The Complete Series
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Reviewed by Will Harris
n 2006, ITV broadcast a four-part series entitled “Eleventh Hour,” starring Patrick Stewart as Professor Ian Hood, a special advisor of the British government’s Joint Science Committee who investigated threats related to various scientific developments and experiments. Each episode was 90 minutes in length, and it was received well enough in the UK that CBS immediately set forth on a quest to develop the concept into a weekly series in the States.
Alas, despite an intriguing premise, something was lost in the translation. In CBS’s version, Professor Ian Hood became Dr. Jacob Hood, an American scientist who was, ironically enough, played by a Brit: Rufus Sewell, late of “Dark City.” Carrying over from the original series was the idea that Hood should have a government handler: Agent Rachel Young (Marley Shelton), who basically has the task of serving as a glorified bodyguard as the good doctor attempts to work out the mysteries behind the various goings-on which seem inexplicable by normal police standards. Examples of this would include, say, college students suddenly coming down with the bends, 30 people being struck and killed by lightning during the same 10-minute-long storm, or outbreaks of violence or unstoppable lust for no apparent reason. There are also events tied to cloning, autistic teenagers, stem cells, and flesh-eating bacteria. In short, it’s less science fiction and more science fact.
The problem with “Eleventh Hour” is that it seems to have been caught in a struggle between its concept and its execution, making its predominant thrust about the crime of the week and not offering nearly enough focus on Dr. Hood, whose considerable knowledge on scientific matters makes him an enigma. Viewers should’ve been left wondering, “Who is this guy? What’s his story?” And, indeed, they were starting to dig deeper into the lives of Hood and Young. But just as we were learning about Hood’s past over the course of the season and getting the impression that he might actually be able to find romance for the first time since the death of his wife, the series steered back into a let’s-stick-to-the-case mindset, with one notable exception. Toward season’s end, the series tried to ease a new character into the mix – Special Agent Felix Lee (Omar Benson Miller), who began to pop up on a regular basis and work with Hood and Young – but one gets the impression that his inclusion was a decision made higher up the network food chain. Can’t you hear it? “You know what this show really needs? An ensemble cast! You know, kind of like ‘CSI.’ Or ‘NCIS.’ Or ‘CSI: Miami.’ Or…”
Let me stop you right there. What “Eleventh Hour” needed was to make the most of what it had. If it had done so, it might’ve stood out in CBS’s line-up as something different. Instead, it ultimately stands as a failure – a pleasantly watchable one, perhaps, but a failure nonetheless.
Special Features: None. The set comes to us courtesy of Warner Archive, so one presumes that we’re supposed to just say, “Hey, we’re lucky to have it at all.” We are, of course, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be disappointed about the fact that it’s utterly bare-boned.