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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bosch: First Half: Highly Recommended

I binge-watched the first half of Bosch on Amazon Prime Instant Video last night.  Herewith a brief, nonspoiler review.

The series is superb, and a worthy addition to streaming masterpieces such as House of Cards and Peaky Blinders on Netflix, and what The Man in the High Castle promises to be on Amazon.  These shows are spearheading a new revolution in television viewing, as far ahead of most cable today as cable was to network television when it first unveiled The Sopranos in the late 1990s.   The capacity to binge watch - available with cable usually only for series already aired, or after the DVD was released - has been coupled on Netflix and Amazon with a pace in the narrative that we've not quite seen before on the television screen.

All I'll say about the narrative of Bosch, at this point, is that it's a story that seems old for an instant - about a Dirty Harry kind of cop - which quickly pivots to originality, and surprises with twists and turns in every episode.   The writing is joyfully literate.  In the very first episode, a character asks, can you "humor us about the humerus bone"?   Bosch's love interest, a lawyer turned cop (itself a pretty original character) who wants to be a detective, is said by Bosch to have gone from "the briefcase to the billy club".   And there's a meta-quality that runs through the entire story - Bosch lives in a fancy apartment, with a great view, far above his pay grade, because he was paid a lot of money by Paramount for a movie about one of his cases.

The acting is outstanding. Annie Wersching - of 24 fame - plays Bosch's aforementioned love interest, and she's never been better.   Titus Welliver puts in the best performance of his career in the title role, and that's saying a lot, since he hit the note so well in his stint on Sons of Anarchy.  Jamie Hector from The Wire plays Bosch's partner, and Lance Reddick of Fringe as well as The Wire is on hand as the Deputy Chief aka Bosch's main boss.

It's tough, as I said, to get a fresh take on a police procedural, a genre as old on television as Dragnet in the first golden age of TV in the 1950s.  But Bosch - based on the novels by Michael Connelly, who co-created the series with Eric Overmyer (The Affair, Treme, and Boardwalk Empire are some of his credits) - has somehow managed to give us a police story we haven't seen before, and it's a riveting tale indeed.

See also Bosch: Second Half: As Fine as the First

                   another kind of police story 


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