Reviews & More: TV Guide—Detective Dramas & More

Season six of “Bosch” on Amazon Prime Video is one of the best so far, featuring all the excellent elements of the universe that make up Michael Connelly’s mystery novels about Hieronymus Bosch, LA detective: great shots of the city, intriguing plots, growing tension and suspense, and colorful characterizations. As always, Titus Welliver as the eponymous hero, a cynical, flawed, deeply human man with a firm code of honor but all-too-aware of the dark side of human nature, is perfect in the role, and a fine cast of character actors such as Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino and Lance Reddick, continue to sink their teeth into meaty roles. Side note: Bosch’s daughter, Maddie, is played by a young woman named Madison Lintz. In the past six years, we have watched Maddie mature into a very tall, very beautiful young woman, and she feels out of place in a series that has more of a “real people” cast. No one’s fault, but it is just a bit detracting, especially in the scenes where she towers over her dad. Still, as I was watching the final episode, I was aware that I was really going to miss it. That meant I would need to find another detective mystery series, one that was neither simplistic nor cutesy (no “cozies” for me, sorry).

“DCI Banks,” also on Prime Video, is a British import that ran from 2010-16 and was faithfully adapted from the mystery novels by Peter Robinson. While it’s not quite as complex and sophisticated as “Bosch,” the lead (again eponymous) detective Banks is brought to life by an actor named Stephen Tomkinson, and his not-quite-handsome, lived-in face and nuanced performance is the glue that makes it all work. In the first season, he is cold and stoic, nary a hint of warmth leaks through. By the second season, they had decided to make Banks somewhat more human, let him smile once in a while, be more one of the guys. I’m not sure it was the right choice, but it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment. I binge-watched the first three seasons this past weekend and my sadness at Bosch being gone was taken care of.

Film buffs and film students might be interested in “Time Warp: the Greatest Cult Films of All Time, Volume 1 (Midnight Madness).”

If you’re not a member, it’s available on IMDbPro for a 30-day free trial. It’s an engaging, if somewhat repetitive, documentary featuring a bunch of talking heads and wonderful film clips from all those movies that drew crowds of fans, often in costume and often kind of scary-looking, to independent theaters late at night. You know, titles like “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Eraserhead,” “Harold and Maude” and “This is Spinal Tap.” Truly fascinating are some real oldies like “Reefer Madness” (produced in the 1950s by a church organization and intended to make kids scared of marijuana) and, from 1932, Tod Browning’s “Freaks,” a truly horrific masterpiece, with most of its cast made up of side show circus performers. There’s a nice segment saluting Pam Grier and the entire Blaxploitation (an insulting marketing term) revenge films, such as “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” Intrigued? Check it out.

Speaking of 30-day free trials, I decided to sign up for that deal on Hulu, and was rewarded with the new, nine-episode drama, “Mrs. America.” Were you around in the 1970s when the Equal Rights Amendment was up for a vote? If not, you’re in for a dramatic bit of recent American history. The campaign was fierce and, for this series, the producers have assembled an amazing cast. I’ve only seen the first episode, which features the glorious Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly, adored and hated, depending on which side you were you on. I’m in for the rest of it; heck, with a cast like Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba and Margo Martindale playing icons like Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug, I intend to sit back and bask in a topic near and dear to my heart. 

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