Tuesday 14 June 2016

Late To The Party: Bosch

As long-time readers of E14 might know, and friends of mine definitely do, I'm a sucker for a good crime drama. Whether it's the classic Sherlock Holmes on another one of his ingenious deduction-fests, or a more modern take on detectives like Thorne, I can't get enough of the good ones. On that subject, anyone who knows a good one should feel free to comment and recommend me some!

One show that's not worth recommending me, however, is Bosch. I've seen it. I really like it. I'm now going to give you a few reasons why.

I'll happily admit to being very late to this one, as my TV watching habits have not previously lent themselves fantastically well to watching series. However, the excellent Amazon Prime Video (other streaming services are available, but need to get their arses in gear on the feature I'm about to praise) allows a user to download episodes and movies to their device for offline viewing. This, I did. This, I now do on my commute. It makes the time pass much more enjoyably, albeit no quicker.

Bosch, based on the character of the same name from the Michael Connelly books, is an instantly relatable dude for someone like me. He's an old-school detective struggling to find his place in the modern world (indeed, a lot of the cultural references really make it clear how recently this show is meant to be set, with references even to Ferguson in Missouri) and suffering for his reluctance to engage in the overly political system dogging his job as a homicide detective in Hollywood. As anyone who's worked in a large corporation will tell you, that feeling is not uncommon in people who are referred to as having an "old-school" mentality.

One of the pieces that really connects the show together is the excellent job done by Titus Welliver in the lead role of Harry Bosch. I remember well when the initial casting announcement was made and I...couldn't quite see it. It was something about his look that just wasn't quite how I'd pictured him from reading the first novel in the series. I will say categorically now that there is no way I can ever picture anyone else in that role now that I've seen Titus Welliver do it. He's just masterful. He portrays just the right amount of grizzled "I'm getting too old for this shit" attitude while still managing to keep Bosch likeable and sympathetic.

A hero is only as good as his villain, however, and Bosch has an excellent one in this series in the form of Raynard Waits, who is equal parts calm and determined. He's a man with a deeply dark past which begins unclear to us, gets clarified, then becomes murky again as the series progresses. It might sound like I'm slating the writing there, but rest assured that this is just my ham-fisted way of saying that the writers do a great job of keeping you guessing.

Around Welliver, as well as his tremendous antagonist (played by Jason Gedrick in an excellent performance) are a strong supporting cast. Jamie Hector does a great job playing off Bosch as his partner, Jerry Edgar. His is a different weariness, a certain sense of knowledge that Harry is not necessarily always wrong when he despairs of the limitations of the modern policing system. Indeed, most of Bosch's police colleagues are played by excellent actors with particular nods to Amy Aquino and Lance Reddick as some of the stand-out players in this policing ensemble. Through a combination of colleagues who respect Bosch's accomplishments, all the way to those who find him the poster child for how not to do it, the show gives us a spectrum which really fleshes out the storyline.

By the end of the first series (which is where I'm currently up to) we gain so much insight into Harry's character that we find ourselves empathising with him immensely. At some point, I feel a rewatch will be in order to see how the details we learn of his past have the chance to affect how we see him in some of his actions and his reactions in earlier episodes. A court case (which runs throughout the first few episodes in order to give us a bit of background into Bosch's style and moral character), I imagine, would make for particularly grim viewing when you know certain truths about Bosch which you come to learn later on in the series.

Also of note, and something that is often overlooked, is the superb music throughout. From the title theme tune, which mixes a bit of the older jazz sounds with more recent beats (a theme throughout the series, which is why I like the fit so much), the series continues with a strong score and some excellent choices of background music. If you enjoy jazz, like Mr Bosch, you'll be a happy person with regards to that sort of thing!

So there you have it. I really, really liked the first series of Bosch and will most definitely be checking out the second series. If this sounds up your street, Bosch is available on Amazon Prime Video for your viewing pleasure, and may even be out on DVD somewhere at some point if not already.

Update: I'm 70% done on Season 2 at the time of publication, and my opinion of the show has only improved. The second series adds an incredible side-plot which parallels Bosch's investigation while roping him into it in ways that complement his character. Top-notch stuff, and no mistake.

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus is always on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media. Rob is the host of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train" and "The E14 Gamecast", as well as the host of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel. He also appears on the Talk Star Wars podcasts.

Rob Wade on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment