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November 13 2007

Cable Girl reviews Bones. A review of Bones in the Guardian by Lucy 'Cable Girl' Mangan.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2007-11-13 14:56 ]

I think it is true that David Boreanaz in Bones Seasons 1,2,3 does more closely physically resemble Buffy Season 1 Angel, than he ever did at any time in Angel itself.
Plus, has anyone else mentioned how the character of Dr Brennan is a lot like Anya? Apologies if this is old-hat...
So, do you think she liked it? I hate to see it compared to all those CSI's because it is sooooo much more! I don't think DB looks like Buffy season 1 but more like Angel season 1. The face is more mature and his body has gone back to slim. Gorgeous fellow.
I've always thought of "DB" being handsome in a conventional, James Garner-ish kind of way, as he rather quickly lost that youthful look from the first season in Buffy.
So, do you think she liked it? I hate to see it compared to all those CSI's because it is sooooo much more!

I think she does like it, but not in the "wow, this is must-see television" kind of way. I think it's closer to (but not quite a) "guilty pleasure". Which is pretty much the way I like 'Bones' too. I don't see how the show is 'much more' than a show like CSI, apart from having an actor in a leading role that I've really grown to like seeing on my television set in all those years of Buffy and Angel. Bones is not bad by any means, it just never inspires or amazes. The writing and mysteries range from good to competent, and the acting is usually pretty good as well. Just like it is in CSI. But it doesn't have the methaphorical richness or inspired characters that Joss creates, the dubious morality of the new Battlestar Galactica, the emotional truth of (early) Veronica Mars or anything else which lifts it into a 'classic' category. It's just competent, entertaining television, and there's nothing wrong with that. Of course, this is all imho, so feel free to disagree

I agree with the linked article on the difficulty of the role Emily Deschanel has to play (in the beginning it annoyed me, that in a show where a great scientist plays a lead role, she of course has to be socially inept. Then I got over it), but I think she pulls it off more often than not, instead of the other way around.
There is also the semi-sadistic pleasure of watching Emily Deschanel, as Dr Temperance "Bones" Brennan, wrestle with a part that requires her to be bereft of humour, social skills and basic cultural knowledge as befits a Serious Scientist and Product of the Flawed US Care System and still be likable, sympathetic and capable of striking sexual sparks with the hunk- a-hunk-o'-potentially-burnin' love that is Agent Booth.

That she rarely succeeds at least allows plenty of Gothic plottery to rush in and fill the void at the heart of the show.

Couldn't disagree more. Deschanel is very likeable IMO and brings the funny in a big way ("Stop or I will kick you in the testicles !" ? How not laugh ? ;). Brennan's lack of the social graces and straightforward matter-of-factness (she's almost "strangely literal" ;) about all manner of issues is a large part of the draw for me. She's kind of like a nice version of House who also happens to look quite fetching in a Wonder Woman costume. Bonus ;).

(and how funny-but-cute was her spinning like she clearly used to as a kid ? Pretty darn funny-but-cute, that's how ;)

The premise does owe a bit to the CSIs though. She's older in the books, doesn't have a team as such and is more or less a standard forensic anthropologist i.e. no running around with guns or sitting in on interrogations (although i've only read one of them so far, didn't hate it, liked book Brennan's voice quite a bit even if it doesn't have a lot of the qualities I enjoy in the TV version - she's not nearly as much of a squint in the book for instance) so the show's "adapted" them a fair bit (happily IMO - it's the team chemistry that really make it I reckon, without Zach, Hodgins, Cam and Angela it wouldn't be half the show it is). Top notch "fluff" TV that, every now and then, rises to something a bit special IMO.

(and DB aged, that's what actual humans do. He went from a thin, sort of "heroin chic" in Buffy S1 to a guy that convinces as an ex-army sniper by looking in shape but slightly beefy, his physicality's well suited to the part IMO. I doubt many of us look like we did at 28 by the time we get to 38 ;)
I would agree with Mild Mike to the extent that DB seems to be in muuuch better shape in Bones. The latter years of Angel, when he never tucked in his shirt . . . well, I'm glad to see him looking better.

And the social misfit character (Anya, Bones, Spock, Data) is an archetype, someone who looks in at the rest of us from the outside and therefore is able to see and speak some truths that we on the inside either cannot or will not tell.
... Odo, Dexter, House, Odd Thomas, Christopher John Francis Boone (from the excellent novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time") ...

They're what I call "build-a-human" characters. You take some of the pieces of humanity away (or start with none and add them) to see how we "work".
And I LOVE the way David looks in Bones. LOVE IT! I would watch him eat soup really....I'm just lucky that Bones is actually good.

My favorite combination is when Bones and Zach are talking the science and someone has to translate to cute :)
GVH, comparing Bones to other CSI's (except NCIS) is difficult because there is so much more character development in Bones and so much more humor. And the technical stuff can be so funny with the squints - like using Spam in water to see if the sea chimps will feed on it. Spam is always funny - unless you are eating it, and even then its not so bad if you fry it! Sorry, blast from my childhood. Fried spam, mayo and onion sandwich. YUM!
Build-a-human! I love it.
I've watched CSI and I've watched Bones and the comparison is not even close in my opinion. Bones is ten times the better show. CSI may do the technical stuff better(i.e a bit more realistic), but Bones is a procedural with a heart (and much wittier dialogue).
I'll admit to not watching a lot of CSI (this genre is not exactly my favorite), but I'm sure TexLuvsAngel is right in her assessment that Bones has more character development. I would therefore agree that Bones is probably the better show (although, in a show like this, I like some realism, and some of the technical stuff I see on Bones is pretty much just wrong... not to mention the seemingly impossible 3D imaging technique), but I don't think it's anything special - or even so much better than CSI that it's unreasonable to compare the two. The CSI episodes I've seen are mostly 'okay' to 'good', just like most 'Bones' episodes.

So, in short, we've seen character development done better before in other shows and the procedural part is nothing special (not bad either, just not 'great' and weak on the technical part) so what we're left with is a very decent show, just not a 'classic' in any way.

... but now I'm feeling bad for talking about a show some people obviously love in a not degrading, but.... disregarding manner, so I'll drop my line of thought here and wish all fans very happy viewing :)
Well ... GVH you are certainly entitled to your opinion ... as are we all. But the science is usually pretty accurate (especially for tv). Kathy Reichs is a technical advisor on the show and sees all of the scripts before shooting and they have a forensic expert on set to make sure the bones and all are correct. (She's also the person that does Angela's art) And the Angelator (the 3D imaging machine) does exist. It is very cutting edge and there are only about 10 in the world (I think) but it does exist. They (the creators) do admit that they have to compress some things due to the constraints of TV, but they are proud of the accuracy they are able to achieve.
I really like Bones. Its one of my few 'must watch' shozs since Angel went off the air. That and Lost. I originally watched cos of Boreanaz, but I have stayed because it's a good show.
The 3D imaging machine exists? Including the display? How? Why? ... How? :). Anyone have any links on this? I've actually used the machine in Bones as an example of "impossible television techniques" (along with things like infinate zooming on bad footage, etcetera) in a popular science article I wrote (after I'd phoned a couple of experts in the field who told me the way this thing works is pretty much not possible with current technology) and I wasn't able to find anything on it online. If it does exist, maybe I'll have to write a follow-up article, including a retraction or some such.
How? Why? ... How?

Three very good questions ;).

Also interested in a link re: the "magic pixie dust machine". I've seen the machines that create a plastic model from a 3D image using lasers (which is pretty amazing by itself) and I don't see why they couldn't be used for faces/heads - though they take hours. Maybe this works similarly ? Or maybe by distorting the flow of "dust" particles with a magnetic field ? Like a 3D version of iron filings on paper ? Resolution is the biggest problem that springs to mind, can we control a magnetic field that precisely over a distance ?
I have no personal knowledge of the 3D machine. I did see a live interview with Kathy Reichs where she said that the machine exists. Perhaps not exactly as we see it on Bones, but yes with the imaging. She said there were about 10 in existence and they are supremely expensive. The most common use for them (iirc) is in weather modeling. But she did say that a few of them were in labs. She didn't get into the 'how it works'. :)

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