- Buy the DVD
All photos © FOX
Reviewed by Will Harris
ne hates to overuse the phrase “what a difference a year makes” when it comes to describing how much a series has grown over the course of a season, but sometimes it’s just perfectly apropos, and such is the case with “Bones.”
When “Bones” first premiered, people were tuning in for one of two reasons: either they were fans of the Kathy Reichs crime novels which inspired the series, or – let’s face it – they were big David Boreanaz fans, since the guy was coming off the heels of having played a dark and dour vampire for the better part of a decade, and everyone wanted to see what he’d do next. In our assessment of the Season One set, we observed that “the crime-solving aspects of “Bones” are inevitably first and foremost in the show, but there’s a fair amount of character development going on here,” adding that “you can see the members of the team evolving over the course of the season.” With Season Two, however, it’s all about the character development.
The first development: a new character. Tamara Taylor joins the cast as Dr. Camille “Cam” Saroyan. Cam is the new head of the Jeffersonian Institute’s Forensic Division, but from a show standpoint, she’s more or less replacing the character of Dr. Daniel Goodman (Jonathan Adams), the former archeologist who had served as director of the Jeffersonian Institution but went on what was originally described to as a two-month sabbatical and never returned. There’s an immediate clash between Cam and Bones (Emily Deschanel), mostly because of Cam’s leadership style – they’re both brusque, but it’s definitely two different types of brusque – but, as it turns out, a certain amount of the conflict can be attributed to the relationship that Cam once had with Booth (Boreanaz). As the season continues, Cam manages to integrate herself into the show pretty well, learning the quirks of her staff. But there’s definitely a learning curve, which proves entertaining for the viewer.
As to the existing characters, “Bones” is definitely Fox’s version of “NCIS,” offering the spotlight to everyone within its ensemble at some point during the season, with considerable evolution by the time the year’s up. The romance between Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) is probably the most entertaining plot thread during these episodes, watching two decidedly different personalities work their way into a relationship in a gradual, realistic fashion. Zack (Eric Millegan) continues to maintain his naïveté, but upon receiving his doctorate, he cleans up his act and, by season’s end, has made a life-altering career decision. There’s a vague sort of love triangle between Bones, Booth and Cam going on, except that neither Bones nor Booth want to admit their feelings toward each other. Tensions still rise when Booth and Cam slip between the sheets for a quick revisitation of their earlier fling. Bones also finds love for a brief spell, but, of course, it doesn’t last (because if it did, how could she and Booth finally get together? Because, c’mon, it’s inevitable!), but she’s also dealing with her highly dysfunctional family, including a father (Ryan O’Neal) who’s a murderer, and an ex-con brother who’s on the run. And what of Booth? He’s dealing with some pretty high stress levels, which result in him shooting up the speaker of an ice cream truck. On the up side, he ends up going into therapy, leading to a regular guest spot for the brilliant and hilarious Stephen Fry as his therapist.
There’s still plenty of forensic exploration going on, including some gore that rivals the stuff you see on “C.S.I.” (the goopfest of the body within a bathtub is awesome), but, as often as not, “Bones” has become a show about its characters and the relationships they’ve built between each other. Frankly, it was probably always that show, but it took a little bit of time for the world at large to get past the matinee names and really get a feel for the series as a whole. If you didn’t get the feel of “Bones” during its first season, you owe it to yourself to give Season Two a try; if you can’t appreciate its charms after that, then there’s no helping you, anyway.
Special Features: Not a full house, but a decent selection. There is commentary on two episodes, but they couldn’t corral Boreanaz back into the studio to do one this time, and one gets the distinct impression that the only reason Deschanel agreed to sit down for a second round was because she’s teamed with her dad, Caleb, who directed the episode on which they’re commentating. Sadly, none of the other cast members do commentary; here’s hoping that situation is remedied the next time around, as there’s so much character development that there are plenty of episodes that lend themselves to contributions from the other folks. The gag reel is funny, of course, and the deleted scenes will be interesting to fans, but both the featurettes – “The Memories in the Season” and “Visceral Effects: The Digital Illusions of ‘Bones’” – succeed predominantly because they blend interviews with the cast members into those with the behind-the-scenes people. The latter tend not to come off very well on camera (which stands to reason) but doesn’t make for enthralling viewing. By mixing them up with the actors, however, the featurettes remain consistently enjoyable.