The Eleventh Hour (US): Complete Series
There’s been a long-standing tradition that TV shows developed and originally broadcast in Great Britain find their way across the pond into American homes. Here in the States many successful TV shows such as ‘All of the Family’ and ‘Stepford and Son’ had their UK counterparts before American success. People would argue that the BBC has a well-earned reputation for excellence in comedy, drama or science fiction. However, sometimes the show may have the requisite quality but still not make it past the first season. One such series was ‘the Eleventh Hour.' The UK version premiered in 2006 starring Patrick Stewart, but even that I kind of sci-fi could not guarantee the success of the series. In 2008 the same concept made the journey across the Atlantic produced by Warner Brothers, but again despite the quality of the scripts and incredibly tight and intense acting it only lasted single-season. Like so many TV shows it appeared that the network had deserted it relegating it to fond memories by a loyal group of friends. Thankfully, the current paradigm of home entertainment has expanded significantly. One of the recent additions to the technology becoming increasingly popular is ‘Manufactured on Demand’; MOD instead of making rather large batches of DVDs producing smaller runs as the demand comes in from the retail outlets. For a while, I had been receiving quite some review copies using the MOD format, and the quality is typically on par with the regular DVD is if it comes from a major studio. In the case of The Eleventh Hour Warner Brother’s Digital Distribution held to professional standards of quality. Fundamentally series is an unusual hybrid of police procedural, forensic drama and science fiction. At times these things are so subtly merged that many critics came to the erroneous conclusion that the series was attempting to emulate the ‘X-Files.'
Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell) is an academic genius level probably proficient in a broad section of deals encompassing a broad, eclectic range of mathematics, numerous scientific fields, and philosophy. He can draw upon these specialties integrating them into a solution for the problems at hand. Despite his prodigious intellect Dr. Hood lacks even a modicum of common sense when it comes to such things as a survival instinct. If he feels he needs to get a license plate on the suspects’ car without the slightest thought, he will stand in front of it as it speeds towards him. Because driving is not especially within the scope of his many talents, he understands the physics and mechanics of driving but lacks the genuine common sense to perform this mundane action. As such it Jacob is usually driven by his FBI handler, FBI Special Agent Rachel Young (Marley Shelton). Agent Young is especially well-trained in many forms of martial arts and weaponry but the first thing that most people notice that she is exceptionally attractive. In this case ‘most’ excludes Dr. Hood regards as an unnecessary protector. One potential reason for this particular site could very well be attributed to the time he spent caring for his life passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer Dr. Hood is considered a Special Science Advisor to the FBI, called the particular original case requires a greater understanding of science to resolve.
Rachel is a dedicated FBI agent determined to perform her assignment to the very best of our abilities. Considering Dr. Hood’s penchant for erratic behavior what many of her fellow agents would consider a simple babysitting job is akin to walking through a minefield of potentially disastrous situations. An example would be one evening as Rachel was about to enjoy the company of a young man she receives an alert from Jacob’s panic button. Quickly throwing on some clothes, she rushes down to the hotel lobby only to discover that he sat on the bottom. Also, has the habit of derailing a pleasant occurrence with some unsavory scientific fact. When Rachel was eating a box of Good ‘N Plenty points out something about the pink one asking if she knows what’s in it. She answered licorice goodness only to find out that the dye wa made of the characters as of insects. This creates an unusual interpersonal dynamic between leading characters of the TV show. Both the male and female leads are attractive and interesting people get the circumstances would seem to preclude any opportunity for them to get together either a nonprofessional or non-friendship scenario. The chemistry is that they work together exceptionally well and have a friendship based on a mutual professional respect. If the series had been allowed to continue in the show runner was permitted to maintain this level of interaction that would have retained a substantial degree of interest precluding the possibility of falling into a common deadly pitfall, the realization of romantic feelings.
Following the usual formula, this first and only season follows exceptionally close to the storylines used over in the UK. They wall after I received the American version for review the British version became available to me. It was absorbing to watch the episodes back to back and note the differences between the two versions. Naturally, feel the obvious changes made to accommodate the common vocabulary and jargon of each country. More fascinating than those changes of the subtle nuances in how each actor approaches the same character in the techniques they used to make them relatable to the audience. The first episode jumps directly into some of the controversial aspects of current biomedical technology. 19 aborted fetuses found by the local Seattle Police Department. When Jacob was called in to investigate the first factor jumps out is highly unusual is that all 19 share the same DNA. That is to say not similar DNA could be found in a sibling or other family member but fundamentally identical. This could lead to only one conclusion the abortion failed attempts at human cloning. As it turns out the young woman carrying the 20th fetus was found in procedure has been funded by a billionaire who had lost his only son short time ago. As Jacob and Rachel get closer to the truth, they uncover a scientist, a woman going under the nom de guerre of ‘Geppetto,' was behind the unethical and illegal experiments.
Initially, the series appears to be relegated to an episodic format. Each case is fundamentally standalone with little if any connection to the others. It’s only much later in the season that Geppetto reappears, and the viewers are permitted to see an iota of connection with the potential to bind the episodes together. Ultimately this is too little too late as by this point the interest of many viewers had begun to wane. The series did come across as if it was an anthology purposely disconnected short stories. Many lifelong sci-fi fans began their love of the genre collections of short stories for some of the high opens such as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clark. That format has been used successfully since the very early days of television, but the basic premise of the show demanded a greater connection between cases.
For the last episodes of the series, the studio did try to reinvigorate interest by adding another character, Special Agent Felix Lee (Omar Benson Miller). During the previous five episodes, Felix joined the team mainly to serve as Hood’s assistant, helping him out while Agent Young stood to watch. Mostly he was used as a scout going ahead of the others to ascertain details of whatever has occurred in obtaining necessary background information. At the series continued it would have faced the potential danger of having Felix serve mostly as comic relief. His main contribution was to provide a viewpoint of wide-eyed wonderment at the discoveries Hood makes in the insight he can offer. This series was lamentably very eligible for the ‘brilliant but canceled’ list of television series that the networks failed to properly nurture and provide sufficient time to find its narrative voice and audience.