand-new episodes starting Friday, July 10, on Syfy.
Series creator Jaime Paglia and star Colin Ferguson had plenty to say about Sheriff Carter losing his job, Allison losing her husband, as well as Carter and Allison losing that window of opportunity for romance (or have they?). The stakes are raised in the gadgetry department too, particularly with a ‘Eureka’-style baby shower in the works. (Fuzzy-duck-adorned bibs simply don’t fly in a town filled with geniuses.)
Season 3.5 also provides both Ferguson and costar Joe Morton with the opportunity to direct. Plus: Why is there a Bulgarian-dwelling killer crocodile in Ferguson’s future?
Following are highlights from a Q&A session with the press:
Tell us a little bit about Carter’s story arc going forward.
Colin Ferguson: Well, these [episodes] were initially conceived as one season rather than two seasons, and then toward the end of the season there was some sort of ‘retrofitting’ with the arc.
Jaime Paglia: We had some curve balls thrown at us. I think midway through there were some production-related [issues] and others were just the sort of things that happen with people’s personal lives that affects how you break stories. But I think it definitely had an impact on what we ended up doing with these back ten episodes.
Ferguson: From an acting perspective, what’s really nice about these back ones is I get to have emotional lines; more specifically with Jordan, as we decide whether she is or isn’t going off to college. And it also deals with Sallie more in a friendship capacity than a lover capacity because obviously she’s pregnant through these last episodes.
Paglia: We wanted to bring in a new love interest for Carter and to change the dynamic we traditionally have had with Nathan Stark’s presence–the two alpha males battling over the alpha female. With Stark’s passing, we wanted to bring in a new character, which we did with Jamie Ray Newman playing Tess Fontana, who has a history with Allison. They’re old friends, but that gets a little tense when she and Carter start to develop a connection–a romantic connection.
Jaime, what was the most exciting thing for you, creatively, going into these back ten?
Paglia: We wanted to bring a romantic quality to the show that we’ve never really been able to before. I mean, we wanted Carter to get a girlfriend, which we’ve finally done. We wanted to step up the relationship with Jo and Zane and challenge it: Is it really a short-term thing or is it something more? Also for Zoe and her boyfriend Lucas–she’s coming to an age now where they’re talking about college and whether they’re going to go to the same place. So I think that it gave us a chance to deepen the relationships and go to some places that we haven’t before.
Ferguson: And Jaime and I got to do something that we’ve wanted to do from the beginning. We’ve always wanted to do these smaller stories, these sort of less ‘end of the world’ type stories.
Paglia: I think that our show actually is at its strongest when the problems that Carter has to help resolve are about our characters, not so much about saving the world. If those tie together, that’s great too. But this [season] we had a chance to allow some of our other cast members to be the focus of an episode.
This show can be as light and funny as it wants to, or it can be dead serious when it wants to. Is it more fun and more interesting to be able to do a show like this?
Ferguson: It’s hugely interesting. [But] it makes it significantly harder. I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s difficult.
Paglia: For us, it’s sort of a really great toy box to be able to play in, in that we do have a tone that allows us to be dramatic at times but then release that tension with humor. And Colin’s background in stand-up has had a huge impact on the way we write for him, because we know that he can go from a really poignant moment–you’ll see it especially in this season’s finale with Zoe where you’re on the verge of tears, and then he can turn it on a dime and have you laughing through that moment.
Can you talk a little bit about what the big bad is going to be for the rest of this season?
Paglia: You know, we wanted to have another big bad, but we wanted it to be something different and to have it tie in to a historical aspect of our characters and the town on a personal level. So instead of it being a person, it’s a thing, and we don’t know what it is, and the question is, is it from out there? Is it man-made? But it’s coming toward Eureka–and that allows us to bring back some old characters that we haven’t had a chance to see in a while.
Who are you bringing back?
Paglia: I don’t want to spoil it. I can’t spoil it. But I can tell you that there are two characters who have been a major part of our series who will be making reappearances. [Also] Lexi Carter is back for a few episodes, who was played by Ever Carradine, and she’s great. But yes, we do have two favorites, who are making a reappearance.
Ferguson: And Billy Campbell comes in for an episode as well.
For those who are just completely devastated by the lost future, what can you tell us about Jack and Allison’s relationship moving forward?
Ferguson: Yeah, Jaime!
Paglia: Colin wants to know that right now. You just have to have a little faith. It may take a long time to get there, and it’s not going to be the same road that was traveled in that timeline we saw at the end of Season 1. We’ve seen different people end up getting married, and different people being the parents of the kids. When Allison was pregnant in the end of Season 1, it was with Carter. And last season, it’s actually with Stark.
And those changes are a part of the show. But where we end up, whether Allison and Carter ultimately end up together, that’s still a potential outcome. And I think that you never know what the future holds.
Ferguson: I really like the way this has played out. I think they’re truly earning it. I think it’s going to happen. I think that they’re going to come to a nice place eventually…and it’s going to be a really great reunion when it happens, I think.
Paglia: I totally agree with Colin. We really wanted them to earn it. So many people have had those unrequited relationships in our lives and you always wonder ‘what if’ you’d managed to have that work out.
And we forced Carter and Allison apart in Season 2 as Allison was taking over Global Dynamics, and Stark was getting closer to her. [It] was a very deliberate choice that Carter was put in a place of not trusting Allison for the first time, because she was making some choices that were guided more by her own personal interests and love for her child.
And with the proposal at the end it really put a cap on the fact that she was going to go down that road. And then, of course, that changed up when Stark died. In a very noble way. Then there’s this pregnancy that’s leftover and what is that going to do to the relationship with Carter and Allison.
[It will be] interesting when there’s another woman that comes into the mix. And [Allison] sees that she could potentially make Carter happy and has to make the unselfish choice or the selfish choice about whether or not to be supportive of that.
What do you think about Joe Morton, as an actor and as a person?
Ferguson: As an actor, he’s phenomenal. How everyone sees him already. He’s so solid. Every scene he comes in, he’s so pressed. He comes in with a ton of energy. He’s a joy to work with.
And as a person, he is the…what do I want to say? He’s a father figure on set. He’s the one with the most experience. For him to come in and work harder than anyone else, it really sets the bar. And [he] shows how inexcusable it is to come in with anything less.
Paglia: That pretty well sums it up. I mean, Joe, he’s the one that always holds our feet to the fire all the time.
Ferguson: Yeah–Dr. Logic.
Paglia: Dr. Logic. He’s always prepared with a take on a scene and has ideas that he’s always bringing to the set. And I think that he has always been a sort of grounding influence for the show.
Henry’s character really sort of represents that level of reality and possibility, even though he’s the dreamer in many ways. Clearly he’s a fine dramatic actor, but the comedic timing that he has on our show, particularly in the relationship with Carter, has been a vital part of why the show works.
After playing Carter for a while now, do you find yourself wondering what’s going on behind closed doors? If you’re at the mall are you wondering like, “What’s going on in the basement of the mall”?
Ferguson: That’s funny. It is funny that you walk around with all this authority on set and rah, rah, rah, rah. And it does sort of seep into your personality. I find it takes me a couple months when I get back to dropping my shoulders a bit. It’s a great character to take on your personality because he always wins.
Jaime, what do you think of your new time slot?
Paglia: We premiered to record numbers and have sort of managed to hold on to our number one status on the SyFy channel, and we actually built our audience even more so.
So I will be honest: I’m hoping that we can maintain that on a Friday night. I know that the network has been very, very supportive of the show always and I don’t think that they would be moving us if they didn’t think that we could hold our own. Hopefully that will prove to be the case.
Seeing how shows take on a life of their own, what has surprised you the most as the show has evolved?
Paglia: I think the surprise has been that the show is–I think it really may be one of the only true family shows left. There are very few on television. And that wasn’t something we set out to create, but it evolved into that. On many occasions, I’ve had people tell me that their parents watch it and their kids watch it and that they actually can all watch it together and there’s an element that they all enjoy. I’m thrilled that it turned into that.
Are there any current shows out there right now that either of you are fans of?
Paglia: Oh, I don’t like anything else on television.
Ferguson: I just got cable for the first time in my life about a week ago. I’m still stunned, going through channel 400. I enjoyed watching ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ though because I know a bunch of those guys.
Have you ever considered having [Carter] be a darker character for at least one episode?
Paglia: You’ve been in our writer’s room and you’re sworn to secrecy! Don’t talk about that–that’s an upcoming episode! Yeah–we’ve definitely talked about that from a story standpoint. Colin, I imagine that that would be tough for you to play.
Ferguson: No, it would be absolutely fantastic. I tend to gravitate toward it, especially after ‘Eureka’ because you know you play this nice guy for 57 months, it’s nice to go the other way.
Is Nathan Stark coming back?
Paglia: I knew the question was coming. I don’t want to tease fans and disappoint them: He will not be back on these back ten episodes.
Ferguson: The future is open–you know I’d love to have Ed [Quinn] back in some capacity at any point during the future. He’s on ‘True Blood’ so watch him on that, by the way.
Might we see Sheriff Andy again?
Paglia: I would like to have Sheriff Andy make a return to the show. He very nearly did in the season finale, but I would definitely say that looking forward, optimistically, to Season 4, it would be great to have him on some kind of recurring basis.
Are there any new gadgets that you could tease us with that are going to come out? Like “Oh, we’ve got this great new robot!” or…?
Paglia: I think that some my favorite gadgets are actually in an episode that have to do with a ‘Eureka’-fied baby shower for Allison’s character. And some of the things that the scientists create…what does a super absorbent diaper, or a baby bottle, or, you know…a bib, look like when it’s been created at Global Dynamics? I think that those are some of my very favorite ideas.
Ferguson: Jaime hit it on the head, that baby shower…it’s just like item after item after item as people present their gifts…really, really funny.
So Season 4, when will you get the final word on [whether] it’s a go?
Paglia: August 14. I’m hoping and subtly and not so subtly pushing for them to give it to us sooner than later. [But] I think that is the drop deadline.
Colin, you mentioned Bulgaria–what’s going on there for you?
Ferguson: You know those movies they do on Saturday night on SyFy? I’m acting in one of those and then directing one of those. [One is] ‘Lake Placid 3.’ I didn’t actually care for ‘Lake Placid 2.’ But the script for ’3′ is actually backable, and there’s some fun stuff. And the one I’m directing…I believe the working title is ‘Fossil.’
What killer alligator questions are still left unanswered from ‘Lake Placid 1′ and ’2′?
Ferguson: Well, what I actually thought was interesting about [it] is they’ve got the massive croc, and then they’ve got like little raptor crocs that can sort of run in doorways and everything. So they’ve got the massive one and the little guys working in unison.
Paglia: So, it’s a little ‘Jurassic Park,’ it’s velociraptors and…?
Is there any planned season stoppage? Could it go on forever?
Paglia: If it goes on forever, Colin will die. I actually do like him, I don’t want to kill him, so at some point it will probably have to come to an end. I think when we originally started off, we had sort of built in this idea of a five year run, and if we’re fortunate to go that long or longer, you know that would be amazing.
Hearing all this talk about Global Dynamics, what did you think when ‘Fringe’ came on with Active Dynamic?
Ferguson: We’d been on the air for a couple years at that point, and maybe this is self congratulatory, but I thought it was flattering for Jaime and the writers.
Paglia: No, I was surprised when I saw that show too. I was like, oh, that’s very…that’s very familiar….
Ferguson: Yeah, how cool is that? Best of luck to them and hey, let’s hope they don’t kill us–that would be good.
Paglia: Yeah, that would be good.
‘Eureka’s’ new episodes begin airing Friday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy. Need to get up to speed on the first half of Season 3 first? Watch past episodes right here on Fancast.