Monday, February 17, 2014

W - Bones

As mentioned before, I love Netflix for the different TV shows that I manage to stumble across. Recently I found the series "Bones", which features a somewhat socially inept but thoroughly brilliant forensic anthropologist who teams up with a bit of a neanderthal FBI agent to solve various murders. If it sounds a bit quirky it's because it is. It's also a combination that works an is both funny and entertaining.

The show features as Dr. Temperance Brennan A.K.A. "Bones" and as FBI special agent Seeley Booth. These two provide the key contrast in worldview and personality that makes the show work and also have a strong attraction to one another, again making for good tension. They are supported by a large ensemble of other "squints", as Agent Booth calls them, who work in the lab with Dr. Brennan. The leading characters in the Lab are Dr. Jack Hodgins and Angela Montenegro. Again, interpersonal relationship issues create some fun tension.

************Spoilers Below ***************

The first couple seasons focus on the actual crimes and introduce a lot of really cool, albeit totally unrealistic, tech. (OK, you simply *cannot* get a useable image of the reflection in someones eyeball from a picture printed on the cover of a tabloid magazine) These first season also set up the relationships and define the characters very well.

As the show progresses two things happen that seem to be common in this type of show. The first is that they shake up the format a bit by getting rid of one of the ensemble. This is frequently done on shows because of contract issues, but in this case the person reappears a couple times later on, so that was probably not the issue. What bugged me was both the fact that he was one of my favorite characters and that the way they got rid of him was really a break from his established character. If they want to shake up the cast a bit that's one thing, but at least don't mess up the character development you've been doing all along.

The other development, also common to shows of this type, is that the episodes move from being primarily about the case to being primarily about the characters and their interactions and relationships. Several times from Season 5 on I felt like they really needed to go back and re-watch the first season to remind themselves of what the series was about. The relationship stuff wasn't badly done, and was mostly well integrated into the plot, but the shift in priority was a bit off-putting.

I am currently in the middle of Season 7 and there are at least 10 seasons with the show still going. I am very curious to see how it does. My experience is that it is almost impossible to keep this type of show interesting and viable for more than 6 or 7 seasons. Almost every one has clearly jumped the proverbial shark by season 8. My hope is that Bones does better than the norm. There are troubling signs, but maybe they will pull it back from the brink.

Highly recommended if you like crime drama with a bit of quirky humor and a dollop of romance, not to mention some really gross shots of maggot infested dead people.

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