Adaptations can be tricky. Yes, there’s usually a built in audience, but that audience can understandably feel possessive of the property being adapted. Look at the uproar over the actors cast for Fifty Shades of Grey.
There’s also the danger of being slavishly loyal to the source material. Watchmen suffered from that. It doesn’t stray from the source material, which causes it so suffer as a film.
So, how does Bosch, the only Amazon Prime dramatic pilot that’s an adaptation measure up?
Well, if you believe the reviews, it measures up quite well. It’s received the most reviews so far and they’re overwhelming positive. There were changes to Hieronymus Bosch’s character, but they’re mostly superficial and amount to little more than time shifting.
At his heart Harry Bosch is still just a Los Angeles cop working a case. His partner, Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) has his back. Bosch is actually on trial for murder, and we see the shooting in question as the show begins. As the episode progresses we see different takes on the same event, giving us one of the hooks of the series; did Bosch kill a man in cold blood?
Since Bosch is on trial, he’s not supposed to be catching any cases, but he finagles a weekend shift, where he promptly catches a body in the form of a skeleton in the woods. Since it’s effectively a cold case, he’s allowed to work it. As the bones are examined, it’s revealed that the victim is a 13 year-old boy who suffered years of abuse, which triggers memories of Bosch’s own abuse as a child.
Assuming the show goes to series, there appear to be two mysteries at play; did Bosch kill the suspected killer and who killed (and abused) the 13 year-old boy. Again, this is an assumption that the show will go with a season long case, like The Killing.
We also get glimpses of Bosch’s personal life. We see his ex, a hotshot forensic expert, whose profile has increased in the city. We also see that a uniformed officer appears to be harboring a crush on Bosch. Also, the killing he’s on trial for isn’t his first on the job shooting.
Bosch does not break new ground. As a detective Bosch is cut from the same cloth as Sarah Linden, Jimmy McNulty and Tim Bayliss. But as a show Bosch is comforting in it’s familiarity. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a well done cop show and based on the pilot, that’s exactly what Bosch will turn out to be.