Bones – TV Series

Rating:

Boreanaz Makes No “Bones” About Return to TV

Year(s): 2005 – present
Network: Fox
Creator: Hart Hanson
Principal cast: Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, Eric Millegan, T.J. Thyne, Jonathan Adams

Summary: A forensic anthropologist and a FBI agent team up to solve murders.

Sixteen months.

That appears to be the time frame for David Boreanaz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) to switch from wanting to leave television to the airing of the pilot episode of Bones, the police procedural he stars in with Emily Deschanel.

After three years as the enigmatic, star-crossed Jekyll and Hyde vampire on Buffy and its successful spin-off Angel, Boreanaz made no secret after the series finale in May 2004 that he wanted a career in movies, not television.  A series of schlock movies, he finally had the chance to star in Mr. Fix It, due for release in 2006, when the part of FBI Agent Seeley Booth came calling.

Boreanaz found himself once again cast opposite a powerful woman character for whom he has a forbidden passion. Based on the real-life work of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, Bones is the story of Dr. Temperance Brennan, a scientist at a knock-off of the Smithsonian Institution. Brennan is on constant loan to the FBI in order to keep federal grant money flowing to her team of ultra geniuses.

The whole series smacks a little of The X-Files with science and a gender reversal. The interplay between the geeks, the cool scientists and the police are sometimes cute, sometimes strained, but the series’ true magic happens between Deschanel and Boreanaz. The actress plays her character, who is brilliant but ignorant of pop culture, with the right amount of angst, although the show’s writers do try to slip too much by the audience.

“Weren’t you in the Guides?” she asks Desert Storm veteran Booth.

“The Rangers. We were the Rangers.”

Deschanel plays the moment well, with a bit of “boys will be boys” attitude. But it remains awfully hard to continue suspending disbelief that someone with a doctorate, especially in anthropology, is unaware of her own culture’s elite fighting unit. Oh, and have we mentioned that Deschanel’s Temperance has somehow picked up martial arts skills along the way? The combination of gorgeous looks, piercing intelligence (Bones is the smartest scientist in a room full of nerds) and the ability to hold her own in a firefight or fistfight can sometimes strain the character’s believability. Fortunately Deschanel does come from a family chockfull of thespians, including dad Caleb, who was cinematographer on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Peter Sellers’ final film Being There, and actress sister Zooey, who had no less than 7 movie projects announced or in production in mid-2006.

As the first season ended, Boreanaz and and Deschanel appeared to be moving towards an inevitable romantic drama — something more along the lines of Moonlighting rather than Remington Steele. Meanwhile, the writers and producers have deftly given both lead characters deep, rich backstories that can serve as flashback episodes or even prequels.

Deserving special attention in the show is one of the “squints”, the highly educated staff Boreanaz mocks, but secretly admires. Keep your eyes peeled for curly-haired T.J. Thyne. You’ll know him from the dozens of TV shows he has guest-starred on. One of the generation’s most active character actors, he has been in multiple episodes of CSI, Angel (ah, the connection), Dharma and Greg and Walker, Texas Ranger. The writers seem to reserve the most sardonic lines for Thyne’s Dr. Jack Hodgins, a millionaire who keeps his wealth a secret so he can run amok with conspiracy theories and play with bugs.

Yes, bugs.

Bones is not for the faint of heart, as network television becomes more graphic in an attempt to keep up with the cable channels. Assuming the writers can keep the sexual tension high and not let the main characters devolve into caricatures, Boreanaz may have to wait another few years before declaring he doesn’t want to work on television again.

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