'Eureka' series finale postmortem with showrunner Jaime Paglia: We made it 'a celebration instead of a funeral'
In the wake of the its abrupt cancellation, it seemed "Eureka" would be forced to bow out with a cliffhanger -- until Syfy granted showrunner Jaime Paglia's request for one more episode.
With one caveat: The "Eureka" crew had one week -- instead of the usual two months -- to write it. "We broke the story in two days, I wrote it in three days over the weekend, and then we had three days to prep it," Paglia revealed to Zap2it.
At the time, he said, "I told everybody, 'Let's try to look at the positive side of this: We were given a chance by the network and studio to wrap this up on our terms. So let's go into this last episode as positively as we can and really make it a celebration instead of a funeral.'"
The logistics involved in getting the show's guests stars on board at the last minute was especially tricky. "Our producers worked miracles trying to arrange our shooting calendar so we would have as much time as possible to wait until we could get James Callis [whose Henry Grant played such a pivotal role in the finale], because he was shooting a movie in England," Paglia told us. "He literally had I think a 48-hour window -- and that included travel."
"We were lucky Matt Frewer [Taggart] was available," Paglia added. "He brings such levity to the set, and people respect him so much -- whenever he's on set it's a joy for everybody. Debrah Farentino is one of the most amazing people on the planet -- she made herself available. And we'd always wanted to have some of our 'Mythbusters' do a cameo, and we were able to get our dear friend Grant Imahara up there [the guy with the robot Lupo called 'Poindexter'], so that was great."
Of course there had to be some stories Paglia and his team would never get to tell. The showrunner seemed most chagrined that we never saw Café Diem owner Vincent ( Chris Gauthier) in a relationship.
"We have such a great cast, but we have such a large number of them," Paglia said. "We had wanted to do a Vincent-centric episode for a really long time -- sort of see where he lived, what his life was like, who was he involved with. We [considered having] Vincent and Larry start to date, an interesting thing to follow." (At the very least, Vincent could've improved the doughnut lover's diet!)
Even though they never specifically addressed their sexual orientation, "We always saw Vincent and Larry as being gay," Paglia said. "We've heard a lot of [praise] from fans that we were pretty much colorblind in terms of addressing the race issue -- we had all these interracial relationships on the show, but we never made an issue of it. We weren't ignoring it, we just didn't feel we had to make a big deal out of it. It's just the way things are [in Eureka]: People are evolved enough that they don't really care. That's kind of how we felt about Vincent too."
One of Paglia's biggest regrets is not being able to do a musical episode. "That was the inspiration for me writing the finale song ["You Are My Home"] that plays over the last montage. I got to do that with [composer] Bear McCreary, which was a great privilege and pleasure."
Paglia himself appears in that last montage. "The little cameo I did at the end, we were shooting the last scene, and Matt [Hastings, "Eureka" co-EP and the finale's director], said, 'Let's have wardrobe throw a shirt on you and put you in the crowd.'
"It gave me a chance to wave goodbye to the fans."
Do you think the "Eureka" series finale was a fitting farewell? What stories would you have liked to see if the series continued?