"Eureka" may be a show about a town full of geniuses, but Syfy hasn't handled its cancellation all that smartly.
Just last week, Syfy announced that the quirky drama would receive a sixth and final season of six episodes. Those installments were to have been filmed this fall for a debut, most likely, in 2013 — and they would have also allowed "Eureka" writers to wrap up the series without having to alter their plans for the fifth season, which is currently finishing up production.
But on Monday, Syfy reversed course and announced that the fifth season would, in fact, be its last. Since production on season five was so far along, this effectively meant that some fancy footwork by the writers would be needed if they wanted to tie everything up neatly.
And then on Thursday, Syfy said that it would tack on one more episode to season five, an announcement that will presumably provide fans with some hastily written closure but still makes you wonder what the heck is going on here.
We talked to Erica Cerra (right), who plays intrepid Deputy Jo Lupo, about the rollercoaster she and her co-stars have ridden over the past few weeks. She compared Syfy's mixed messages to having a chair pulled out from under you as you sit down.
"That’s a great analogy," she said. "It’s like you’re a little kid and someone’s eating ice cream in front of you and says, 'Did you want a bite? Sucker!' It's all of those things wrapped up in one big cup of 'this sucks.'"
Cerra was thrilled by the news of the extra episode because it would give fans closure, but the abrupt end to the series still came as a bit of a shock to her.
"It’s been a couple days, so I’m getting used to the idea," she said. "But the original shock was definitely more about saying goodbye to everybody so soon. I thought there was a bit of time. That was the hardest part."
Cerra said that, when the cancellation came down, production had already started on the season-five finale, which the writers had been planning to make a cliffhanger, complete with a new story arc that would have spread across the six episodes of season six. But now she's unsure how they'll tie everything up in a single episode.
"We had an idea of what the quote unquote cliffhanger would be, so we knew what the end of this season would be," said the actress. "But we’ve just been told that they’re actually adding one more episode, so that hopefully will give the writers the opportunity to have some sort of a closure. What's hard is that they just started a new storyline for the show. They just created this new story. They had an eight-episode story arc that they were going to do that would be going until the end. But now how do you squeeze that in to two [episodes]?"
Her best guess?
"Huge explosion!" she joked. "Most of the geniuses in Eureka could die [in the finale], and most of the cast. But okay, we have a few survivors, and they’ve figured it out, and hey, end of show, thanks for coming."
Syfy is currently airing the fourth season of "Eureka," with the season finale set for September 19. A holiday-themed animated episode, guest-starring the voice of Jim Parsons, will air in December. The show will return for a fifth and final season of 13 episodes next summer.