I had the pleasure of virtually sitting in on a Eureka Q&A with Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter) and Executive Producer Jamie Paglia. The two spent over an hour fielding questions from sci fi publications – I will touch on the highlights here.
Question: What do we have to look forward to this final season?
Colin Ferguson answered by saying how he’s normally the “king of pessimism,” but he is so proud of this season. “I’d put them up against anything, and that might be cocky and stupid,” he said. “I’m so excited for this season to come out. It’s the best thing that we’ve done.”
Jamie Paglia added how he was happy with making Colin happy, calling that high praise indeed. He also added he thinks the show really blossomed over the last two seasons.
As a writer and viewer I agree.
Colin then chipped in, that the first shows of this new season are some of the funniest stuff that they’ve done. He also noted that the smart car episode, which he called “phenomenal”, is Jamie’s directorial debut. (Later on, Colin would say most of his favorite episodes were somebody’s directorial debut.)
Jamie fielded this one, saying, “This was my first foray into TV. I didn’t know what to expect.” He then said after being involved with a few feature films that didn’t get made, it was exciting to finally make something (which I can really relate to). They had growing pains and found different options as things evolved. He called television a different animal, as you don’t have a lot of time to mull a script over and two years to turn it in.
Question for Colin: What were your expectations? How long did you see it going? What did you see it amounting to and when did it meet your expectations or surpass them?
Colin answered, “Nobody could see this coming.” He talked about the challenges the show faced with the writers’ strike and the recession. Also doing 20 episodes which were then split over a bunch of seasons – that was the hard bit. He concluded, “It’s the greatest plot twists that only this genre can afford, and it was a joy to marry that sort of structure change which I feel lucky to be able to do with the unbelievable character stuff that they were writing for us, so I never saw this coming. I’m stunned with what it’s become. I’m so proud, particularly watching those episodes.”
Jamie said he felt they had been blessed. He also gave kudos to Colin for being gifted as both a comic and dramatic actor.
Question: Any special guest stars this season?
Jamie answered: Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton are back for many episodes. Wallace Shawn is also reprising his role as Warren Hughes. Jamie then noted how he was thrilled to be able to direct Wallace.
Question: Once you found out this was the final season, did you need to make a lot of changes to your original plan?
“Yes.,” Jamie said. He then talked about how at first they heard there would be a full sixth season, then they heard it would only be a six episode sixth season. Finally, on a Monday at five o’clock, he learned there would be no sixth season at all. The problem was season five (which was completed) had ended with a giant unresolved cliff hanger. (See the TV show Sledgehammer for an example of that.) So the network agreed to let them do one more episode but they had to cut it in much less time than a regular episode. Jamie concluded by saying, “Obviously that was never going to be planned that way, but I think given the sort of constraints that we were under, and the pressures to really wrap up a lot of storylines, I’m proud of the episode that we actually ended up delivering.”
Question: Is the final episode an absolute end?
Question: Colin, how has your character changed?
Colin said, “I love the way my character has evolved. Started out as a guy who was bad father and closed off but by the end had embraced his family and the town. As much as he saved Eureka, Eureka saved him.”
Question: What will you miss the most?
Jamie: The people. We like to spend time together. Other writing staffs say they’ve never seen a staff that likes to go to lunch together.
Colin: The process. So proud this is our swan song. This final season is so good.
Colin said that a lot. He was clearly very pleased with these episodes making me eager to see them.
Question: What advice would you give yourself five years ago?
Colin said, “I would laugh and pat myself on the back and say, ‘good luck buddy.’ Have patience…”
Jamie said, “I would tell myself to be open to other points of view. Gotta roll with it.”
Afterwards, I thanked Colin for the interview and noted what a great job I thought he and Jamie had done. But, I also asked, “Were you guys upset at Syfy for pulling the plug so suddenly?” I certainly was.
Colin’s replied, “I personally wasn’t upset. We had a good run and I never expected more than we got. I was ecstatic with how much the show gave me creatively and professionally. So I counted my blessings on that one for the time we had. But I’m wistful to close the door on that chapter of my life. If the next one is half as exciting I’m going to be over the moon…”
I thought that was a great classy reply from a fun, classy vet. I will certainly be tuning in to Eureka tonight at 9. It’s going to be bittersweet, though, as I will miss this show. Colin is currently taping the pilot Like Father now. I am sure he and Jamie will both continue to be successful.
Eureka starts its final season on Monday, April 16th on Syfy.