Bosch Season 4 Episode 1 [7/10]

This review won’t be of much use outside countries like Australia, where Season 4 of the outstanding TV series Bosch has just commenced showing, five months after the original U.S. release. But I’m an Aussie, so review it I must. Well, the first thing to fess up to is that I’ve been an unabashed fan of Michael Connelly’s Bosch crime novels for a quarter century, and I was riveted by TV seasons 1 to 3, so I came to this viewing positively disposed. I haven’t listed the director because the various episodes rotate any number of writers and directors, but I wonder if Aaron Lipstadt, who directs for the first time, is the reason I was immediately struck by a muted tone to the drama commencing with the shooting, at the top of a Bunker Hill funicular, of a defense attorney loathed by LA’s police. The intrinsic plot is freighted with tension but plays out very much in police procedural style, and at the end I wasn’t left with that ache, so familiar from the older seasons, that I simply had to binge watch the next one. Titus Welliver has grown ever more towering in the skin of Bosch, and the other ensemble actors cannot be faulted, but again, no performances stand out. The camerawork is tight without offering grandeur, the settings are LA-gorgeous, and the scripted dialogue is its usual gritty and sharp. Roll on, Episode 2, I say, but let’s hope the mood lifts.

Maniac directed by Cary Fukunaga – Episode 1 [9/10]

From its opening frame featuring  a down-and-out Emma Stone (a mesmerising performance) in a half-retro, half-futuristic New York, Fukunaga stuns with sumptuous scenes and wonderful cinematography. Jonah Hill is perfect as the hallucinating depressive son of a scion. In the second half the two volunteer into a pharma’s clearly dodgy group trial, and the signals are clear that this is going to be one trippy experience, perhaps a la Legion (one of my faves from 2017), and that the clashing duo will team up. All the bit players are superb. Not a moment of Maniac is wasted, not a moment is predictable. What a stunner of an opening episode!