Upon first superficial glance, Bones would appear to be just another cliched attempt at capitalizing on the overwhelming current popularity of the forensic genre. While the producers certainly struck while the iron was hot, this murderous whodunit excites and expands the general premise into new and fascinating places.
Bones is a unique hybrid: part CSI-esque laboratory drama and part fast paced police program in the vein of Law And Order: SVU. This high-energy mashing-up of seemingly opposite styles sets the pace for all twenty-one of season two’s episodes.
At it’s core, the show is essentially about the sometimes tumultuous and always entertaining relationship between forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and F.B.I. agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). Brennan is a short-tempered introvert who believes in the power of science above all else. In contrast, Booth is an energetic extrovert who is often bewildered by the complex lingo uttered by nearly all his colleagues. In the simplest of terms, you could call the latter a fish-out-of-water, but it’s hard to correlate an aquatic vertebrate and a gun-wielding badass.
Outside of the two central figures, the remaining cast is rounded out by facial reconstructionist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), an entomologist named Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), and the recently graduated Dr. Zach Addy (Eric Millegan). It’s easy for a program entrenched with a duo of gifted leads to ignore the supporting cast, but viewers are given a bevy of subplots and random details, allowing these talented supports to shine. Dr. Jack and Angela have a sweet nerdy chemistry that eventually evolves past the superficial awkward sexual tension phase, and this relationship provides a nice recurring serial backdrop to hold the central story arc together as the central cases change.
New to season two is the introduction of Camille Saroyan. Replacing former boss Dr. Daniel Goodman, the casting of Tamara Taylor is an absolute stroke of genius. Her abrasive demeanor vehemently clashes with Dr. Brennan (the fact that they’re both women), and this girly grudge gives fans more than a few oral cat fights and bitter glances. Ahhh, females. Always the fairer sex.
Before I even laid eyes on the first episode of season two, I had a hoard of preconceived notions and theories on why I would hate Bones. Too obvious. Too overdone. Too scientific. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This series is an absolute joy to watch. The characters are new and exciting, the new plot for each episode keeps the show from becoming stale. I highly recommend this five disc set.
Ordinarily, it’s never a good sign when the best part of the DVD is the packaging and random pictures found there, but these promotional materials are nothing short of splendiferous. Employing the age old technique of framing faces in black, the individual DVD covers obscure the backgrounds in darker shades, highlighting prominent facial characteristics. That’s avant-garde.
In addition to the modernist packaging, producers have provided just enough in the way of special features to slide the rating solidly into an average ratings classification. Along with two audio commentaries, the sixth and final disc includes two featurettes, some deleted scenes, and everyone’s favorite: a gag reel. Yay!
The two featurettes, entitled The Memories In The Season and Visceral Effects: The Digital Illusions Of Bones, are definitely worth looks, but they aren’t exactly mind-shattering. Visceral focuses jointly on the “revolting human remains” and the time it took creating a 3-D model of the vomit comet (employed in the space episode), while Memories delves into specific instances from the season that were noteworthy. The majority of these touchy-feely PBS specials are throw-aways, but learning about Cam’s original character arc was fascinating.
Let’s face it: you’re not going to buy Bones: Season 2 for two featurettes and a gag reel, but if you have any sense, you’ll buy it for the captivating drama. Go. Do it now.