In its final acts, the pilot to Bosch, one of five “Primetime” pilots released by Amazon, is quoting Friedrich Nietzsche “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” One of several pulpy moments for this perspective neo-noir series. It’s soon followed up by an intentionally groan worthy metaphor involving Sun Tzu. Bosch isn’t technically bad it’s rather competent in all respects. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out this had been in development at TNT or AMC at some point.
I just don’t want to see more of it. The whole point of Amazon’s Pilot Season is to taste test what their customers want, a sound strategy. Bosch’s pilot is just so boilerplate. The entertainment world already has hundreds of crime shows with sad sack lead detectives. They’ve already been going on and have an entrenched base of support. With nothing new to really offer the genre or viewers there seems little reason for Bosch to get a season order. One could argue that Amazon and Netflix would be inclined to make such baseline genre pieces as a way to entice a wider amount of customers. But in the cord cutting revolution, the consumers has so much choice and streaming libraries are so vast that going to the foundation is unnecessarily repetitive. Why watch this when you could watch NYPD Blue, Homicide, Wise Guy, or Hill Street Blues and learn about the evolution of a genre in the process. Consumers want to see something daring and adventurous.Orange is the New Black would only work on premium cable or Netflix. The pilot shows now such inclination. By most accounts the series would follow Connelly’s novel City of Bones.
With that said Titus Welliver is entertaining enough as lead sad sack, Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. On trial for killing a suspect in another case, Harry weasels his way into a cold case murder involving an abused 13 year old boy. Bosch is treated as a necessary evil by his department. Cleared of wrong doing on their end, they can’t afford to lose face and let one of their own out to dry according to his boss played by Lance Reddick. The pilot gives hints of his background, an army picture on his desk, and I’ve never read any of the books featuring him by Michael Connelly, reinforcing the need to view Bosch and the series through the lens genre.
As pilots go Bosch dosen’t changes things up. Plenty of dialog between characters who have known each other talking about the other in ways that only make sense in TV Land. Other than some obvious dialog ques the pilot comes off more like the first chapter (not surprising) and is sure of where it wants to go. Director Jim McKay uses the hills of Los Angelos to make a couple artful moments.
Bosch is so utterly competent in production and storytelling. It just isn’t one I want to see right now, not when series like True Detectives uses the same pulpy base to explore masculinity in more interesting ways. It’d of been better that Bosch make me dislike it than leave me apathetic as it battles it out in the second annual Amazon Hunger Games.
Bosch and the other Aamazon Pilots can be viewed here.