Certain shows seem to only grow in quality over time. The number is few, of course, because no show is immune to the eventual wearing down, even if it starts out strong. In Bones case, the show started out a little rough and breezed long through three additional seasons effortlessly. The shows mixture of humor, drama, and superb character interactions are what keeps it so alive and fresh feeling. With this seasons continued rotating list of lab attendants to help replace Eric Millegan’s character who got written out of the show (although he does make another re-appearance in this fifth season), the show managed to stay as fresh as ever, although it certainly hit a few rocky holes along it way.
Faced with gruesome murders, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth has teamed up with the world’s leading Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan of the Jeffersonian Institute. Bones is the rational scientist and Booth the intuitive detective, and though they often butt heads, they make the perfect team when it comes to catching criminals. With a team of scientists behind them, Bones and Booth make sure no crime goes unsolved.
With a very disappointing season finale for the fourth, the fifth season had some serious work cut out for it in order to establish it as a viable show once again. Sadly it seemed to shy away from Booth’s brain tumor scare from last season and instead bury it in a pile of nonsense (we only had a few episodes that dealt with it until the writers apparently got bored with it and abandoned it). Once that was out of the way it shifted onto Booth’s feelings for Bones which come to a head in the 100th episode flashback style setup where we see when the two first met (and it also includes Millegan’s reoccurrence). It’s definitely a great little episode but it kind of shines too much light on their feelings for one another. Booth tries relentlessly to express them to Bones but it ultimately makes no difference in the head—she doesn’t want to go down that road and by the end of the season the whole group is disbanded and split off in a grand and dramatic display of solitude on everyone’s part.
Of course I won’t get into how this sixth season currently airing has once again already shoveled away that dramatic bit of plot away in favor of the more familiar…but, hey. It’s still at least entertaining each week, even if the characters are getting progressively more grating to withstand (Bones especially as she’s now all jealous of Booth’s new girlfriend). But that’s for next years review. The other main plotline for this fifth season was the reappearance of the “Gravedigger,” which puts everyone on edge once again, but only for an episode. It’s really a pretty vague season in terms of a story it wants to tell—it got the Booth/Bones relationship out of the way for now…although it did expand on Hodges and Angela’s relationship by moving it back to the marriage bit (again). But it seems to have stuck this time.
Really the only other significant thing to occur this season was the inclusion of Zooey Deschannel in an episode (“The Goop on the Girl”), which provided for more comedic fodder than anything. I wouldn’t mind seeing her come back again as the interaction between her and her sister on the show was quite entertaining. Overall however this really was a solid season and was packed with solid stories all around. Interesting mysteries and rarely are they ever too easily pegged as to “who done it;” while other series like Castle try to create a blend of the chemistry and atmosphere that Bones has established, very rarely are they able to pair it with a something as unpredictable as this show brings each week. Then again, unlike Castle, it has the whole anthropologist “shtick” to work with, so half of the coolness is just not knowing what everyone’s talking about half the time (ala Lie to Me or House).
In any case this season comes Recommended. It’s not quite as impressive as past seasons but it’s still a fun show to watch regardless.
Entitled the “Beyond the Grave Edition” for no discernible reason, this season arrives on Blu-ray in a standard double wide Elite/Viva Multi-Pak combo set. Housed inside are the five discs without any inserts or booklet; disc contents are printed directly on the discs themselves, all of which show various different bones of the human body. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and the extras, while not plentiful, are enjoyable at the very least.
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded (@18mbps) transfer, although the packaging notes that it’s “@18 or higher mbps,” which isn’t terribly descriptive. There are quite a few moments where it peaks above 18 so not sure why didn’t just put 20 something down…but whatever. The important thing is that this show looks as good as it should and…it does. There is slight compression on occasion simply due to the nature of cramming 26 episodes onto five discs, but overall it’s a very nice transfer. Excellent detail, vibrant colors and just and overall fantastic visual transfer. It’s definitely a step above the 720p broadcast that Fox sends out, at the very least.
Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and combined with Sean Callery’s weekly awesome score and the various gruesome sound effects that get splashed on the screen this is quite an enjoyable DTS mix. Not quite as powerful as one would expect at times and the surrounds are limited to idle crowd chatter most of the time, but there are more than a few good bangs and booms to rattle the walls throughout the season.
Extras are all packed onto the fifth disc, although there are several “extended cuts” of episodes spread throughout the set. The extras include:
The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken
The X in the Files
The 100th Episode with Director David Boreanaz
The Bodies of Bones
The Nunchuck Way
“The Proof in the Pudding” with Tamara Tayloer, TJ Thyne, John Francis Daley and Michaela Conlin
“The Beginning in the End” with Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan and Ian Toynton
In all there are less than a half hour of extras (not including the extended segments and audio commentaries). A decent mix of extras, if a bit light. The three featurettes are nice and the gag reel is entertaining as always. There is also a selection of a couple Deleted Scenes. I could’ve done with a commentary or two more, but this is already two more than the last set had so it’s not all bad. But overall it’s a decent mixture…this series has never been overloaded with bonus features, so this is par for the course.
Overall a Recommended set. There’s a certain rewatchability about this series so picking this one up to own would be a wise idea…it’s got plenty to come back to and watch again (and the two extended episodes is nice).
Bones – Season 5 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.