A short lived British series that only ran for four episodes, Eleventh Hour returns Patrick Stewart to the small
screen in the role of Dr. Ian Hood, a roving, troubleshooting adviser to the
British Government who investigates science related crimes and conspiracies.
A brilliant, daring professor, Hood has all the tools necessary for such an
eclectic profession- he's a veritable scholar in all fields of science, possessing pronounced skills in
analysis of both the seen and unseen, and he has an honest desire to uphold right
over wrong. With partner and his Special Branch Scottish bodyguard Rachel
Young (Ashley Jensen) Dr. Hood goes up against all manner of evils
including rogue cloners, polluters and viruses on the cutting edge of modern
Part CSI but for the most part The X-Files, this seems on the surface to be
an intriguing vehicle, all the more so when one has the talents of Stewart
as the lead character; not only should he have audiences firmly on his side
from his Star Trek TNG and X-Men legacies, the character seems like minded
to both Picard and Professor Xavier- being a leader who can make decisions
quickly, having an analytical mind and being seen as someone with a
pronounced,scientific intellect. Stewart's Hood comes across as one of genius
proportions, yet not necessarily a man who would always use streetwise
common sense in his quest to solve a case; hence we have his no-nonsense,
bulldog of a bodyguard Rachel along for the ride to watch the good Dr.'s
back. Rachel comes across as more than that, however, not only being a
sounding board for Hood to bounce hypotheses off of but also having a pretty
good analytical mind herself, thus they come across more like a
Mulder-Skully type team than a dignitary and his bodyguard.
Resurrection- After the discovery of a large number of malformed
fetuses in a field Ian Hood and Rachel Young investigate a black market
human cloning experiment being funded by a father desperate to recreate his
dead son. As they investigate the forces behind the experiments they must
also try to save the life of a single mother who has been duped into acting
as a surrogate for one of the experiments. A particularly grim episode, and
a very solid start to the franchise.
Containment- Hood and Young attempt to locate the source of an
outbreak of a hybrid Smallpox/Tana pox virus but things become more
complicated when Young is apparently infected and the 'trail' leads in the
Kryptos- When a friend and former classmate of Hood's vanishes while
doing research on global warming, he takes it upon himself to complete his
research. Only by cracking an intricate code can Hood determine whether his
friend and the world face real danger.
Miracle- Following the miraculous cure of a young boy suffering from
a kidney tumor Hood and Young travel to his home to investigate claims that
he has been cured by local spring water. The area becomes a focal point for
cancer suffers desperately seeking a cure. When these victims start to
experience even worse symptoms Hood becomes convinced that there must be
something in the water. All of the tests prove to be negative, and it
appears increasingly likely that the boy's doctor has made the entire story
up. Shortly after reaching this conclusion the doctor responsible for the
case dies in an apparent suicide. A odd phrase in the suicide note leads him
to begin an investigation into her death and uncovers a Government
conspiracy to produce heavy water.
I am a bit quizzical as to why the show only lasted four episodes; was it
was meant to be a limited series? Had it been an American studio-based
series I have a feeling it would have gone longer, perhaps much longer in
order to allow the producers an opportunity to iron out the bugs that are
bound to come with a new show. As each installment was a 90 minute
broadcast, this is more along the lines of several made-for-TV movies than a
weekly series. ITV reportedly put quite a bit of money into the project- the
number I came across was 4.5 million pounds- likely due to Stewart's
involvement. The series did well at the outset but the plotlines seemed to
quickly falter. All in all, its a moody, thoughtful and involving vehicle
with just enough action to keep things from plodding.
Eleventh Hour is a 2 disc set, each disc in its own standard sized
case, housed together in a cardboard box.
Aspect ratio here is simply listed as widescreen, so I'm assuming this is
1.78:1. While a bit on the soft side, the picture quality is good; colors
are aptly rendered. The show seems to have been filmed with a rather dark,
ruddy look in mind, so this should be taken into account.
Available audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0
stereo. Nothing special, but clear and easy to understand, fine for its
Notes from Interviews with Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen.
A curious crossbreed of a show
utilizing the popularity of both CSI-type series as well as sinister,
ethereal shows like The X-Files, the series seems to have alot going for it,
and being a British series is distinctive from conventional American mystery fare; having Patrick
Stewart in the lead role is a boon to any project. He doesn't disappoint
here, and Ashley Jensen is very adept in her hard-nosed sidekick role.
Having only four episodes to make a judgement on makes the viewer wish there had been more installments so one could see how the characters fleshed out, but I still