What You Need To Know Before <i>Eureka</i> Returns Tonight

Syfy's long-running Eureka returns tonight for the first half of its fifth and final season. We've previously suggested five episodes of the series that could win you over to the show, but this time around, it's time to tell you all you need to know before the end begins.

What Is Eureka?A show that's survived six years (It launched in July, 2006) on Syfy, got higher ratings than Battlestar Galactica and quietly gained enough of a fan following to have spin-off comics, novels and soundtrack albums, that's what. Eureka isn't for everyone - I suspect that its gentler tone and tendency towards sentiment and easy solutions in order to make sure that that week's procedural problem is wrapped up in time might irritate some - but it has a certain charm and whimsy that makes it irresistible as comfort television for those of us who do like it.

What Is Eureka?In the context of the show, Eureka is a town in Oregon state that is populated almost exclusively by scientific geniuses, most of whom work at a Government think tank (Controlled by the Department of Defense, representatives of whom occasionally appear to demand updates on what's happening) called "Global Dynamics." Law enforcement in the town is provided by Sheriff Jack Carter, the town's resident non-genius, but also the one man for whom common sense isn't a distant abstract concept.

Who Are The Characters I Need To Know About?In addition to Jack Carter, there is Alison Blake, the head of GD's medical science division and Jack's girlfriend; Henry Deacon, town mayor and all-round handyman (In both the literal and metaphorical, deus-ex-machina sense); Douglas Fargo, head of GD despite his own social awkwardness and ineptitude; Jo Lupo, the head of GD security; and Zane Donovan, Jo's boyfriend, former hacker and ne'er-do-well who has found some kind of place within Eureka's society… albeit a place that still sees him break the law for the greater good now and again. These six characters make up the core Eureka cast, although there are many other recurring characters (including Deputy Andy, Carter's robot deputy; Kim, Henry's wife; Zoe, Jack's daughter and more) that you should expect to see throughout the season.

What Do I Need To Know About The Show So Far?Despite this being the show's fifth season, all you really need to know about Eureka can be found in the show's fourth season, which sneakily rebooted the series via a time travel storyline in which history was changed more than a little. What you really need to know for the first episode is that GD has been working on a space program for a number of years that had resulted in a manned trip to Titan on board a specially-constructed FTL spaceship called the Astreaus. Unbeknownst to the team at Global Dynamics, there are forces who seek to undermine the mission and use that failure to destroy GD as a think tank once and for all - said forces sabotaged the Astreaus which disappeared, with its entire crew, to parts unknown at the very end of the season. Where is the ship? Are the crew all dead? No-one knows - although, given the fact that it's a first episode, the answer to that second question is very likely to be "no"…

Eureka returns to Syfy tonight at 9pm Eastern/Pacific.

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