Genre: Sci-Fi | Action | Mystery
Air Date/Time: Tuesday, December 6 at 8/7c
Eureka seems like any other cozy, Pacific Northwest town, but is actually a secret community of geniuses assembled by the government to conduct top-secret research. What they’ve unwittingly created is a place where anything imaginable can happen … and does.
Sheriff Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) secretly plan the perfect holiday surprise for their kids. But when a mysterious kaleidoscopic wave of color crashes over Eureka, it turns everyone in town into animated versions of themselves.
This is a lovely homage to all the great claymation productions of the 60s and 70s, as well as a fun use of other types of animation. At least, as far as I can tell; the screener sent out for this episode was far from complete. The claymation and anime were basically finished, as was a lot of the 70’s- style animation, but the CG animation was still in its very early stages, and the bits that were finished were VERY “uncanny valley.” In addition, there were a lot of captions referencing live-action effects that are anticipated to be in the broadcast version.
Obviously, one way or another it will all be ready to air by tonight (I was seeing tweets from post-production people as late as last Thursday), but it’s a little difficult to give it a fair review. This Christmas episode is relying A LOT on the effects, as the story is extremely light. There really isn’t a noticeable “B” or “C” story, just the one plot. I’m therefore REALLY looking forward to seeing the final product, but honestly don’t know how it will be. Could be awesome, could be less than awesome. As a fan from the beginning of the series, I’m hoping for the former.
Two additional notes re the storyline: One, this is a standalone episode, not part of the series timeline. When I asked him about it last week, Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter) told me, “you want it to be perennial; you want it to be something that can air every single year. So if you lock it in the continuum of a show, you almost make it outdated by the next year.” The second storyline note is one that I know matters to a lot of people: Christmas is celebrated as a holiday in this episode, but only as a time to cherish family and friends; there is no reference to any religious observance.
If you’re a fan of the show: It’s always great to see your friends from a beloved show. For better or worse you don’t actually see much of them, because, you know, they’re mostly animated. Colin Ferguson said that they blew through almost the whole thing in a table read in one day. But I missed seeing the actual people; they’re only on briefly.
There is a fun audio cameo, and some pretty funny bits throughout, but it felt disjointed. Again, however, the screener was REALLY far away from final form, and was disrupted by all the unfinished parts. The finished product will more than likely have a lot more continuity than the screener version.
If you’ve never seen the show: It’s fun to see claymation no matter what, but the story’s pretty thin, and you don’t get much of a feel for the characters or their interactions during the regular season. It’s cute, and fun, and once the effects are in final form it has the potential to be a treat to watch as a perennial Christmas special. Again, I can only rate this based on what I could see. It should be really fun, and I’m hoping it will be.
I give Eureka: “Do You See What I See” a hopeful Four out of Five Christmas Stars.