TV Review: Bones


Apparently, my pandemic year is the year in which I finally watch shows that others have been watching for 15 years. First, in the summer, it was Supernatural, which started in 2005, and now, it’s another 2005 show, Bones. The same friend recommended both, and she wasn’t wrong about Supernatural, so I figured I’d give Bones a shot. I’m three episodes into the first season, but I also want to use this post to wax nostalgic about something: network television, of which this is, airing on Fox.

There’s something so distinctive about the shows, most of which are procedurals (what it sounds like, a show focused on police officers going through the process of solving a crime, typically within 41 minutes, as it happens!), that air on the network stations Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, The CW, and others. The second I’m watching one, like Bones, its style stands out compared to the streaming and “prestige” television I’ve come accustomed to, thanks to FX, AMC, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc. In other words, since it’s network television, its style is geared toward the widest possible audience, and that shows. That doesn’t make it bad per se, but it does mean that it feels watered down to an extent. But also, because it is meant for a wide audience, it appeals because it’s based on familiar tropes that appeal to us! That is, the two partners who you know like each other, but don’t want to admit it yet; the character tropes of the butt-kicking female, the hard-nosed male, and the nerdy sidekicks; and the whodunit fun of trying to figure out who did the crime, complete with the typical red herring early on of who it might be, only for it to be someone else; and then the chase/capture at the end.

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel.

All of that is here with Bones, which is loosely based on real life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, who is also a novelist. The show features a forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel), who works with the FBI to solve the mystery (so far, typically murder) behind human remains, and her FBI partner is Special Agent Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz of Buffy and Angel fame). That description is courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia.

That it’s based on Reichs, a real anthropologist and archaeologist, gives me hope that the show will be science-based and legitimate. Granted, I don’t know anything about forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, so I wouldn’t be able to say if it holds true to those sciences or not, but I’m certainly skeptical of ever starting in on CSI or something like that because of the junk science on offer about blood splatter analysis, bite mark analysis, and the like, all of which, again, are discredited junk science. But I digress. 

As I said, the show follows those similar tropes, so Bones and Booth are flirty without crossing the line, and Bones is a butt-kicking anthropologist (she’s taken a few guys down easily and shot another so far), and Booth plays the hard-nosed, serious G-man. There’s the quirky sidekicks, too, like the one who is a conspiracy nut, and the other who is super nerdy and still developing his craft.

I’m in that period of a new show (from the perspective of it starting in 2005, that is) where the showrunners, writers, and actors are still finding their footing for what works and what doesn’t, but I like it thus far. It shows promise, and I’m particularly fond of Bones’ character, primarily due to her dark humor and chill nature around human remains. I will also say, it is jarring to be thrown back to 2005 where one of the salient issues was terrorism. In 2020, terrorism seems much more quaint, even though it’s still very much a thing.

The show had quite the run, airing for 12 seasons from 2005 to 2017. I made it through the first 10 seasons of Supernatural before needing a break, so we’ll see how far I make it with Bones

Have you seen Bones and do you like it?

They do have good chemistry as co-stars.

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