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One wrong, one righted

February 17, 2022

Some time ago I wrote about casting travesties involving favourite fictional heroes. 

I stand by my outrage that James Bloody Nesbitt was cast as Jack Parlabane. I suspect audiences agreed with me as Quite Ugly One Morning turned out to be, as far as I know, the only one of Christopher Brookmyre’s Parlabane novels to make it to television.

I also stand by my frustration when John Hannah was cast as Rebus in STV’s first attempt to put one of Rankin’s novels on the screen.

In my original rant I trashed the casting of Titus Welliver as Bosch in a television series based on Michael Connelly’s detective novels. As I then, Welliver is a fine actor, but nothing like my picture of Bosch. As the series was on Amazon Prime, to which I do not describe, I didn’t actually see it (nor did I have any interest), but someone did comment that, although he’d never read the books, they had thoroughly enjoyed all six seasons. Hmm.

Bosch has now turned up on a streaming service I do have and I decided to give it a go. Reader, it seems I was wrong. I should have paid more attention to “based on the novels by Michael Connelly”. These are not faithful adaptations of the original novels. They are a different entity. 

The same thing happened to me when I initially trashed the CBC adaptation of Eden Robinson’s Trickster novels. Glad I gave that a second chance, because it turned out the focus of the series, unlike the novels, was not on the son of a trickster but on the Trickster himself. Turned out to be great.

Some familiar faces from The Wire in Bosch. 

Interesting to see Jamie Hector – so chilling as the stone cold sociopath Marlo – playing a good guy. Not sure how much range Lance Reddick has. He may have been a lieutenant on in the first and now the chief of police in the second, but it’s exactly the same character. The actor who played Ziggy in the second series of The Wire turned up in the second series of Bosch. And then last night in the opening episode of season four, Clark Johnson, the newsroom editor in season five of The Wire (and also one of the detectives in Homicide: Life in the Streets) turned up, only to be gunned down ten minutes in. I can only assume there are a lot of flashbacks coming else why would he be involved?

What about Welliver? He still isn’t my picture of Harry, but after bingeing the first few episodes I went to bed and had a (how shall I put this?) somewhat, erm, tactile dream about him (in character), so I guess he’s okay. Never had a dream like that involving my image of Bosch.

Shortly after said dream, a friend sent me the link to this Guardian review.

It seems Lee Child realised he really had to make amends for selling the silver screen rights to his Reacher novels to Tom Thumb. 

On the same day my friend sent me the review, Adrian McKinty tweeted this.

Yes, that’s right, Lee. If there’s one thing all your readers know it’s that Reacher is built like a brick shithouse. Unlike Mr Cruise, this guy, Alan Ritchson, fits the bill.

I’d never heard of this actor before last week, although a quick google reveals that he “first came to the attention of the public in 2004 when he appeared on American Idol as one of the top 87 contestants in the third season before being cut in Hollywood. His appearance on the show was noted for his striptease in one episode in which he wooed judge Paula Abdul.” Interesting.

So, the upshot of this is that yesterday I ordered a book on Amazon (which I normally never do) and took up the offer of a free one-month subscription to Amazon Prime in order to check this out. 

When it was announced some years ago that Tom Thumb was going to be playing Reacher, some friends and I (all big fans of the books) pondered who should have been cast. The consensus seemed to be Viggo Mortensen, who would indeed have made a very satisfying Reacher. 

But, as is always the case when a novel is turned into a feature film, so much is lost. Not so when you take the time to turn a novel into a series. I am happy to report, after watching two episodes last night, that this is a faithful adaptation of the first Reacher novel. And Ritchson? He ain’t Viggo and at first I thought he was too baby faced, but he’d won me over not long into the first. 

Maybe, just maybe, Scottish Television will have a rethink and persuade Christopher Brookmyre to sell them the rights to a second Parlabane novel, after persuading Robert Carlyle to take on the role – which is, of course, what they should have done in the first place. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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