As Syfy's quirky show enters its final season tonight, get ready for a Eureka filled with extremes, said actor Colin Ferguson. It starts off with a life-and-death situation for the Astraeus crew, and then things really get freaky in a three-episode arc that resolves the season-four cliffhanger.
"The first three [episodes] are as dark as we've ever gone, but then there are definitely two, maybe a third one, that are as funny as we've ever gone. So we've really made it darker and then funnier ... and the extremes are better. It's a really, really fun ride this year," said Ferguson, who plays Sheriff Jack Carter.
In the season-four cliffhanger, the Astraeus and its crew vanished just before takeoff. As the fifth season begins, the crew and Allison, who accidentally got caught on board, are suddenly in a fight for their lives as they wake up with the ship about to crash.
When they do make it back to Eureka, things will have changed drastically.
"It has the greatest plot twists that only this genre can afford, and it was a joy to marry that structure change, which I feel lucky to be able to do, with the unbelievable character stuff that they were writing for us, so I never saw this coming," said Ferguson. "I'm stunned with what it's become. I'm so proud, particularly watching those episodes, so I guess that's my take on the last bunch of years. I never saw this coming.
"I'm so proud of [the episodes] from a production standpoint, from a writing standpoint, from an acting standpoint. I'd put them up against anything, and that might be cocky and stupid. I'm so excited for this season to come out. It's the best thing that we've done."
Ferguson admits he was "stunned that we could do what we did, and it's only in the sci-fi genre that you can. In other genres, when you reinvent the wheel, you bring in a new character, you bring in an evil twin. It's sort of standard stuff. But it's a testament to the imagination of the writers that we could [go] back in time and there's a new Eureka in one season," he said, referring to season four, which had the cast get transported back to 1947 Eureka and alter things enough that they changed in the present.
According to Ferguson, they've come a long way considering that originally the writers had marching orders that Eureka would have "no space, no aliens, no comedy ... And come to find a show that has some comedic beats and we send a ship into space in this, the final season," he said.
"That's the great thing about how these guys write, is that things don't just go away," said Ferguson. In fact, that attention to "residual effects and residual ramifications" based on what happens in the first three episodes echoes through the fifth season. "The specifics of which I think would be more spoilery, particularly with how the third [episode] ended. ... They continue to resonate through the rest of the series," he said. "I'm so proud that this is our swan song. If we could do this show, this final season, forever, that would be amazing. This is always the show that we struggled to make."
Looking back, Ferguson is thrilled to see how far Jack Carter has come. "He started as a guy who was a bad father, very closed off to people and very all about work, and by the end of it had really embraced not only his daughter and his family, but a community of scientists and people, and really life, in a sense. As many times as maybe he's saved Eureka, I think ultimately Eureka saved him, and that might be the most poignant salvation of all of it for me."
As far as which are his favorite episodes, over five season, he has a bunch. "'Jack of All Trades,' I loved. 'Smarter Carter,' I loved. 'Up in the Air,' I loved, and 'Your Face or Mine,' which was my directorial debut, which will always be a phenomenal place in my life. And also the first time Erica got a big plot line, and to be there for her was amazing. To be there for Alexandra, our script coordinator's, first episode was amazing. How funny! All of my favorite episodes are someone's directorial debut."
And when all is said and done, years from now, Ferguson hopes people will still remember Eureka. "I want them to remember it by the end of our journey, where we got to, the growth that we all went through, how our stories got tighter, our acting got better, our lighting improved. It's been a great journey, but I'm so proud of the end of the road that I'd love them to look back on that and remember us for that," he said.
"We went into this tunnel six or seven years ago, and you come out the other side being aware of changes that you made as a person and a priority shift that you've made and choices that you've made. ... But it's another thing professionally to exit and be on the market again for the first time, and to realize in a really flattering way that people have been watching, and that professionally speaking it has counted for something. As I went into auditions and whatnot, and people would be what appeared to be genuinely excited, and that felt really great, to walk into a room like, 'Oh, great! Oh, we're so excited that you're available this year,' and that was ... that meant a lot to me."
While the sets have been struck and Eureka is unlikely to return after this final season, you never know what might happen, said Ferguson. Perhaps a two-hour movie or a spinoff series? However, he's rooting for the team to be called into action to another location.
"The team is called to Chicago, because there's a problem in Chicago. Like that definitely gets done as a movie. I'd love to do that, like some sort of two-hour thing. That'd be fun to do," he said. "What am I thinking? No, there's a horrible problem in the Bahamas. That's where the problem is."
Eureka fifth and final season premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Syfy.
Are you going to watch Eureka's final season?