Friday, January 25, 2019

Bosch on Amazon Prime - Series Review

Titus Welliver has long been a valuable and recognizable TV actor playing a variety of roles in commercial television. Now he's got the title role in the best police procedural I've ever seen on television. He's played featured roles in needle-moving television programs back to programs like Brooklyn South and NYPD Blue in the 1990's to That's Life early in century, the epic western Deadwood, and now forty episodes of the Amazon original Bosch, dating back to 2014. He's a distinguished and highly recognized actor who finally has a gripping, exciting television role worthy of his skills.

Titus Welliver

In the pilot episode of Bosch, we meet the title character, Detective Harry Bosch, as he and his partner Jerry Edgar, ably played by Jamie Hector, chase down a suspected child molester, separating to corner the fugitive, who Bosch confronts in an alley, shooting him when he appears to go for his gun. Bosch is brought to trial, obviously as much a victim of professional jealousy as he is a policeman who will ignore approved procedure as well as his own safety to achieve justice. In one taught five or six minute chase scene, Harry Bosch is revealed for his complexity and independence. This sort of revealing character study is rarely seen in today's commercial television, nor does it ever happen without commercial interruption.

We're now well into the third season of Bosch with its twists and turns as the underlying story continues in all the complexity and with all the nuance allowed by streaming series television. Bosch is a thorough, dedicated, smart, and tortured hero, who elicits both admiration, suspicion, and jealousy from his fellow police, as well as generating too much press for the politicians. The characters are well drawn, almost never cardboard cutouts, but real, complex human beings.

The locations drip with authenticity - the squad room, streets, bars, heat, and diversity of Los Angeles provide scenes of gripping tension as well as shedding bright sunlight, on the City itself as it comes to life. Meanwhile, the the series highlights political process within the police department itself, as well as the city as a whole.

In many ways, Bosch can stand, along with so many other distinguished streaming programs, as a new paradigm for how to make and how to watch television. Not constrained from having to shoehorn forty-four minutes of content into each hour of commercial television while breaking continuity into little bits, streaming allows stories to continue through ten episodes and link from season to season. Instead of a bungled short story, viewers can now consume an entire video novel at their own pace. 

Bosch currently has four seasons available on Amazon Prime Video with season five in production and a green light for season six. Perhaps the biggest problem with video streaming seems to be completing an entire season's shows, often ten episodes, in a binge of over a period of several days. The viewer doesn't have to wait until next week's show is released. In the end, however, we must wait several months, or even years, for the next season to be posted. However, the offerings of series and movies are so rich as to be difficult to resist. Streaming television has significantly changed our viewing habits.

Here's the official trailer for season one of Bosch. It's on Amazon Prime:

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