Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Content Director of Televised Revolution. His musings on television have been heard across ABC Radio, on websites like The Guardian and Crikey, and drunkenly in pubs across the country. At night he spends too many hours watching repeats of Cheers.

What To Watch? Togetherness, Eye Candy, Schitt’s Creek, and 12 Monkeys [Week of 12 January 2015]

Another busy week for TV in January. Along with the below high profile programs, this week delivers series returns for Shameless, Episodes, House of Lies, Girls, Looking, House of Lies, Kroll Show, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Broad City, Workaholics, Suspects, Helix, and Call The Midwife.

The biggest problem with TV nowadays is that even the weakest shows still look kind of alright. This weeks programming offers several examples of this.

* * * *

Airs: 11 January 2015 (HBO – US)
The Duplass brothers Mark and Jay have both had strong TV ties in the past with the two recurring together on The Mindy Project, while Mark stars in The League and Jay in Transparent. The two have built their name, however, through low budget ‘mumblecore’ films The Puffy Chair, Baghead, and Jeff Who Lives At Home. With Togetherness, this marks their first foray into TV behind the camera with the brothers writing and directing the series. It looks promising, even if it does appear to be examining a well-worn subject matter of suburban malaise.

Eye Candy
Airs: 12 January 2015 (MTV – US)
Based on a novel by Goosebumps writer RL Stine, Eye Candy marks a further shift by MTV away from teen relationship light-dramedy series like Awkward and Faking It toward weightier genre shows. Teen Wolf was a big success for MTV and it appears they’re trying to build on that success with this new series.

Airs: 13 January 2015 (ITV2 – UK)
Imagine meeting the girl of your dreams just 15 minutes before the end of the world? That’s the premise of this comedy that places twentysomething brits into a Walking Dead-like apocalypse (sans zombies) where they face comedic terrors like cannibals and cooking with ones own body waste.

Parks & Recreation – Final Season
Airs: 13 January 2015 (NBC – US)
Few TV shows have been as consistently nice as Parks & Recreation, while maintaining such an intense following by hip young viewers. The show has also been a ratings disappointment since it’s first season, meaning it is a miracle that we’ve been able to enjoy seven seasons of the series. While the show has passed its peak, the show will be thoroughly missed.

Note that double episodes of Parks & Rec will air as NBC burns off the series.

Schitt’s Creek
Airs: 13 January 2015 (CBC – Canada)
Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara star in a series co-created by Levy and his son Daniel. Schitt’s Creek revolves around a wealthy couple who lose everything and are forced to live in a small town that they once purchased on a lark.

Man Seeking Woman
Airs: 14 January 2015 (FXX – US)
Jay Baruchel stars as a naive romantic on a quest for love in this series based on a book by SNL’s Simon Rich. A tired premise and the trailer below looks a little rubbish, but it’s impossible not to want to watch a show starring Jay Baruchel.

12 Monkeys
Airs: 16 January 2015 (Syfy – US)
The film 12 Monkeys is an oft-forgotten brilliant time travel movie that really deserves to be better celebrated. This show will hopefully encourage people to re-watch the original film. The film deserves better than this remake TV series appears to offer.

Sensible Chuckle – Dario Russo [Episode 2]

Dan Barrett sits down with Danger 5 Director / co-creator/co-writer/actor Dario Russo about the second season return of Danger 5. Russo explains how Shaun Micallef got involved in the series, who takes care of business in a bathroom while keeping underpants on, and how it works casting and directing your own father as one of history’s greatest monsters.

This is the second of seven podcasts that will tie in with season 2 of Danger 5. Future episodes will feature interviews with other Danger 5 actors and the creators of the show. Each episode will focus on a different episode, providing quasi-director commentaries to watch along with the show.

Sensible Chuckle can be listened to and downloaded from here:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

[Review] Girls – Season 4 Series Return

With season 3, Girls stopped being fun to watch.

The characters narcissism reached new highs, Lena Dunham’s profile skyrocketed even further, and the shows focus wavered a little as the show seemingly readjusted character arcs following actor Christopher Abbott’s resignation from the show. Abbott leaving left ‘Marnie’ without much narrative drive, while also leaving his characters friend ‘Ray’ further on the outer – his connection to the series protagonists already tenuous.

Thankfully season 4 redresses some of the issues with the third season. Hannah is taken off the board, with the character studying a post-grad writing course in Ohio. By isolating the character, Hannah is forced to tackle head-on her extreme narcissism that so often causes so much pain for others (season 3’s confrontation scene at the magazine being a great example that is mirrored to great effect midway into this fourth season). Her absence also means the other characters in the show are forced to embark upon their own narrative tracks independently from the series core character. It strengthens the show considerably.

Narcissism has always been at the core of the show, driving so many of the characters actions. This season positions this consciously as the theme of the season – Can these characters break away from being so narcissistic? Is it an attitude they will just mature out of? Appearing in a small guest role in the season return, Natasha Lyonne establishes the notion that narcissism is a generational issue that affects only those younger than herself. As the season plays out, Girls is set to explore whether that’s a legitimate claim. By looking further inward at the attitude which propels so much of the series narrative, Girls may be set to come out of this season reborn and all the better for it.

Girls s4The biggest problem with Girls continues to be the boys in the show. Actor Adam Driver, who is such a phenomenal screen presence that the show often steps up to provide him with great material, yet fails to provide the same for titular Girls Shoshanna and Jessa. Similarly, while Ray is saddled with a dopey multi-episode storyline in the first half of season 4 dealing with noise pollution, actor Alex Karpovsky is compelling on screen in a way that most of the cast simply can’t match. For a show about Girls, these two male leads continue to drive so many of the shows most engaging scenes.

Fans of the show will be happy with the series return and anyone who has fallen away from the show is advised to give the series another look. Half-hour dramedy’s like Girls often play best when watched in chunks of episodes, so it may be wise to bank a few episodes up before re-entering the world of the show. This first episode is perfectly fine (good even), but the weakest of the five episodes sent out by HBO for review.

For season four, Girls is back and may be the best the show has ever been.

Girls airs in Australia on Showtime. Season 4 returns Monday 12 January 2015 at 7:30pm.

Netflix By The Regions Report: Sweden

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched in Sweden in October 2012. Currently it costs SEK 89 (US$11.16) per month to subscribe to the service. It’s competition is HBO Nordic and Viaplay. Since the launch of Netflix into the region, there has been a 24% decline in packaged video spend.

Sweden is a technology friendly country. 94% of its people have a TV set, 91% are internet-connected, 74% have a smart phone, and 40% own a tablet.

In early 2014, it was reported that Netflix had 880,000 subscribers in Sweden.

While many of the TV titles are well-known to Netflix subscribers from other parts of the world (New GirlWalking Dead, Archer, Californication, etc), the library does offer quite a few Scandanavian TV show titles in the mix, including expected favourites like The Bridge and Wallander, but also less well known shows like Real Humans, Hellfjord, and Arn: The Knight Templar.

Their film library is also generally good, with a strong emphasis on crime dramas.

There are 1582 titles in the Sweden store (as per 8 January 2015).


Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Suits (TV), Drop Dead Diva (TV), Sherlock (TV), Dallas Buyers Club, The Spectacular Now, Friends (TV), Grimm (TV), The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (TV), Out of The Furnace, Marco Polo (TV), Gossip Girl (TV), Orphan Black (TV), House of Lies (TV), Stargate Universe (TV), Crossing Lines (TV), Modern Family (TV), Homeland (TV), Merlin (TV), How I Met Your Mother (TV), The Rebound, Red Dawn, Orange Is The New Black (TV), Sons of Anarchy (TV), Jackass 3, A Little Bit of Heaven, The Lego Movie, Brooklyn Nine Nine (TV), The Fighter, 300, Monsters University, Under The Dome (TV), London Boulevard, Prison Break (TV), The Score, Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse, Winters Tale, The Mechanic, We’re The Millers, Bomb Patrol, Blitz, American Horror Story (TV), New Girl (TV), The Intouchables, White Collar (TV), Letters To Juliet, Hannah Montanna (TV), Danny The Dog, Mad Men (TV), Taken 2, Blue Mountain State (TV), Elementary (TV), Violetta (TV), Arrow (TV), All Hail King Julien (TV), The Usual Suspects, Wreck It Ralph, The Vampire Diaries (TV), Family Guy (TV), Supernatural (TV), The Bridge (TV), Hangover Pt 3, Home Improvement (TV), The Walking Dead (TV), Lone Survivor, The Borgias(TV),  Bones (TV), Pretty Little Liars (TV), Fat Sick & Nearly Dead (TV), Dexter (TV), Ocean’s Thirteen, Balls Out, Iron Man 3, The Departed, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Top Gear (TV).

Available on the service is the co-production with the US NBC ‘Welcome To Sweden’, a “comedy” created by and starring Amy Poehler’s brother Greg.

For those outside of Sweden, the real strength of this library is its Scandi-TV series. Beyond that, much of the library echoes that of other Netflix services in the region. The library is respectable.


Netflix By The Regions Report: Norway

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched into Norway in October 2012. A recent price increase has seen the monthly cost go from 79kr to 89kr (US$11.47). Norway has the highest spend on SVOD in the Nordics with 730,000 households holding an SVOD subscription in Q3 2014. This represents one in three households. Competitors include Viaplay and HBO Nordic.

With a smaller library than many other regions, there is less to choose from, but the titles that are available are very good. There are a number of gems from both mainstream Hollywood and critically acclaimed, artier fare.

The Netflix Norway library offers 1598 titles (as of 07 January 2015).


Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Dallas Buyers Club, Suits (TV), Sherlock (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (TV), Friends (TV), Grimm (TV), Drop Dead Diva (TV), Crossing Lines (TV), House of Lies (TV), Orphan Black (TV), Out of The Furnace, Modern Family (TV), Monsters University, The Score, Marco Polo (TV), How I Met Your Mother (TV), Homeland (TV), Sons of Anarchy (TV), The Spectacular Now, The Usual Suspects, Jackass 3, She’s Out of My League, The Lego Movie, Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse, Mad Men (TV), Empire of The Sun, The Fighter, Brooklyn Nine Nine (TV), The Borgias (TV), Orange is The New Black (TV), The 300, Winters Tale, Amelie, The Intouchables, LA Confidential, The Mechanic, The Bridge (TV), Under The Dome (TV), The Departed, The Rebound, Moonrise Kingdom, The Lincoln Lawyer, Conviction, Heat, Family Guy (TV), New Girl (TV), Blitz, We’re The Millers, Prison Break (TV), The Untouchables, Elementary (TV), Stargate Universe (TV), Kill The Irishman, The Killing – US (TV), Wreck It Ralph, Taken 2, White Collar (TV), Arrow (TV), American Horror Story (TV), Man on Fire, The King’s Speech, All Hail King Julien (TV), Ocean’s Thirteen, Silver Linings Playbook, Everest, Luther, When Harry Met Sally, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Dexter (TV), Merlin (TV), Planet Earth (TV), Lone Survivor, Broadchurch (TV), The Fall (TV).

One of the stand-out titles in the library is the criminally underseen Real Humans, a show that examines our technology-obsessed society through this world of consumer level humanoid robots.

It’s not a huge library, but its a good library. With a good mix of TV and movies (including a healthy number of Norwegian films), Netflix Norway delivers a valued service.


Netflix By the Regions Report: Netherlands

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched in the Netherlands in September 2013. The monthly subscription cost is €7.99 (US$9.48) for access to two simultaneous streams or €11.99 (US$14.23) for four simultaneous streams. The Netherlands, which once stood as the primary physical entry point for film prints entering Europe, has kept up with technology, embracing online consumption in a big way. Broadband consumption has reached 80%, average households get 4Mbps–20Mbps with 100Mbps capabilities following new fibre being laid nationwide.

Core competitors in the region include HBO Nordic, Videoland, Film1, and KPN. Within months of Netflix’s launch in the Netherlands, competitor service Ximon shut their doors.

Despite offering one of the smaller Netflix libraries, Netflix Netherlands has a strong selection of known films and TV shows in the library. The film titles, in particular, are a wealth of beloved titles. Where the Netherlands library suffers is with a relatively limited range of TV series.


The Netflix Netherlands library offers 1394 titles (as of 07 January 2015).

Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Oblivion, Brooklyn Nine Nine (TV), Arrow (TV), Homeland (TV),Frozen, Under The Dome (TV), Pretty Little Liars (TV), Suits (TV), Appleseed: Alpha, Breaking Bad (TV), Grimm (TV), Revolution (TV), The Mentalist (TV), The Originals (TV), Identity Thief, Mama, Prison Break (TV), The Hungover Games, Tangled, How I Met Your Mother (TV), Modern Family (TV), The Divide, Snatch, Orange Is The New Black (TV), All Hail King Julien (TV), Lost (TV), Sons of Anarchy (TV), Deadwood (TV), Married With Children (TV), High Plains Drifter, The Returned (TV), River Monsters (TV), Once Upon A Time (TV), Dexter (TV), Mad Men (TV), Instinct, Fargo (TV), Sherlock (TV), Seven, The Americans (TV), The Odd Life of Timothy Green, New Girl (TV), The Killing – US (TV), Family Guy (TV), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Orphan Black (TV), Zero Dark Thirty (TV), Falling Skies (TV), Broadchurch (TV), Man On A Ledge, The Prestige, Oz The Great & Powerful, Man on Fire, Mystic River, Lone Survivor, The Usual Suspects, White Collar (TV), Dragonfly, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Day of The Jackal, Luther (TV), Django Unchained, Twin Peaks (TV), Elementary (TV), Scarface, Saving Mr Banks, LA Confidential, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, The Unbelievers, Margin Call, Fringe (TV), Wreck It Ralph, World War II In Colour (TV), Moonrise Kingdom.

There are very few opportunities to really use Netflix Netherlands to its strength, which is TV marathons. While there are a handful of good drama series in the library, it’s nothing to be overly excited about. The film collection, however, really is very good.

[Review] Agent Carter – Marvel’s No. 1 Broad

Despite significant successes at the global box office, Marvel have maintained two major black dots against their name:

  • They’re ten films in without one starring a female lead.
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

With Agent Carter, Marvel are addressing both of these in one go with a female-led action adventure series that provides more entertainment in its opening two episodes than MAoSHIELD offered in its entire 22 episode first season. Those still watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. insist that it’s gotten better than the dog of a show that debuted in 2013. And it has. But it’s still not something one would ever recommend that anyone watches. Agent Carter gets a very strong recommendation as slight, but vibrant entertainment.

For those unfamiliar with the character, all one really needs to know is that Agent Peggy Carter was Captain America’s US Army liaison/love interest during World War II until he sacrificed himself at the end of the first Captain America movie. As this show starts off, the war is over and the British Peggy is back in New York where she has difficulty being taken seriously as an agent with the men in the office treating her as nothing better than a tea lady. Despite her being the smartest, most qualified agent in the room.

AgentCarterPromoAgent Carter, set in post war New York, is a classy, jazz-filled period show that is everything one expects it to be. Both the staging of the series and the temperament of the series lead, the show both looks and feels like Australian series Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries.

Hayley Atwell really drives this show, playing Peggy as a tough as nails agent who is frustrated by the lack of empowerment she’s provided by her colleagues. She’s a funny, charming, and altogether gorgeous 1940’s broad. Girls will want to be her when they grow up and boys will want to marry her when they grow up. She’s just wonderful.

While the show is eminently watchable, two episodes in there are a few aspects of the series that are disappointing. The first episode, which establishes the season-long arc of needing to save the reputation of wealthy military industrialist Howard Stark, is just too heavy on character threads hanging from the first Captain America movie. Without the film, it’s difficult to understand exactly who Stark is. The flashbacks to the film are also frustrating as they’re simply not needed. The intent is clearly to tie the series closer to the big screen films, but the flashbacks just alienate the audience who never saw the film. It implies that the audience are missing crucial information that just isn’t needed for the show.

It’d also be nice to have more women in prominent roles on the show. While Peggy Carter is absolutely wonderful, the only other woman to be seen is a trod-upon waitress (Lyndsy Fonseca) who is seeking to befriend Carter (presumably…she could well be a spy).

While not amazing TV, Agent Carter is eminently watchable and will make for great family viewing with older kids.

Netflix By the Regions Report: Mexico

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched into Mexico in September 2011 at an initial cost of 99 pesos per month. A recent price rise and the introduction of tiered pricing means Netflix now costs 89 pesos ($US5.96) for the SD single screen subscription, 109 pesos ($US7.29) for HD and two simultaneous screens, and 149 pesos (US$9.97) for HD and four simultaneous screens. New streaming competitor Clarovideo costs a monthly subscription fee of 69 pesos (US$4.62).

Netflix Mexico is a treasure trove of forgotten and one-season TV wonders. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all – the strength of streaming services is that ignored shows can find a new audience in a second life. Sam Neil in the series The Triangle, the Knight Rider re-make, a mini-series starring Jason Priestley about Canadians climbing My Everest called ‘Everest’, The Bionic Woman re-make, and a 2007 Spanish-language Zorro series are among the many treasures.

The Netflix Mexico library offers 2347 titles (as of 06 January 2015).


Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Modern Family (TV), El Senor de los Cielos (TV), Mr Peabody & Sherman, Toy Story of Terror, How I Met Your Mother (TV), Marco Polo (TV), Despicable Me, Friends (TV), The Croods, Toy Story 3, What If, Family Guy (TV), Instructions Not Included, Vikings (TV), The Good Lie, The Walking Dead (TV), Elementary (TV), The Wolf of Wall Street, Tangled, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (TV), Real Steel, 21 Jump Street, House (TV), Once Upon A Time (TV), Ted, jurassic Park, Grey’s Anatomy (TV), Walk of Shame, Lone Survivor, Looper, Gifted Hands, Easy A, The Help, Dexter (TV), Boy Meets World (TV), Prison Break (TV), Revenge (TV), Cases Quien Pueda, Grown Ups, The Borgias (TV), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Desperate Housewives (TV), Under The Dome (TV), 3 Metros Sobre El Cielo, The Office – US (TV), Orphan Black (TV),  Switched At Birth (TV), Safe Haven, Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, Sugar Vs Fat, Secret Life of Babies, How To Train Your Dragon, Friends With Benefits, America’s Next Top Model (TV), All Hail King Julien (TV), Moonrise Kingdom, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (TV), La Reina Del Sur, Lie To Me (TV), Inglorious Basterds, Just Go With it, Skins, Ender’s Game, Transcendence, Amelie, Shooter, Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, The Nut Job, The Vow, Gravity Falls, Blow, Pulp Fiction, God’s Not Dead.

An interesting curiosity in the library is this horror comedy film Stitches, starring Ross Noble as a clown who is killed in a party mishap and comes back from the dead seeking revenge on the people responsible.

I don’t profess to be an expert on TV series or movies from Latin America, so I cannot speak for the value of much of the offering available here. But, the ratio of English language series against locally produced films and TV series is considerably different with far fewer US titles in the library than in Netflix libraries elsewhere. There also seems to be far more genre films available. Netflix Mexico have all manner of interesting and unusual titles. It’s worth a closer look.


Netflix By The Regions Report: Luxembourg

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Launching in Luxembourg in September 2014, Netflix costs subscribers  €7.99 (US $9.55) per month. Netflix’s European headquarters, servicing their U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia and Netherlands operations, is based out of Luxembourg thanks to their generous tax laws.

While there is a small amount of content in the Luxembourg store, it has also only been running since September, meaning the library should get larger. Considering the relative size of the population, however, one shouldn’t expect to see the library get too much larger. Despite the size of the library, there are actually a lot of solid titles in the mix to provide enough value for subscribers. It’s easy to be distracted by library sizes – just because there are more titles in a library doesn’t immediately make it a better library.

There are 1007 titles in the Luxembourg store (as per 6 January 2015).


Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Brooklyn Nine Nine (TV), Under The Dome (TV), Skyfall (TV), The Big Bang Theory (TV), Breaking Bad (TV), Modern Family (TV), Homeland (TV), Pretty Little Liars (TV), Arrow (TV), Fargo (TV), Sherlock (TV), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Avengers, Seeking Justice, The Mentalist (TV), New Girl (TV), Shooter, The Help, How I Met Your Mother (TV), Orphan Black (TV), Killer Elite, Ray Donovan (TV), Family Guy (TV), Grimm (TV), The Walking Dead (TV), The Lincoln Lawyer, Fais Pas Ci Fais Pas Ca (TV), The Departed, The Killing – US (TV), All Hail King Julien (TV), The Usual Suspects, Penny Dreadful (TV), The Divide, American Horror Story (TV), Prison Break (TV), Stromberg Der Film, Dexter (TV), Margin Call, Instinct, From Paris With Love, LA Confidential, Once Upon A Time (TV), Man On A Ledge, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Book of Eli, Man on Fire, Mr Selfridge (TV), The Next Three Days, The Family Stone, Metronome, Sex & The City 2, Broadchurch (TV), Call The Midwife, Eagle Eye, White Collar (TV), Case 39, Luther (TV), The Polar Express, Mystic River, Top Gear (TV), Failure To Launch, Seven, Colombiana, Jobs vs Gates, Good Will Hunting, Misfits (TV), Life (TV), Deadwood (TV), Wreck It Ralph, Elementary (TV), You Again, Lie To Me (TV), Fargo, Due Date.

Perhaps the worst title in the Luxembourg library is this film, Loving Ibiza. Without seeing it, it seems safe to assume it is among the worst films ever made.

It’s a small library (the smallest Netflix library in the world), but there are some very good titles in the mix. As long as title churn is frequent enough, subscribers should be happy enough with the service. It can be very easy to get through all of the films one wants to watch quite quickly, however.


[Review] Bosch – Pilot Episode

Police procedurals do too much to sex up the murders on screen. They’re flashy, quick, and overly energetic. Ghastly scenes of homicides are shot with so much flair and detail that they are stripped of any semblance of reality that they simply become titillating murder pornography. Worse are shows like the NCIS franchise which mask all of the humanity surrounding these murders with weak jokes and banter.

Bosch is seeking to do things differently. Its ambition is to be the procedural crime series for adults who want to be entertained by something beyond the immature material served to viewers each week. And it succeeds at that – but the presentation of Bosch has an absence that holds it back from being anything more than a procedural that requires any real investment by the viewer.

Starring one of film and TV’s ultimate “It’s that guy” actors, Titus Welliver, Bosch concerns police homicide detective Harry Bosch who has nothing happening in his life outside of his job. Viewers aren’t informed whether Bosch has had a wife or children in the past, but we know that at one stage in the not-too-distant past he was sleeping with a TV news reporter. Beyond that, Bosch is a blank slate.

As the series opens, Bosch is seen chasing a criminal through the city where he eventually shoots the man. Two years later, having been cleared by the department of the shooting, Bosch is set to face a civil trial brought upon by the family of the man who had been shot, of whom claimed the man was unarmed. Bosch, being so consumed by his need to work, takes some unauthorised work on over the weekend to take his mind off the civil suit and finds himself involved in the cold case murder of an abused child.

Bosch is based on a series of Harry Bosch books written by Michael Connelly, who also co-wrote the pilot episode for this series. To date there have been seventeen Harry Bosch books, with his half-brother Mickey Haller featuring in several other books by Connelly. The first Mickey Haller book, The Lincoln Lawyer, was recently adapted into the well-received Matthew McConaughey film.

The production of Bosch is almost flawless, but it is missing something. By the end of the episode, viewers have a partial sense of who Bosch is and what he represents within the show. It’s certainly enough information to tether the viewer to him as a lead character. Where the show doesn’t quite sit right is a production fault – it feels empty. The show offers no music, with few to no close-ups offered of any of the main characters. This same quiet distance is used to great effect in shows like The Wire, but the Baltimore seen in The Wire feels lived in, worn, and abused. Instead Det Harry Bosch is driving through amid the hills of Los Angeles where humanity is lost to the sprawl of suburbia and the isolation of car travel. A cold and distant world has been built around Bosch that just doesn’t quite connect with the viewer.

The world built by The Wire is a tangible comparison with Bosch co-written by Eric Overmyer, who served as a writer and producer on that series before joining David Simon in co-creating the series Treme – a show that filled its own silences with sweet, sweet jazz.

Bosch maintains a quiet, low-fi sophistication that will do well to earn the show a loyal viewership. It feels, in many ways, like an urban version of Longmire in its efforts to bring a maturity back to the American police crime procedural. As a fairly simple procedural series, many may find its detached tone off-putting when faced with returning to watch further episodes of Bosch. The show will earn a devoted audience.

Bosch will debut on Amazon Instant Video early in 2015.