Smallscreen Reviews

CBS' 'Eleventh Hour' a smart science whodunit

By April MacIntyre Oct 9, 2008, 7:23 GMT

CBS' 'Eleventh Hour' a smart science whodunit

03/10/2008 - Rufus Sewell - stars in CBS\' Eleventh Hour...Beverly Hilton Hotel - Beverly Hills, CA. USA © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos

CBS’ new series “Eleventh Hour” is a nice surprise on the detective-with-a-twist premise this fall, and like the other really good new CBS’ drama “The Mentalist” which was unfairly pegged as a “Psych” knock-off, this show has been erroneously compared to Fox’s Fringe. 

If pressed, I would categorize it as a “House”-tinged tale for detectives and FBI specialists.  

This show stands on its own with a terrific lead, Rufus Sewell, who is Dr. Jacob Hood.  This series is based on a limited-run British series which starred Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen.

Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer and Danny Cannon is the director, which ensures that this show has a solid art department, editing, special and visual effects team and other key crafts that make it look great and sound good.

With a piercing, intelligent gaze, Rufus Sewell is Hood, an emotionally flat-lined brainiac science adviser who is called in for the really tough cases, the ones that require an intuitive genius to piece together the non-sensical clues. 

The borderline Asperger’s Syndrome-afflicted Hood has a minder; a tough, career-focused blonde who is his human buffer and handler, Rachel Young (Marley Shelton).

From the two episodes I watched, this appears to be straight-forward story-telling; there is no mythology building or large ensemble cast that layers the action with B, C and D storylines.  The second episode fared better for me than the pilot.

There is a revealing scene in the second episode of the review copy that gives us a bit insight to Hood; he nursed his now deceased wife for years and has subsequently shut down emotionally, and yet the aloof Hood was able to relate to one suspect based on their shared experience of deep grief.

The pilot, "Cardiac", opens with an eleven-year old boy tearing through town on his bike through oncoming traffic, and then suddenly he falls over and dies of a heart attack on the spot.  The episode takes Hood and Rachel to Georgia where the town has a host of odd characters, helicopter mothers and creepy kids, and a certain pre-pubescent psycho with a MENSA membership and keen knowledge of poisonous plants.

The second episode titled "Resurrection" takes us to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, where human cloning and lots of disposable income fuel a rash of discarded fetuses, and lead our team to uncover an unholy pact and group of majorly unethical scientists. 

The network shared that the show will tackle subjects such as virus containment, Autism. cryogenics and genetically modified food. 

The trick for the success of this one will be giving the talented Sewell lots of great percolating scripts to unfold his fascinating Dr. Hood character and connect with his co-workers and the audience even more.

"Eleventh Hour" premieres on Thursday, October 9 at 10 et/pt on CBS.



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