For decades now, American TV has adapted some of the better British shows. The one that comes to my mind immediately is Man About The House which we know as Three’s Company. There have been more successes, but there have been some flops as well — Coupling comes to mind, which was a smash in the UK, but fizzled out very quickly here. Later this month CBS will be premiering The Eleventh Hour, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The BBC version is quiet and reserved and those word simply do not describe Bruckheimer.
Before the US premiere I decided to see the inspiration for the series. Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: TNG, X-Men) is Professor Ian Hood, Special Advisor to the government's Joint Sciences Committee, who troubleshoots threats stemming from or targeting scientific endeavors. He’s joined on these missions by Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Extras) who is a Special Branch operative who protects Hood since over the years Hood has made powerful enemies through his work.
The episodes cover very wide and very interesting topics, from rogue black market human cloning, ruthless polluters, the outbreak of a hybrid smallpox/tanapox virus, and global warming to a government conspiracy to produce heavy water and help cure cancer.
Stewart is excellent as always and Jensen is quite good as his reluctant bodyguard. I only wish that there were more episodes produced, but British series always seem to leave while still popular and not overstaying their welcome, and follow the old adage of always leave them wanting more.
The extras are very disappointing; what we get are text interviews with Stewart and Jensen, as well as filmographies, quite dull for a DVD. My favorite part of the DVD is all the extras the format allows and this time that opportunity wasn’t seized. I will say that I liked what I saw in the four episodes that ITV produced and hopefully that will translate into interesting TV over here. The Eleventh Hour might not be worth buying for your collection, but it’s definitely worth renting or putting in your DVD queue.