left biblioblography: Science Fiction Where The Fiction Outweighs The Science – Eureka!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Science Fiction Where The Fiction Outweighs The Science – Eureka!

Eureka! is actually a TV show that I enjoy immensely. As the entry states:

Eureka takes place in a high tech community of the same name, located somewhere in Oregon—an address from the pilot indicated Washington, but all details since (state flags, maps, etc.) agree on Oregon—and inhabited entirely by brilliant scientists working on new scientific advancements that frequently go disastrously awry. Town is operated by mysterious private corporation called Global Dynamics, that supposedly is funded by United States government. The town's existence and location are closely guarded secrets.

U.S. Marshal Jack Carter stumbles upon Eureka while transporting a fugitive prisoner (his own rebellious teenage daughter Zoe) back to her mother's home in Los Angeles. When a faulty experiment cripples the sheriff of Eureka, Carter finds himself quickly chosen to fill the vacancy. Despite not being a genius like most members of the town, Jack Carter's ability to connect to others, his simple but effective ideas, and his steadfast dedication to his work repeatedly saves Eureka, and sometimes the entire world, from one would-be disaster after another.

It’s basically a good show – I rather like all the characters (including the exceptionally yummy Salli Richardson-Whitfield as Dr. Allison Blake and Erica Cerra as Deputy Jo Lupo), it’s got some semi-decent plots, and the writing isn’t all bad.

What IS bad, is the alleged ‘science’ writing. For instance, in the episode ‘Invincible’ an agoraphobic scientist becomes mysteriously imbued with supranormal (read superhero-ish) powers – as the explanation-exposition is fleshed out, one of the main scientists cites the ‘we-only-use-ten-percent-of-our brains’ rubbish. In ‘Blink’, an SUV is totaled by a scientist…who as it turns out, had some sort of formula for speeding up the metabolism in order to move faster than the human eye can follow – e.g., somewhere in the vicinity of 588 MPH. Uh, hello? The human body can’t do this sort of craziness – a good likelihood that the individual’s heart would explode long prior, and even if said individual could get up to that speed, the body in question would probably blow out all the joints, eyeballs, eardrums, and other sundry items not designed for that sort of duress. And of course, the tired old impossible canard of time travel. Jack Carter discovers the timeline has been tampered with, and goes back in time to stop it being tampered with – and anybody with the slightest knowledge of quantum physics knows that A. Time travel is impossible, and B. even if someone COULD do this, it would negate itself, becoming something of a quantum Zen koan on Quaaludes.

And, yeah, I get it that it’s a TV show. It’s actually a fun watch. I get it that it’s fiction. I just wish they would put just a teeny tiny bit more effort into researching the ‘science’ part, instead of just using stale formulas. It’s supposed to be about science, after all.

Just sayin’.

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