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As a dogcatcher who shoots U.S. marshal Colin Ferguson with a narcotic dart, Matt Frewer (best known as Max Headroom) is at his twitchy best. He has to be. Eureka’s cast works overtime to charm its materials—characters, ideas, and paranormalities left over from Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, and Picket Fences—into whimsical sentience. In a town established after World War II as a secret place for scientific geniuses to make mischief undisturbed, we meet Jordan Hinson, arrested for impersonating a flight attendant; Joe Morton, engineer and garage mechanic; Debrah Farentino, sex-obsessed psychotherapist with her own bed-and-breakfast; Erica Cerra, woman warrior deputy sheriff; and Salli Richardson-Whitfield, liaison between Eureka and the Pentagon—not to mention such guest stars as Maury Chaykin, the sheriff Ferguson replaces after a “quantum anomaly” almost destroys time as we know it. I like them all enough to hope they can float this so-far-leaky dirigible.

Sci Fi, Premieres July 18, 9 P.M.


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