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Diary of an Ass Monkey
Two US versions of high concept British detective shows ran against each other last night.

Created by former Doctor Who writer Stephen Gallagher and Americanized by Jerry Bruckheimer and his CSI crew, Eleventh Hour is the story of eccentric scientist Jacob Hood and his FBI agent partner/bodyguard Rachel Young. They specialize in investigating odd crimes of a scientific nature. Rufus Sewell (Dark City) does quite well as Hood, although I'm not sure he has enough likability to score with American television viewers. That leaves a lot of the heavy lifting to relative newcomer Marley Shelton as Rachel, who just might be able to pull it off. Certainly the CSI lead-in will help. Unlike fellow X-Files descendant Fringe, which is more crime show meets mad science, Eleventh Hour looks like it's going to stick to more realistic science, something that could give them an edge with people who generally roll the eyes at sci-fi. I'll definitely watch more.

If you've never seen the original Life On Mars, it was one of the best British programs I've ever seen. Detective Sam Tyler wakes up, completely unharmed, from a car crash in 1973. The only problem: he thinks he's from our time. So either he's crazy or he accidentally traveled in time or his body is lying in a coma in the future and everything around him is just some kind of dream. Or nightmare. Now this forensic science and psychology-using, by-the-book cop has to solve crimes alongside a group of suspect-beating, thugs who rely on violence and instinct.

Life On Mars was originally Americanized by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal), but his pilot episode was terrible. So they handed it over to the crew behind October Road along with a lot of money for a big name cast. Jason O'Mara plays Sam Tyler. He's a little too action hero-looking for my tastes, but he does a decent job. Harvey Keitel plays Gene Hunt a bit differently from his predecessor, the amazing Philip Glenister. His Hunt is older and a tad kinder, still rough and violent, but not quite as much so. Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, and Lisa Bonet also star. All in all, it's pretty good. The episode packed some pretty good emotional punches and didn't mess things up too badly at all. I'll watch it again.