Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2011
I can’t help it. Whenever I see David Boreanaz I can’t stop seeing the brooding vampire Angel. It’s not really his fault. This character couldn’t be farther from the Angel character, but that’s what I see. It’s also true that Bones, now entering its sixth season, has been around longer than Angel. It’s also very likely that he now has fans that aren’t even aware of that previous character. It has been quite a few years. I’m usually better at letting go of a character once the show has ended and the actor has moved on. But there it is. Agent Booth ends up doing something silly, and it throws me for a bit of a loop. It’s probably a testament to how good an actor Boreanaz actually is, that he’s ingrained himself so fully in my brain. And, I haven’t watched near as many episodes of Bones, to transfer that identification. But it’s Bones that’s here now, and based on its current popularity, it’s likely to be here for a while longer yet.
Dr. Temperance Brennan, or Bones (Deschanel) is the world’s leading bone specialist. She works in Washington, D.C. for the famous Jeffersonian (I assume it’s intended to be the Smithsonian). Her talents have proven themselves very helpful in solving crimes where skeletal remains are all that there is to go on from the victim. Her FBI agent/liaison is Seeley Booth (Boreanaz). Together they have an uneasy relationship that grows into a kind of friendship. The problem is that Bones doesn’t have a ton of social skills. She relies on Booth to guide their social interactions. More on that later. The lab is run by Dr. Camille Saroyan (Taylor) who has become a bit of a guiding mother to the team. Dr. Hodges (Thyne) is the trace-elements expert and tries very hard to be cool and hip. He’s generally the opposite of Bones. He says pretty much what comes into his head and is a bit of a science-fiction geek. Angela (Conlin) is an artist who uses her skills to reconstruct facial details from the skulls. She also works on enhancing images and restructuring evidence. She’s a bit of a romantic and has probably slept with every male in the lab. Dr. Sweets (Daley) is a young FBI agent and psychologist. He profiles victims and suspects as well as serves as a counselor to the team. He’s a bit over-eager at times, looking up to Booth as a mentor, of sorts. The lab also has a few interns that show up from week to week, likely depending on actor availability.
The writers and filmmakers take pride in offering the most bizarre of crimes and victims. You can expect a gross body in each episode. There is also a good share of interesting cases to go with those bodies. Season 6 features some cool stuff. There’s a shipwreck that is one of the largest computer-generated environments created for the show. Booth has a new girlfriend, but she ends up shot this season. How about a body in a large chocolate bar? We’ve got that one. When a Mythbuster-style television host is found dead, all evidence points to a chupababra. Throughout the season Booth is on the trail of a rogue sniper.
The problems I have with the show deal mostly with character development. None of these characters have grown much in six years. I jumped from season 1 to season 5, and with the exception of some changes in cast, it was like I never left. The characters spend way too much time talking about their sexual prowess, with more than one character making multiple references to how exceptional they are in bed. The relationships too often take as much time as the cases themselves. This shorts the plot development and often leads the show toward the obvious. And the worst problem is the Bones character herself. She’s not likeable at all. She’s arrogant to a fault. She always talks about being the best and how she’s the natural hero role model for others. But her scientific brain is to the point of cruelty. She has to have non-emotional explanations for everything. She insults with impunity. They also stretch the idea that this highly educated woman doesn’t know any slang or figures of speech. She’s always misquoting a popular saying as if she were just learning English. It’s too contrived, and the writers reach pretty far for each of those “jokes”. There’s the expected sexual tension between the leads, which would be fine if someone weren’t talking about it all the time. Sexual tension between characters works best when it is not constantly being noted. We’re smart enough to figure it out. And that’s really the fatal flaw in Bones. They feel the need to hit you over the head with everything from sexual relations to the bodies themselves. If you enjoy a little subtlety in your mystery, Bones won’t provide much of that at all.
Each episode presented in its original broadcast 1.85:1 aspect ratio. While there is at times a bit of grain, the presentation is mostly pretty solid. There are some sweet detailed crime scenes that appear to shine in color and depth. There are a lot of earth tones here, so don’t look for a particularly bright mood in the presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 offers a few nice ambient moments, but mostly you’re getting dialog here. It’s all fine and well placed; just don’t look for too much ear candy.
There are a couple of cast and crew Audio Commentary tracks on select episodes.
Gag Reel: (4:24)
The Visual Effects Of Bones: (11:48) Take a look at the ramped-up effects from this season.
The Killing pilot episode
If there is one reason to watch this season of Bones, it’s for the bodies. The gang have really gotten quite good at putting together come gross-out stuff. The bodies are more unique than ever and look so real you’ll swear you can smell them. “You almost forget for a second that it’s all fake.”