A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this tv show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series starts out with a few eyebrow-raisers -- including a brooding teenage girl with a nose ring and a potty mouth -- but it quickly morphs into something that's actually OK for family viewing, within reason. While it's not meant for young kids, the show is fine for older teens, who will likely connect with the hellion described above, and might encourage them to give science a second look.
What's the story?
There's a big secret in the small town of EUREKA, a picturesque place in the Pacific Northwest where kids idolize Archimedes, blow prism-shaped soap bubbles, and go to the Museum of Theoretical Physics for fun. The secret is big enough to convince Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), a perceptive U.S. marshal who's passing through town with his delinquent daughter (Jordan Hinson) in tow, to stay a while and get to the bottom of it. Eureka's oddball citizens include a deputy with a chip on her shoulder (Erica Cerra), a leggy government liaison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), a dogcatcher with unconventional tactics (Matt Frewer), and a B&B owner who dabbles in psychiatry (Debrah Farentino). There's also the matter of a secret government think tank, where the world's most brilliant minds (headed by Greg Germann) are always at work.
Is it any good?
As a dramatic series, Eureka works well by teasing out a series of plot twists and turns that are bound to keep sci-fi fans interested -- and the special effects are, well, downright effective. There's also a lot to be said for the show's message, which subtly sexes up science and shows the wonderful -- and terrible -- things that can happen when the right elements come together.
Eureka's plot and characters are both titillating and interesting, and Ferguson, especially, proves a likeable and charming lead. The fact that the show isn't entirely appropriate for young children shouldn't discourage parents from watching along with their teens -- it's just another case of exercising caution.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the oddities seen in the town of Eureka could actually happen in real life -- and if you're not sure, it's the perfect excuse to look it up. What exactly is quantum physics, anyway? And are top-secret, government-funded science programs merely the stuff of fiction, or is the show's plot partially based on fact? The sometimes-tumultuous father-daughter relationship between two prominent characters could also serve as a springboard for conversations about marriage, divorce, and the challenges of co-parenting.