Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bones bonus

I had intended for today's column to actually be a three-fer, with the "Nip/Tuck" review, the "My So-Called Life" DVD preview, and also a few words about tonight's Halloween episode of "Bones." But I only have so much space in the paper, and went on longer than planned about McNamara/Troy in LA, so I'm going to take advantage of the unlimited space of this blog and write a bit about "Bones" after the jump.

Now, I never really warmed to "Bones" when it first debuted. I liked David Boreanaz displaying his light comedy chops as Booth, but Brennan seemed less a character to me than a collection of anti-social tics designed to approximate Dr. House. (Plus, on a more nitpicky level, I never bought into the notion that a woman this clueless about and uninterested in human behavior would either want to or be capable of writing a series of best-selling mystery novels.) Given how many TV shows I watch in a given week, I don't usually make time for crime procedurals, and on the rare occasions when I do, it's usually "NCIS," which makes me all nostalgic for the light dramas of my '80s youth.

But people I know like Dan Fienberg kept insisting that "Bones" had become a lot of fun. So when the show added John Francis Daley from "Freaks and Geeks" to the cast last week as a young shrink counseling Booth and Brennan about their (professional) relationship, I decided to give it another shot -- and I'm glad I did.

In the long period of time that I've been away, it would seem that the writers have played to Boreanaz's lighter side more and more, and he and Emily Deschanel have developed a nice comic rapport. Last week's therapy scenes were genuinely funny (and even kinda sweet when Booth thought Brennan wouldn't want to know him under different circumstances), and tonight's show has a lot of good scenes of them sparking off each other. The pictured Halloween costumes are a nice touch (I've always had a weakness for Halloween episodes, especially on dramas), but even better is a scene where the duo are interviewing a fundamentalist preacher. Bones the empiricist seems genuinely interested in how the guy justifies parts of his belief system, but naturally asks about it in the bluntest way possible, and Booth has to explain to the guy that this is just her being curious.

The mysteries are still limited by the nature of the format -- given X number of suspects in a 41-minute episode, odds are the killer's identity will be obvious well before the heroes figure it out -- but I like these characters and I was entertained watching them work. Since I'm not interested in any of the reality show options in this hour, I might have to work "Bones" into semi-regular rotation.

15 comments:

Jenn. said...

Sometime around the beginning of the second season or so, the cast gelled. It's one of the shows that I make sure to catch every week.

Chris Littmann said...

Glad you gave this one another chance, Alan. The stuff with the gravedigger character was really good last year I thought. And I also got a giggle out of last week's therapy scenes "He said if there weren't any more murders." Great stuff.

ksquard said...

I didn't like this show at first either but clued back into it in the second season and have enjoyed it since. It's always nice to see Boreanaz smiling after 5 years of Angel brooding.
I share the same inability to suspended disbelief regarding Brennan's lack of social/human/pop culture knowledge versus her bestselling accomplishments and anthropologic professional standing to a sometimes eye-rolling, "oh please" degree. But the ensemble cast has developed a great, fun, sharp rhythm and the chemistry and comic timing with Brennan and Bones is worth tuning in for. Check out the vodoo episode (season one?) for emotional heft between them and the Vegas episode (season 2) for the funny.

Stacie said...

Glad to hear it, Alan. This show is fun (gory corpses aside)most of the time. The therapy scenes are hysterical. Booth had to see a shrink last season after he had an anger-management issue (he shot the mechanical clown head on an ice-cream truck because the sound was annoying) and his scenes with that shrink were great. (P.S. I'm a shrink, which may explain my enjoyment of those scenes).

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you decided to give it another chance Alan! This is one my favorite shows on right now. I was/am a big Buffy fan so I started watching because of David Boreanaz and have grown to really like these characters and their relationships with each other- not just Bones and Boothe. I hope you start posting on it regularly!
~Denise

Lindy said...

"Bones" isn't appointment TV for me, but I think it's a really fun and entertaining show -- I enjoy it much more than any of the "CSI" clones these days. If you do start blogging it I'll be interested to hear your thoughts!

Mac said...

I'd mark the gelling with the finale of the first season; I'd pretty much given up on the show but watched that episode (thinking it was probably going to be cancelled) and it was vastly improved.

Toby said...

If you ever get the chance, check out the Christmas episode from the first season. As a "bottle" show, it had a nice DEK feel to it, as they spent the holiday quarantined in the lab. And it had an interesting cameo by Billy Gibbons of ZZTop.

Christy said...

It helped that last year's pysch was played by Stephen Fry. I want him back.

Anthony Foglia said...

I feel the same way towards "Bones" that you do. I've seen it occasionally since catching some reruns during the summer after its first season. I like the characters and the dialogue a lot, reminds me of an old movie where you know the cast is having fun. But I'm not a procedural fan, so I never got hooked and it never made my regular rotation.

(I'm not watching anything else at that time, but I'm too busy during the week. Perhaps when I free up more room on my TiVo I'll tape it for weekends.)

Anonymous said...

I watched tonight for the first time in a long time and I agree they seem to have gotten a really likable group of characters going. But I've gotta say, the light humor worked less well for me given the main murder mystery was about... teenage girls being tortured to death. A bit jarring, you know?

jcpbmg said...

I too am glad you decided to give bones a second chance.

Boreanez and Dechanel have both grown into their roles over the last 2 seasons. An article (I believe in EW) about the show from last season mentioned how they take acting lessons together on the weekends to work on their lines and overall rapport.

Also the supporting characters have developed nicely.

Jill said...

I agree with Jenn, it definitely gelled somewhere around the beginning of last season. It and now Life are the only procedural shows I watch and both have proven entertaining so far this season. How about that Cher costume?!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan, I discovered your blog when Mad Men started, and I loved your reviews (can't wait 'till next season). However I was always a bit disapointed that you didn't post about Bones, but now you did and I'm thrilled. It's a very likable show with nice characters, it's humorous and entertainig, and that's a rare commodity these days. Hope you stick with it.

EzekielRawlins said...

Have to agree with the general consensus, Bones was never an obligation, a few eps here and there, but it seems that just recently the show has found its rhythm.

I think the show is also helped when you can see the cast is enjoying themselves. The fun is infectious.