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DVD Review: Eleventh Hour – The Complete Series

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Eleventh Hour is a television series that ran on CBS from October 2008 to April 2009. Based on a British series with the same name, this show stars Rufus Sewell (A Knight’s Tale, The Illusionist) as a Special Science Advisor to the FBI who is called upon in dire circumstances to solve mysterious cases. The wildly successful Jerry Bruckheimer is an executive producer of this series.

Sewell plays Dr. Jacob Hood, a brilliant biophysicist who is summoned to investigate cases when traditional means yield no results (at the “eleventh hour”, you see). Hood serves as a last line of defense for solving extremely bizarre cases all over the country. Marley Shelton (Grindhouse, A Perfect Getaway) stars as FBI Agent Rachel Young. She is Hood’s handler, and she is tasked with protecting Hood and being by his side as he travels all over the country. Although incredibly smart, Hood occasionally finds himself in dangerous situations. Young is always there to intervene and keep the doctor safe.

For the most part, cases are contained to individual episodes. Resolution is reached by the end of the hour. While this could be seen as a bit tidy, it is a tried and true formula, so I can’t really blame anyone for choosing to take the show in this direction. In one episode, healthy 11-year-old boys from Georgia are dying from heart attacks. Another case involves a family suddenly having seizures and then suffering from paralysis at the breakfast table, save for one girl who was eating the exact same meal alongside them but suffers no ill effects. The pilot episode deals with human cloning, and one episode finds Hood investigating a government super-soldier program that goes awry.

One of the highlights of this series is the timeliness of the subject matter. The same day I watched the human cloning episode, I read a news story dealing with human cloning. An episode tackles the all-too-appropriate issue of performance enhancing drugs for athletes that could easily be lifted straight from the sports pages. The cases are all rooted in scientific fact (definitely some more than others), and scenes featuring Hood researching and seeking answers in the lab and in the field are fascinating.

Sewell turns in a fine performance as Dr. Hood. Very eccentric by nature, details about this character are slowly revealed over the course of the season. As viewers learn more about his back story, he becomes more of a tragic, sympathetic character. His wry sense of humor works well, especially when paired with the consummate straight lady that Shelton plays very well. Shelton portrays being fed up with Hood’s antics nicely, but at the end of the day you can tell these two characters care for one another very much. In the final few episodes, Felix Lee is introduced as a third member of the team. Omar Benson Miller (CSI: Miami, Miracle at St. Anna) plays this new addition that is excited about the opportunity to work with the famous Dr. Hood.

Eleventh Hour is an entertaining addition to the expanding volume of procedural dramas on network television. The dynamic between the two lead characters caused this show to receive some comparisons to The X-Files during its initial run, even though it has no supernatural elements. While ratings were good for this program early on, they eventually faltered and CBS pulled the plug. The dialogue can be a bit cheesy and over the top at times, but the plots are engaging with plenty of unexpected twists along the way. This short-lived series may not have lasted a very long time on the air, but it is definitely worth discovering on video.

The 18-episode, six-disc set is being offered exclusively through WB’s online store

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