My roommate came back to Gilbert the other day and told me she figured out that lifelong question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?” Her answer was, potentially, a forensic anthropologist.
I would have been perplexed over just what, exactly, that means, except for the fact that over winter vacation I took a trip to Barnes ‘ Noble and participated in a binge watching of the television series, ‘Bones.” Writer Hart Hanson’s show is a cross between your typical doctor show, such as ‘House,” and the police procedurals (‘CSI,” ‘NCIS”) that seem to be taking over network TV more and more each day.
‘Bones” was created in 2005 as a show based on the life and works of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. The best-selling author is one of only 77 certified academics in her field by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. The Fox show follows Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), the heroine of Reichs’ many novels, as she works with Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) of the FBI to solve crimes working with the skeletons of victims.
Like ‘House,” ‘Bones” often uses what Booth would call ‘techno-speak” in such vast quantities that I really have no clue what they are talking about. But what is constantly fascinating is the way Brennan’s character is able to determine the traits of a murder case solely through the bones of a body.
Despite the fact that ‘Bones” follows a basic formulaic format (Booth finds some bones where they shouldn’t be, he and Brennan work together to solve the murder, case-closed), the chemistry between the characters, and the interesting storylines the writers have explored thus far, keep me intrigued enough to tune in every week.
Whether the squints are examining the remains of a serial killer’s work or that of a cannibal, every episode is able to bring a new angle to this branch of science.
Even in a show primarily about science my weakness when it comes to school subjects I find that I am constantly drawn to watch every second of the hour on Thursday nights. What really pulls me in are the characters.
The team would not be complete without Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and his obsessive love for all gross things: bugs, dirt and even animal feces.
Nor would they get their job done without Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor), who has the uncanny ability to go between ‘the man” (lawyers, bosses, etc.) and the squints in a way that makes all of the forensics of the show relatable.
No show would be complete without the best friend, and that is exactly what Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) is: An artistic, beautiful, smart woman who has the ability to bring Brennan back to Earth when she gets too lost in the afterlife of skeletons and bones.
But the real heart of the show is in its sweet, little moments, like the one in Booth’s car as he and Brennan drive to another murder scene. Or the one in Dr. Lance Sweets’ (John Francis Daley) room as he desperately attempts to divulge into the psychology of Booth and Brennan’s relationship while they constantly keep him out of the loop. Or the one in the diner after the partners wrap up a day of work and share a piece of pie.
The heart of the show lies in the undeniable chemistry between Deschanel and Boreanaz as they portray two professional partners whose unresolved sexual tension could be cut with a knife.
It may seem like an unlikely pairing. Brennan is a scientist who lives by the facts. Her unbelievably nave lifestyle when it comes to all things pop-culture-related makes for hilarious dialogue as well as the perfect opposite of Booth.
But despite her complete lack of people skills, Brennan’s unique beauty and immense IQ make up for her flaws not that they would be a problem for Booth.
Boreanaz’s heartfelt portrayal of the handsome FBI agent makes him an immediate heartthrob. Whether they are bickering in the car about the use of psychology-versus-scientific fact or taking shots in Booth’s office after hours, these two clearly have more than a professional relationship beneath the surface.
But I have to say, any show that can keep the tension up for three-and-a-half seasons without ruining the integrity of the story-lines, or pissing off the audience too much, gets two thumbs up from me.
In a recent episode, as Brennan and Booth spy on Dr. Sweets and his new-found love, they make an interesting observation: ‘That’ll never work, they’re like, complete opposites.” I agree. For all her faults, she’s a woman of science. Sweets bases his life on the varieties of psychology and emotion. There’s no common ground. You need common ground, what else is there?”
Hart Hanson’s show explores just this: the nature of opposing sciences fact versus interpretation, forensics versus psychology and life versus death. Forensics is balanced seamlessly with character-driven storylines to create a compelling show in which you not only learn about all the bones of the body, but also about the skeletons hidden in the closets of each character.
Personally, I can’t wait to find out about the stories hidden in those bones.
Bones airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.