By Rick Bentley
Technical magazines or stuff found online provide some of the show’s plots.
PASADENA, Calif. — Through the first two seasons of the Sci Fi Channel series “Eureka” Colin Ferguson has played a stranger in a strange, albeit smart, land. He’s the sheriff in a secret community in the Pacific Northwest where everyone is super smart.
Ferguson understands the character.
“I grew up traveling a lot. I grew up in Hong Kong. I was always in new places, so I always felt a little like I was introducing myself. I still use my full name when I call my brothers on the phone. ‘Hey, Rob, it’s Colin Ferguson calling.’ I never assume that anyone remembers anything. I’m a little fish out of water, I guess,” Ferguson says in an interview in May just before the start of filming on the current season.
Traditionally in television shows, the fish would be odd and the water would be the normal people. That’s not the case here. Ferguson is really the closest thing the series has to a normal character. He’s surrounded by lunatics with IQs higher than their weight.
Ferguson grew up in Canada but his travels and various jobs have helped him understand what it feels like to be the odd man out. Before he was an actor, he had a variety of jobs that ranged from being a live mannequin in a store window to planting 3,000 trees a day in the Canadian north.
Once he left those jobs behind, Ferguson began to rack up acting roles in the feature films “Because I Said So,” “The Opposite of Sex” and “The Surprise Party” plus the TV shows “Coupling” and “Then Came You.”
His diverse acting background became a plus during the first two seasons of the Sci Fi series.
The tone of the series in the first year was light. But last year, a few of the episodes got darker.
“I think that a couple episodes strayed a little bit too far away from where I think our sort of sweet spot is,” says executive producer Jaime Paglia.
“So we made a concerted effort I think this season to bring us back to the lighter side of ‘Eureka’ and especially restoring some of the relationships that we were missing a little bit in season two.
That lighter tone will be used in stories dealing with: a 5,000- acre Biodome that is a mile below ground; what a dog show would be like in Eureka; and a ‘Groundhog Day’ storyline.
Paglia says ideas for plots come from technical magazines or online. The writers just amp up the idea to make it fit this land of brainiacs.
The other slight change this season will have Ferguson’s character feeling a little less out of place. He has had two seasons to accept the odd world around him.
And he’s had time to work out his problems at home with his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson).
“He’s making peace. He was a bad parent and he was sort of a disenfranchised sort of person.
As a person, he’s becoming much more embraced or he’s embracing the community more and sort of becoming a better parent,” Ferguson says.
X“Eureka” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on the Sci Fi Channel.