I used to watch Bones in its first season. Being a fan of David Boreanaz on Angel and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, I wanted to see what else he could do and his role here as Booth, a charming FBI agent was a nice contrast to the brooding, tormented vampire Angel, while not being as much fun as his evil counterpart Angelus. Also, there was nothing else on Wednesday nights 2005. Netflix streaming wasn’t a thing, let alone Hulu or Amazon Prime, and we didn’t have a DVR or On Demand to watch what we wanted when we wanted, so if you wanted to watch TV at 9:00 on a Wednesday, you were stuck with what was actually on, and the best option was Bones.
I never thought it was a bad series, but much like CSI or House before it, the structure of each episode was fairly predictable. Dead body, investigation, suspect 1 has an air tight alibi, suspect 2 mysteriously dies, suspect 3 flees the scene on an unrelated charge, and it turns out it was Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the candlestick all along. The two main differences in House were that the killer was always a disease, or a woman poisoning her husband with gold, and the performance of Hugh Laurie as House was never boring.
The characters on Season 11 of Bones have changed a little, but not as much as I would have expected. The weird nerdy guy is gone after apparently being revealed to be a serial killer around season 5, Angela (Michaela Conlin) and T.J. (Jack Hodgins; Angel) are a couple now, and for those of us wondering during season 1 if Booth and Bones would or wouldn’t, it turns out they would and are also together. Not really surprising when you’ve seen any other similar series. The standout newcomer is Camille (Tamara Taylor; Serenity), who works in Bones’ lab and much like Bones herself seems to be somewhere on the autism spectrum, which is impressive to play, but one of the reasons I stopped watching the show to begin with was Booth’s charisma alone wasn’t nearly enough to keep me invested in the series. I had a hard time caring about any of the other characters, and I’m sad to see that they haven’t changed much over the past decade.
I didn’t watch all of Season 11 because I don’t have 22 hours to spend on these reviews when I have an actual job that pays me. But I did watch a handful throughout the series that I thought might be interesting. The season opens with Booth missing and presumed dead after the team discovered what seems to be his body at the end of last season, but we soon discover that he’s being held captive by a lunatic and of course the rest of the team finds him and gets him back to work. I also watched the bizarre crossover with Sleepy Hollow, which is another show I don’t watch but have always understood it to be a more supernatural cop procedural and watching Bones try to explain the weird stuff that only happens when Icabod Crane is on your show was strange to me. The mid season finale was probably the best of the episodes I watched, culminating in an explosion that leaves T.J. paralyzed, but as soon as I saw that, I could predict his character trajectory for the rest of the season: irritability, depression, possibly a pain medication addiction. Unfortunately it’s been done a million times.
It’s hard for me to imagine who would be reading this review to try to convince themselves if they should check out Season 11. If you’ve stuck with the series this long, chances are you’ve already seen it. If this is your first season of Bones, you probably won’t be lost by what’s going on after the beginning search for Booth episodes because it’ll slip right back into a case-of-the-week procedural structure from there and the characters haven’t changed much since I stopped watching in 2006.
Available now on DVD from 20th Century Fox.