While surfing the TV channels; I stumbled upon a TV show called “Eureka”. Using Netflix I marathoned through most of the first season. Gearing up for a fourth season, “Eureka” is about a small town in northwestern California with the same name. The town’s residents are all geniuses inventing great gadgets for the one company on the outskirts town, Global Dynamics. And you can guess who Global Dynamics’ customer is. Their guests are usually in military uniform or addressed as “congressman”.
The writers borrowed the central characters straight out of the Mayberry/Andy Griffith Show script. As the main character, Sherriff Jack Carter plays the common sense problem solver who keeps his cool when all around him are losing theirs. Sound like anybody you know at the Mayberry police station? Plus he even dresses like Sherriff Andy Taylor. Sheriff Jack Carter’s sidekick, Jo, and Barney Fife both have an unhealthy fascination with guns. Albeit Barney just had the one gun. Jo has the advantage of Global Dynamics’ creations. Helen Crump, Mayberry’s sweetheart, is upgraded to a sparky Global Dynamics’ Executive Director Allison Blake. Both are attracted to the sheriff. I could go on with the comparisons but you get the picture.
The stories created for each episode are funny and intelligent. In one episode, the town’s engineer uses Occam’s razor principle to solve a problem which could cause big trouble for Eureka and the world. As a whole, the show’s writers seem to be saying that for as long as we have been inventing and discovering through scientific means, we have also been unable to predict the full impact the invention or discovery has on our society. But, because it’s TV, an episode’s problem is solved and everybody is back at their lab stations by the end of the show.
What makes the show so exciting is the promise that the inventions –whether they are real or made up by the writers – can bring into our world. Who wouldn’t want to live in a house that can anticipate your every need and do your laundry?
The writers have failed to create a sense of hope that, as humans, we might evolve in how we deal with uncertainty, fear and other emotions. To evolve we must embrace and adapt to changes which are inevitable as technology progressively advances. Perhaps if we could evolve as humans in this way, our science would become more predictable, nah…who wants predictability, that doesn’t make for great TV.