I've been watching this show from the very first episode. I have to admit I wasn't very convinced but I gave it a chance and watched the second episode and it got better. Rufus Sewell does a great job playing the absent minded professor, that needs to be taken care of in order to keep him out of danger. Marley Shelton, on the other hand, started out a little bit off (as well as her character) but has improved a lot in recent episodes and now I just can't imagine another actress playing Rachel Young. The chemistry between the main characters is excellent and is growing with every episode. Not romantic relationship is implied (nor I want to see one), but those conversations between Hood and Rachel where they talk about their lives are very interesting and they come out natural. I hope CBS gives this show a second season. The show is different from those procedural shows. Science may be boring but this show gives you the other side of it. Sure sometimes the science is inaccurate but, what isn't on TV? There is absolutely no comparison to Fringe since the characters have an interesting dynamic and are both very strong.If you haven't watched this show, give it a chance. You might get hooked.
Eleventh Hour is a breath of fresh air in the world of prime time TV. You have the brilliant biophysicist Dr. Jacob Hood and his FBI handler Rachel Young, along with the newest edition to the Elventh Hour, Special Agent Felix. It's more realistic than it's prime time predecessor CSI Las Vegas, even though some things are a bit hard to believe and seem sci fi-ish to ordinary people. It contains a bit of a slighty-more-than-friends sort of chemistry between Rachel and Jacob that can be compared to early GSR.It gives a very real perspective of things. Episode 4 of Season 1 was about Savant Syndrome, and there was once a scandal of sorts back in the 80s that happened that was rather similar to such things. To see that expanded upon in these episodes is a nice change from just cold blooded murder you see in all 3 CSI's.
Even when the US version is good in its own right, the foreign version is usually better - and sadly, this ELEVENTH HOUR is far from good: The UK's Dr. Ian Hood (Patrick Stewart) is a grumpy retired widower physicist and science adviser for the British Government. He's brilliant but hardly omniscient, opinionated, so irritating to all sides of the political spectrum and thoughtless about his own safety that he's assigned a Special Branch bodyguard, and lost outside the areas of his expertise - his bodyguard, for instance, has to show him how to log onto a hotel's wifi connection! The US's Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell) is a soulfully hunky widower professor of "Science" in his early Forties who is brilliant about everything the show requires him to be brilliant about, always right no matter what, and lacking in any discernible personality.The UK's Rachel Young (Ashley Jensen) is moderately good-looking and working-class tough, and serves as Dr. Hood's Special Branch bodyguard, driver and all-around keeper. She always goes into any room first and checks to make sure it's safe, scolds Hood when he does something risky, and keeps an eye out for problems. She's a combination of street-smart, warily respectful of his intelligence and loyal to his purpose, yet often exasperated at his personality quirks and clearly wishing her job was something other than babysitting a brilliant and energetic old grouch.The US's Rachel Young is portrayed by the drop-dead gorgeous Marley Shelton, unconvincingly playing a tomboyish FBI Special Agent. I've liked Ms. Shelton in other parts, but her character makes no sense here since this Hood seems too self-sufficient to need her - she's reduced to mainly flashing her (fake-looking) FBI ID, occasionally shooting at or punching someone, and listening to Hood show off how brilliant he is. The US pilot (which I missed) apparently mentions Rachel is Hood's FBI-assigned security detail, but that's never followed up in subsequent episodes.Ms. Shelton has the misfortune of looking far too porcelain-skinned and perfectly-coiffed to be believable as written - which is where the real problem lies, since Ms. Shelton has proved elsewhere she can be both a stunner and tough as nails. It would be easy for the writers to acknowledge and play off that dichotomy, as Robert Rodriguez did in the "Planet Terror" half of GRINDHOUSE - except that the US writers don't seem aware there's a problem. The US version also veers wildly back and forth regarding Rachel's relationship with Hood - one moment she needs to have the plot explained to her, the next she's the skeptical crack investigator, the next she's mildly irritated by Hood's barely-discernible eccentricities...and the next, the two of them are making goo-goo eyes at each other and flirting! The UK Hood's adviser with a roving brief to deal with abuses of cutting-edge science feels realistic enough to work in the context of the show, with believable office politics and bureaucracy for the characters to deal with. The writing, while not immune to the occasional "Huh?" moment, is generally good with decent plotting, interesting character development and witty dialogue. The science may be a bit "day after tomorrow", but its presented in such a way as to make you believe that if it's not actually being worked on, the steps leading up to it certainly are. Maybe I'm being suckered by Patrick Stewart's acting, but I found myself at least able to accept the four-part UK series as being within the outer realm of possibility.The US version, by contrast, feels like several disjointed parts of a premise stuck together with duct tape and Superglue. Hood got his "FBI Science Adviser" gig where he never has to report in or justify his expenses, and gets Rachel as a permanent sidekick, b/c the current Director is an old college buddy of his? Hood and Rachel are often left completely on their own to solve the episode's science problems whatever facilities they can commandeer, and Rachel's All-Powerful fake-looking FBI ID and 9mm automatic, without being required to call on the vast resources of the DoJ or Homeland Security? (This has improved some in later episodes, with Rachel occasionally calling on Bureau resources.) Rachel never has to fill out any forms to justify the times she's fired her weapon or used physical force, or even fill out an expense report? The science in the US version, except in those episodes which are rewrites of the UK series, feels like Right-Wing error-riddled Voodoo pseudoscience. Even when the science might be plausible, it's treated in a ham-handed manner that feels fake - a fact not helped by dialogue and characterizations that tend towards the obvious and clichéd. I'm more inclined to believe the "off-the-map superscience" of J.J. Abrams' FRINGE than the cutting-edge but supposedly possible contemporary science here.In recent episodes, the writers have introduced Omar Benson Miller as Agent Felix Lee - a large, overeager, ill-dressed, Comic Relief Black Guy. I don't expect every Black person on television to be Barack Obama or Denzel Washington - but please, don't make him a lumbering sweaty joke next to two well-dressed White people.So the US version is a poorly-written show with bad science, lame dialogue and characterizations, without even any of the CSI razzle-dazzle to make it seem all "sciencey!" I wish that, instead of selling the rights to Jerry Bruckheimer, Grenada Television had simply asked him to co-produce more episodes of the British show - because I'd gladly watch more Patrick Stewart running around England being all purposeful and cranky, whereas the US version just makes me tired, and insults my intelligence.
Naomi R. Watson
Usually NBC is the network that serves up those half-baked remakes of great foreign shows.This time, it's CBS that take a promising concept and makes it into a mess.First, the writing is apocalyptically awful, the show almost plays like a spoof of itself.The first scene has a Police Officer not only touch a container marked "Bio-Hazard" that was dumped by a suspect, but opens it and then sniffs it!! And it was supposed to be serious.The other problem this show has is Marley Shelton. She is indescribably awful. She takes he few good scenes that the script had (the ones with humor) and stomps on them with her bad, full of grimaces, acting.Rufus Sewell looks like he's about to fall into a coma at any time and shows none of the humor he is capable of.In short: what were they thinking?