Bones is an engaging crime drama, one that has a very fascinating and individual premise – the team at the Jeffersonian Institute solve criminal cases where human remains are compromised. Often, these are older corpses where the only thing left is bone.
What makes or breaks a crime procedural drama is the team of professionals and their interactions, and the team in Bones is one of the best. Emily Deschanal’s Dr Temperance Brennan is everything that a leading female should be; frightfully intelligent, self assured and badass, perfectly capable of protecting herself. Her lack of awareness of social convention leads to moments of humour as she interacts with normal society. David Boreanaz’s FBI Agent Booth is a perfect male lead, cocky yet sensitive, and is a perfect foil for the scientific ‘squints’ like Brennan. Angela, the artist who specialises in facial reconstruction, is warm and full of empathy, Jack Hodgins, the self-proclaimed ‘bugs and slime man’, brings humour and some truly bizarre conspiracy theories and Zach Addy, Brennan’s grad student, presents a very socially awkward yet brilliant male scientific presence. Brennan’s hyper analytical nature is complimented by Angela’s warm compassion, while Hodgins and Zach both show different incarnations of the ‘scientist’ with their own individual foibles. The team is rounded off by Booth, the perceptive detective, whose approach contrasts and compliments the truth seeking scientists. The chemistry between Brennan and Booth pulls the show together as you become invested in their partnership.
What sets this show apart is that it is not afraid to pause and take the moment to make the audience care about characters. It also does an incredible job in making the audience care about the victims, despite how alien the bones are.
At the start of the series it seems hard to believe that Dr Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan and her team can solve the sort of crimes that are presented to them, which in the first series include victims of car explosions, remains found in the stomach of a bear and a mummified corpse. However, the strength of the series, which I suspect comes from the fact that real life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs is an executive producer on the show, is the attention to detail and extreme accuracy the show includes in all of its scientific exploration. All of the cases come together scientifically, with a few intuitive leaps, and it makes each individual case all the more compelling as you feel how knowledgeable each character is in their own field. Dark humour and witty jokes is the finishing piece of the puzzle, making this show outstanding.
The pilot of the show sets the tone for the rest of the series, establishing the characters, their professions and the believability of the plots incredibly well. ‘A Man on Death Row’ is an outstanding episode, introducing the chilling serial killer Howard Epps. Throughout the episode you are hooked into the stellar performance by Heath Freeman and the final twist comes from left field. Additional standout episodes include ‘The Superhero in the Alley’ ‘The Man in the Morgue’ and the final episode of the series ‘The Woman in Limbo’ which gives a real insight into Brennan’s character and motivations.
The season one DVD box set has some interesting commentaries on key episodes, while character profiles and a forensic terminology guide is helpful, particularly if you have no knowledge of forensics.
Bones has a stellar cast, an engaging premise and some truly individual cases, which make the show well worth a watch.
Bones: Season 1 (2005) is distributed on DVD in the UK by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 15.