Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bones, Season 1

There aren’t a whole lot of things on TV I watch regularly. The Office would be top of the list, but if DW didn’t ensure it was a part of our routine I might even skip that. The ones that I do really like I either buy on DVD or rent. The most recent of these includes the show Bones, created by Hart Hanson and currently in its 5th season. “Oh no!” you say, “Not another procedural/forensics show!” As much as I’ve avoided these up until now, I happened to catch a glimpse of Bones somewhere along the way and was drawn in.

Bones is loosely based on the real life of Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist, professor and author. The character in the show that is based on her is named Dr. Temperance Brennan nicknamed “Bones” by her partner, Agent Seeley Booth of the FBI. She earns her name because she deals entirely with human bones to help Agent Booth and the FBI to solve murders. She’s the best in her field, and as a result ends up partnering with Booth to give him information about murder victims that ends up being evidence pointing to their killers: from a skeleton she can determine age, gender, illnesses, hobbies, manner of death, and favorite color. Well, ok, maybe not the last one, but pretty darn close.

The reason why this show appealed to me when others didn’t is because from my experience, most of these shows revolve around some tough guy cop/agent who always comes out on top and his adventures with his female sidekick. In Bones, Dr. Brennan is the central figure who drives the story and more frequently, Agent Booth defers to her.

The characters in this show are a lot of fun. Dr. Brennan is a brilliant anthropologist with a good heart but a brain that often overrides the good that heart could experience. She lives, eats, and breaths science and has great difficulty functioning outside of its method. Booth, in contrast, leads with his gut and is good at his job because of his instincts and theories. As such they make a great pair for solving crimes, but also tend to butt heads because of their differing approaches. Bones works with a team (or “squints,” also nicknamed by Booth) who all embody very different types of people as well, sometimes to a fault. Angela is a fun-loving artist who works to recreate the faces of victims. She’s also Bones’ best friend. Jack Hodgins is a scientist who works with everything that no one else wants to touch—namely insects and filth—and is a conspiracy theorist in his spare time. Zack Addy is a doctoral intern studying under Dr. Brennan whose abundance of intelligence as well as lack of social skills is staggering.

What I enjoy most about this show is the gender role reversal of Booth and Bones. While she is grounded in fact and reason, he is driven by emotion, faith, and passion for his work. This makes for some great sparring. Frequently, Booth tries to assert himself as the big tough FBI agent, only to be emasculated by the cool and calculating Bones. They definitely have some kind of chemistry, which gets dragged through the season as they either deny that it’s true or fail to recognize it.

I wouldn’t want to turn this into a rave, because as much as I enjoy Bones it definitely has its faults. One is that sometimes their favorite themes get redundant and tiresome. I love Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz in their roles as Bones and Booth, but there are times when she is too bland and robotic and he is too hammy. Also, because they’re dealing with decomposing bodies, it can get pretty gross. (I try to avoid watching while I’m eating!) Finally there is one character, not mentioned previously, that I felt took away from the chemistry of the characters: Daniel Goodman is the director of the Institute where they work, and doesn’t seem to fit at all. He’s a paternal type who is loosely connected to the goings on. Also, the actor allows his Shakespearean training to surface way too often. Thankfully, this problem was remedied by his absence from season two.

Rating: 10

Overall, Bones is a show with engaging, funny characters and some interesting scientific nuggets. The episodes have a little something for everyone: the mystery of solving a murder, the humor of the workplace, the science of forensics, and the chemistry of an attractive male and female lead. What more could you ask for? (That’s rhetorical.)

Favorite Scene: Booth and Bones are discussing their murder investigation in New Orleans and the claims that voodoo played a role.

BOOTH: Voodoo. Who's going to believe that stuff?

BRENNAN: It's a religion. No crazier than – well, what are you?

BOOTH: Catholic.

BRENNAN: They believe in the same saints you do, and prayer. What they call spells, you call miracles. They have priests.

BOOTH: We don't make zombies.

BRENNAN: Jesus rose from the dead after three days.

BOOTH: Jesus is not a zombie! All right? Man. I shouldn't have to tell you that.


Stormy Pinkness said...

I have recently become a fan of this show and it is working its way into my already packed weekly viewing schedule. I love the discussions that Booth abd Brennan have. They do sometimes fall into the trap of pointing out who the killer is from the first scene, but sometimes I'm also surprised.

Eve said...

This sounds a lot like The X-Files, with the scientific woman and more romantic man. Did you watch that show? How would you compare them?

I've seen only a little of this show, and not enough to get a clear picture of it.

Wicked Little Critta said...

I missed The X-Files craze. As little as I watch TV now, I watched even less when that show was on. But from what you say about it (and from what I read online) the characters sound very similar. The aliens theme is notably different, but one could say that you see a similar theme (on a much smaller scale) in Bones as it relates to Booth being religious and Bones being a skeptic.
Other than that I can't really compare the two...

And I understand, I can hardly justify any attempts to work a new show into my schedule. For some reason this one seemed worth it. And once you see one episode, you get a pretty good representative sample of the show as a whole. Bones and the squints get the remains and come up with all kinds of information through their strange experiments, and Booth figures out how it all pieces together.

Particle Man said...

X-Files is a much more serious show than Bones. now, Bones ain't no Saturday Night Live; for the most part, it's a straightforward procedural, but it has some snarky humor injected in every episode, mostly based on the characters. on the flip side, i don't think ANY character EVER cracked a smile on X-Files's entire 9 season history. it makes Prison Break look like The Daily Show.

Dan Messier said...

For me, it's that smiling quality that makes the show watchable. I can only stand so much murder and crime and gravitas. Bones makes it work by adding that touch of humor and by having enjoyably flawed characters. And, me being who I am, I did the science-and-religion angle that the show sometimes brings in.

Moshe Reuveni said...

X-Files was (thankfully) a series dealing exclusively with the supernatural. That is, things that only take place on TV screens. While I cannot say much about Bones, having never watched it, the descriptions here make it sound as if it deals with people’s very natural untimely deaths.

Mike said...

What Stormy said.....sort of. My TV schedule is pretty tight, and I don't have the room for a lot of stuff. I've seen bits and pieces of episodes, but this never really grabbed me.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Help me out here:
Should I get a babysitter so I can go and watch Avatar in a 3D cinema?

Wicked Little Critta said...


The plot and script leave a bit to be desired, but Avatar is ooooh so pretty!!

Moshe Reuveni said...

Thanks. For the record, though, I was hinting that it's time for a review.

Wicked Little Critta said...

Awwww...I thought you were actually going to hire a babysitter and go to the theatre. Crazy me.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Give me a detailed business case and I might just do it.