Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bones enjoying stride

     FOX's Bones, now in it's sixth season, has solidified its formula and now is luxuriating in its success. Is that a good thing? Bones has always been one of the best case-of-the-week crime shows, owing to an amazing cast of characters. Lately, owing to a long-growing formation of tight social bonds and relationship developments, the show is able to spend just as much time on the personal stories as the case, which I view as a boon. Yet, the cases stay interesting and fun, and actually add to the personal drama, rather than detract from it.

     For example, this week David Alan Grier guest starred as Bunson Jude the Science Dude, and his assistance to Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) was as comical as it was helpful. Last week, Brennan and Booth (David Boreanaz) investigated a murder at the Jersey Shore. Brennan was fascinated by the culture, which she had been studying in the "documentary series" Jersey Shore. She got to explain creeping and GTL to Booth. Great plots, very entertaining, and showcasing the main characters as well as the murder.

     But why wasn't Bones able to score any big casting gets? An attempt to get some of the Jersey Shore cast members to appear in the episode fell through, and did they even approach Bill Nye the Science Guy about guesting this week? Those types of things are, indeed, stunt casting. But for a long running, semi-popular, well-made show such as Bones, shouldn't they have been achievable gets? Maybe the people behind the show didn't want that, thinking it veered too much into cheese. Yet, they did the plots anyway, with imitations of the real thing, so why not go all out?

     That aside, the series has never been better. Temperance Brennan has lightened up so much that she's almost a normal person. This is due to not only her growing feelings for her partner, but also the real friendships she has forged in the workplace. Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) has gotten markedly happier since he found love, even when he wasn't with her. Angela (Michaela Conlin) has allowed herself to be tied down and start a family. And Sweets (John Francis Daley) and Cam (Tamara Taylor) have been fully accepted into the group that was already established before the arrived.

     And that's not all. Somewhere along the way, the Bones cast has expanded greatly, with a whole host of new characters considered part of the little Jeffersonian family. The rotating cast of interns has been an absolute joy. I miss those that are gone each week, and get excited to see who will come back next. Ms. Julian (Patricia Belcher) has been an important presence in half the season so far. Booth's new love interest, Hannah (Katheryn Winnick), is already making friends with and inviting Cam, Brennan, and Angela over to hang out. One big, happy group.

     That is what worries me; everyone is so happy, gets along so well. Don't get me wrong. Despite the love I had for the clashing between the characters early on, I am pleased to see the maturation. Now, though, the series gets to the point where it may be in danger of floundering. I have no complaints about the plot of sending everyone away at the end of last year, nor the solid premiere that brought them all back together. It punted the point of needing another shakeup down the field a bit. But only a bit. I predict that the next major twist will be when Brennan makes a play for Booth, and the inevitable breakup of Booth and Hannah. I'm not sure that's enough to fill a whole season, though.

     Don't get me wrong. I'm not pessimistic. I love Bones. I'm curious to see where the show will go from here. Just a word of caution to the people that make it: even though the current comfort is a delight, don't get too comfortable.

     Bones airs Thursday nights at 8pm on FOX.

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Article first published as TV Review: Bones Enjoying Stride on Blogcritics.

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