Yet another discovery in my on-going effort to watch everything on television (well maybe not everything, but my list is quickly growing for this next television season), I discovered Bones during the early 2007 lull as some of my favorite shows went on break. Needing to fill the void I decided to back track and catch up on one of Fox’s more entertaining looking shows. Unlike the other shows on Fox I’d started to watch, Bones was not watched by any of my friends—in the opposite turn of events, I recommended Bones to the same people who thrust 24 upon me and, like me with 24, they were hooked.
Bones is based loosely around the life events of real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs and follows Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) as she solves cases of murder and mystery with her intricate knowledge of the human body. With help from FBI agent Seely Booth (David Boreanez) and her fellow co-workers, Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), Zack Addy (Eric Millegan), Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and her boss, Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor), the group is able to solve the various mysteries that come their way.
One of the most intriguing things about the show, to me, is that I know absolutely nothing about forensic anthropology, so whatever the show throws at my way I gobble up and don’t question the scientific reality of it all. I’m sure there are fact checkers all over the show, and Kathy Reichs being a producer of the show no doubt adds credibility to it from the get go. Still, between the sometimes intense sequences (notably the episode where Brennan and Hodgins are trapped in a buried car) and the hilarious ones (the episode where Brennan and Booth go undercover in Vegas), the series is never dull. In fact, like another mystery-style show I enjoy, Pysch, it is one of few mystery shows that I want to own on DVD. Even though the mystery isn’t as strong once it’s solved, seeing the characters interact with one another keeps the show fresh, even on repeat viewings.
There are certain levels of shows on Fox, in terms of quality. While 24 and House, M.D. are of “A” level quality and shows like Prison Break, which I enjoy no less than the rest of Fox’s lineup and will no doubt continue to do so, is “B” level, Bones is hard to place. At times the show feels like its a little less serious than other shows on television and at other times it beats the pants off of what NBC or ABC has to offer any day of the week.
Bones took several different directions in its second season and not a one of them were disorienting in the least. The biggest addition to the show was the expansion of Brennan’s character and the introduction of her father, who, surprisingly, kept popping up in the show, straight up until the last episodes of the season. On top of that, things between Hodgins and Angela flared up and bloomed by the final episode and Booth even got some character expansion when he went crazy and shot a fake clown head apart for playing music. I hesitate to say the second season was better than the first, but there were instances where not only the acting level was pushed for the cast of the show, but the “eww” factor to some of the mysteries were jolted way up. On top of that, the addition of Brenna’s new boss, Dr. Camille Saroyan as the replacement for Dr. Daniel Goodman (Jonathan Adams) from season one was kind of awkward at first, but she quickly became “one of the gang” by the end of the season. I’m actually kind of shocked that I had completely forgotten about Goodman until I looked at the Bones IMDb page a month or so back, especially since I had enjoyed his character so much in the first season.
Bones strikes a nice medium between the two levels of shows that Fox continues to air (and green light and then cancel) and I’m eagerly waiting the third season of this excellent show. If you can’t guess by now, this season comes Highly Recommended.
Having not owned the previous season (it is in the mail as we speak, however), I cannot compare the last set with this season, but I can say that this season set is remarkable in its own right. Packaged in an all-black casing, a stark contrast to the all-white first season, this season comes packed into three two-disc thin-paks. Each thin-pack has the main cast adorning each cover (skeletons of Boothe and Brennan on the first set, Brennan, Angela and Zack on the second and Boothe, Camille and Hodgins on the third) and the disc art contains an image of each one of the main six. Menus are very well-done and laid out a bit differently than I’ve seen past series laid out. Rather than having an episode sub-menu, the episodes are listed on the main menu and selecting one will take you to a sub-menu for that episode. Not a huge addition, but a welcome one.
The video and audio on this set is up to the usual Fox standards. Superb video quality mixed with a great 5.1 surround that actually uses the rear channels on occasion, the show looks and sounds better than you saw it when it aired (unless you watched it in HD, which I sadly never did).
Special features? This set has a fair share. While there are only two commentaries, both are entertaining and informative. Deschanel is the only cast member from the show that is on the commentaries (and she’s only on one of them on top of that), but the one she’s on (“The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House”), she’s eventful and full of things to say about the show and her fellow actors. The other commentary, on “Stargazer in a Puddle”, is also a fun listen and both commentaries give hints and clues into what’s in store for the third season of Bones.
All other special features reside on the final disc of the set. First up is a “The Memories in the Season” featurette, which is a nice re-cap of all the major events of the season, complete with cast and crew commentary. This featurette is lengthy (nearly thirty minutes) and is exactly what I think DVDs need more of—while episode commentaries are great, condensing the “best of” the season into one featurette with all the actors talking about their experiences and feelings toward the particular season makes for a very entertaining and easy-to-watch recap of the season. Next up is “Visceral Effects” which goes into how much CGI is used in the show. Sounds boring, right? Well you’re wrong. Sorry. I was expecting it to be a boring featurette too, but I had no idea how much CGI they used in the show—usually it’s noticeable, but the artists working on Bones know exactly what they’re doing and it blends perfectly.
There are a series of deleted scenes from the episodes (not all of them, however) that contain optional commentary by the executive producers of the show. As with most deleted scenes, there’s a reason they were cut but they’re fun for a one time viewing at least. A gag reel is included as well and is sadly a short one as well. The video quality also looks like a fuzzy VHS tape, not sure why it looks so bad, but hey—they’re bloopers! Fun to watch and it’s mostly Boreanez cursing about something, but they’re humorous anyway.
Overall this second season of Bones is simply superb. The season re-cap feature is something I’d like to see on more DVD sets, whether it be from Fox or whoever. It’s a nice, cohesive extra that’s not too bloated and doesn’t make you feel like having to watch multiple episodes with commentaries just to get a glimpse into how the seasons production went for cast and crew. On top of that the video and audio quality is top notch and the set is just all-around excellent. Highly Recommended.
Bones: Season 2 is now available on DVD. Bones second season premieres Tuesday, September 25th, at 8pm on FOX.