So is anybody excited that Bones is back from its strike-induced hiatus? Other than me, I mean. Sorry, too much excitement kills my grammar. How excited am I? Well, if they made little Temperance “Bones” Brennan and Seeley Booth dolls, I’d make them sit around and play kissing games all day. I’d throw them tea parties and weddings. Awwww!
Okay, so … no, I’d never do any of that because that would be, you know, insane but I have come to the conclusion that the Bones-Booth ship is *the* ship for the foreseeable future. Let me tell you why this is not merely another symptom of my creeping insanity:
When Bones premiered three years ago, there was already a glut of cop dramas on TV. Even the forensics angle faced tough competition from the CSI franchise so enthusiasm ran a little low (at least in me) even if it was hailed as the best of the new crop that year. After all, The Wire was in its heyday then and no matter how studiously the industry ignored it, anybody who’d ever seen it knew it was the best cop drama on TV period so all this pretender to the crown business was just that: pretension.
Further complicating matters is David Boreanaz as a devout Catholic FBI agent without a vampire in sight. Not that this really mattered to me because I wasn’t an Angel freak when I was young (for that matter I wasn’t a huge Buffy fan either – I did that weird thing I do with Lost now: catch every other season coz I can’t be bothered to catch up in between), so my response to the cast was lukewarm at best.
This meant that I really had no interest in the Bones-Booth ship. Sure, I liked both of them (Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel) but this was back when Grey’s Anatomy was my number one ship-fix. Remember those halcyon days when Derek wasn’t an asshole, Meredith wasn’t suicidal, Cristina had a spine, Izzie wasn’t sleeping with George, Miranda had found a way to stay married unlike all the dopey people surrounding her, Addison wasn’t being sucky on the suckier Private Practice and Burke hadn’t run away? Yeah, back when we had a show rather than a mess. Give up that Mer-Der for this? Never!
Added to the mix were two things that have bothered me about this show from day one.
First off, the cases. They’re ludicrously simple. Maybe they sound really complicated and strange when they’re thinking them up in the writer’s room and perhaps the actual forensic work has multiple levels to it, but I really don’t like it when I can immediately spot whodunnit two minutes after being introduced to them. And even in the rare case where I turn out to be wrong (I think it happened… once?), the whole thing is less of a shock and more of an “Oh, yeah.”
The second thing that really bugs me is that goddamned hologram thingy. The “Angelator”, hyuk hyuk. Everytime they show it, I want to find the moron who thought it up and stab them in the eye. Okay, maybe not stab them in the eye. But I’d give them a few vicious pokes. I bet some of the effects people on this show worked on Alias. The Angelator is so Alias!
Okay, I feel better. Moving on…
Cut to three years later. The Wire is off the air while CSI and L&O cackle their way through yet more seasons. What sort of a world do we live in where David Caruso and his shades have more lasting power than McNulty & Co.? Not that Caruso and his shades don’t have a space in this world – it’s the one real contribution CSI has made to pop culture.
In the meantime, I had a chance to catch on Kathy Reichs (the real life forensic anthropologist upon whose life and work the series is based) and a lot of things became clear. For example, those loopy cases and the Angelator are both reactions to Reichs’ writing.
Those who’ve read the novels know that Reichs’ Dr. Temperance Brennan bears very little resemblance to the one portrayed by Deschanel on the show. But the differences go beyond things like life history and age: the Temperance of the books is a gritty, emotionally battered woman who’s pretty much the anti-thesis of Bones whose emotional scars are of a completely different kind. And the books themselves, though rather well written and better researched (after all, Reichs is a forensic anthropologist so she must know what she’s talking about), suffer from the same disease that Elmore Leonard‘s books suffer from: they make better films (or TV as the case might be) than books. For different reasons, mind you, but it’s the same problem.
I could see Reichs’ book being faithfully adapted by HBO but Fox? Not so much. Yup, it’s that different.
So it makes sense to me that its the relationships on this show that work so wel because they’re the only part of the show where the writers have total control over the characters. The rest of the time, it’s like they’re making everybody go through all this cop stuff with blood and bones and decomposed bodies and serial killers and all that – but the one part they came up with by themselves, they absolutely nail to the wall.
Am I convincing you yet? Well, you should think about it. Because there’s really nothing out there to ship now except maybe for Huddy. I love the Huddy. But I don’t know what it would do to House if he and Cuddy actually began a relationship. On the one hand, I’d really like to see the two of them together (Huddy babies! EEEEE!) but I’d hate it if it suddenly gave him a personality transplant and let’s face it, that’s the only way anyone could tolerate House, most especially Cuddy. I mean, when even Cameron says she’s over you (even if she’s lying just a teensy bit), it’s a sign. A neon, blinking sign. Sigh. I love him so much.
Of course now that I’m all gung-ho about this show, I bet Fox is about to cancel it. Not for nothing was Hugh Laurie so tentative about moving his family to the States even after everybody fell in love with House. Speaking of which, it’s kind of fitting that Bones airs right before House – you can watch Bones for the ship and House for everything else.
PS – Are people seriously considering Zack for Gormagon? My money’s on Bankroft.