Imagine a forensic drama, similar to CSI, which includes all the fundamentals of a good sitcom. It’s a show that is not all about death, murder, and solving the crime; it’s also about the people who are doing the crime solving. These people aren’t boring, drab, and predictable like on most forensic-related shows. They are exciting, fun, and interesting – they make you want to be their friend. This show doesn’t just run off of dead bodies, either. There is an intense story behind the whole show, all going back to something from another episode, creating a great foundation for a drama television show. This show also appeals to most adult audiences with the humor and demeanor of the whole show, assuming you are not an overly squeamish person. This show is Bones, the best forensic drama on television because of its characters, content, and appeal.
Bones starts off on a good foot with the characters’ personalities. The main characters, Dr. Temperance Brennan, played by Emily Deschanel, and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz, add the most flair to the show. Dr. Temperance Brennan is a very intelligent, quirky woman who highly values her work, sometimes more than she values herself. Her over-literal mindset and ignorance to the obvious makes social interaction awkward, for her and the people around her. For example, Booth comes out of a coma where he dreams he was married to Dr. Brennan, and then decides to tell her that he is in love with her. Booth pauses and adds, “…in an atta-boy kind of way”, so that’s exactly what Dr. Brennan thinks he means, and she replies with “Oh, I get it, atta-boy kind of way” and a slug on his shoulder (Harbingers). Dr. Brennan is the main character in the show, a forensic anthropologist at the “Jeffersonian Institution”. She is known as “Bones”, mostly by Booth, for her attention to minute clues that have been left in a person’s bones before, during, or after death. When nobody else can figure it out, the case is assigned to her, knowing that she will almost always find out what happened.
Dr. Brennan’s partner-in-crime, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, most definitely lives up to his name. Booth works with Dr. Brennan on murder investigations, and has a whole personality of his own. His slight ego-trip causes him to be outgoing in a way, doing little things to defy authority just because he can. For example, he will often wear bright patterned or funky socks and ties. He also wears a belt buckle displaying “Cocky” with a picture of a rooster, which pretty accurately describes him in a belt buckle (Hero). The rest of Dr. Brennan’s team, called “squints” by Booth, all have interesting personalities of their own. Zack Addy was Dr. Brennan’s super smart, cute, young intern. Zack had uncanny logic processing skills; for example, he says about Santa Claus, “If you take into account all believers of the myth, factor in time zones, rotation of the Earth, and assume Santa travels east to west, he would have to make approximately 822.6 visits per second to reach every child.” (Santa)
Jack Hodgins is the bug and slime guy, the one with bright blue eyes and a head full of blonde curls. He thinks there is a conspiracy behind just about everything, and will give you all of the information to back it up. Hodgins is also “King of the Lab”, which is a way that the boys have come up with to claim who is the better scientist. Zack will argue that Hodgins is not, and that he is the one who is “King of the Lab”.
Angela Montenegro, the artsy girl, does almost all the facial reconstruction for Dr. Brennan, in addition to being her best friend. One can only love Angela; she is a beautiful, fun, free spirit with a huge heart, who only wants the best for everyone. She lives for the moment. Angela doesn’t like all the blood, guts, and stench of her work; she specializes in facial reconstruction, the least nasty part of the whole task. Angela invented a three-dimensional computer model using light, which the team now uses as a key tool to help identify remains. Using this tool, Angela avoids the repulsive aspects of identifying human remains. The rest of the crew is just as exciting, but these are just a few of the characters’ personalities. Each character in the show has something different about them that one can relate to, making it interesting to see how the characters interact, and adding to the humor and excitement of the whole show.
In addition to great characters, Bones has excellent roots for a good forensic drama. The storyline is intense, suspenseful, and intriguing; they always keep you wondering what will happen next? For example, after an explosion putting Zack into the hospital, the team discovers that he, the cute intern who could never hurt a fly, has become involved with a cannibal serial killer that the team has been following, known to them as “Gormogon” (Pain). Because Zack knows the team will figure him out, he blows up his own hands in an experiment, in an effort to escape while at the hospital. The team, who all love him so much, vow to keep someone in the room with him at all times until he’s better, putting a serious kink in his escape plan. The team finally figures it out as they are rotating people to visit with Zack and work on the explosion case at the same time, and everyone is extremely shocked. However, they all still love him. Another root Bones has stuck in the ground, is how the producers have managed to have just about every episode relate to a previous episode. For example, the team began investigating Gormogon in “The Widow’s Son in the Windshield”, and involved the case in many episodes thereafter (Widow). It played a major part in the whole story when Zack gets institutionalized for his involvement with Gormogon (Pain). This relativity between episodes causes the watcher to become involved in the show, wondering what else could possibly happen next? Additionally, to make the roots even stronger, this series is based on the forensic findings and novels by Kathy Reichs, a real-life forensic anthropologist and novelist. Dr. Brennan’s character is based off of the Dr. Temperance Brennan in Reichs’ novels; however, there are minute differences, such as having a daughter in the books but not in the television show. Regardless, having all of these qualities in a television show almost guarantees a good series.
The final reason why Bones is the best forensic drama on television is because it’s made for everybody. They don’t make it impossible to understand what the characters are talking about – in fact, they make it pretty clear. If they do use technical jargon, they either explain it, or it’s not a vital piece to understanding the main concept. For example, Dr. Brennan will spit out something in another language, and Booth doesn’t get it – he’s an FBI agent, not a squint. He doesn’t understand what a cerebral cortex is or whatever type of substance Hodgins just rambled off, so someone has to explain it to him. Booth’s ignorance to scientific jargon is used to help the rest of us understand what they are talking about, and often is done in a comical manner. Another point is that most adults can understand and relate to what the characters are experiencing in the show, in one way or another. Finally, Bones always has something different coming. It can be intense, edge-of-your-seat kind of drama like we’re used to in crime television. It can also be about the relationships between characters, which can get pretty intense at times. It could even sometimes have an upbeat, feel-good mood to the episode. Bones is almost always funny. Although the show tends to have a dark sense of humor, most people would laugh throughout the entire seasons.
With all the television shows available on air, how can you say just one show is the best? How is one supposed to pick a single television show to call the greatest of all shows? Under the assumption that everyone likes watching forensic drama, one can easily see how Bones could be considered the best on the air today. The funny, crazy characters, the intense story of the whole show, and the fact that it’s made for almost everyone to enjoy, all add up to my conclusion that Bones is the best forensic drama to this day.
“Harbingers in the Fountain” Bones. Dir. Ian Toynton. Fox. 17 September 2009. Television.
“The Hero in the Hold” Bones. Dir. Ian Toynton. Fox. 5 February 2009. Television.
“The Santa in the Slush” Bones. Dir. Jeff Woolnough. Fox. 27 November 2007. Television.
“The Pain in the Heart” Bones. Dir. Allan Kroeker. Fox. 19 May 2008. Television.
“The Widow’s Son in the Windshield” Bones. Dir. Ian Toynton. Fox. 25 September 2007. Television.