Eleventh Hour (review)

Less a traditional TV series than a series of made-for-television movies, this British import — which has not aired on American TV — stars Patrick Stewart (X-Men: The Last Stand) as Ian Hood, a governmental troubleshooter who investigates scientific mysteries with the assistance of his bodyguard/all-around Watson, Rachel Young (Ashley Jensen: Topsy-Turvy). Each of these four 90-minute installments delve into hot-button issues of the moment, from cloning and global warming to cryptography and viral pandemic, some more incisively than others, but always with a relentless urgency that is immediately gripping, even if later you suddenly realize that the science may have been more MacGuffin than anything of substance. Stewart is as charmingly gruff as ever, and Ian’s contentious relationship with Rachel is delightfully upside down in every way dramatically possible, from her masculine aggression — she’s quick to draw her gun — to his inability to handle everyday technology (cell phones, email), for which he must turn to her despite his brainiac-itude in other areas. None of it is really science fiction, but it will appeal to fans of the genre, as well as those of mysteries, thrillers… hell, to anyone who loves enthralling TV. Interviews with Stewart and Jensen are the only extras.

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