Bones: Season 6
Television networks are by definition bitter rivals out to prove the superiority of their own offerings. To achieve this goal many networks make the decision to gear their programming to appeal for a specific target demographic. This in a similarity in format to pervade the shows they offer. With pressure from niche networks on basic cable exploding in the area of genre defined shows the pressure is far more intense than ever before to keep a series on track and popular. The Fox network began as the new upstart. Fox was the first new television network to break the monopoly of the traditional ‘Big Three’; ‘CBS’, NBC’ and ‘ABC’. Kicking things off with cutting edge shows like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Married with Children’ Fox quickly became the alternative for the younger more open minded members of the audience. This was a portion of viewers brought up in the cyber world of advance technology and demanded their favorite programs reflect the kind of world they envision as a place for adventure. The mandate to carve out a distinct identity does not exempt a network from yielding to the pressure of hopping on a popular trend. In terms of TV programming the direction that has never gone out of style is the mystery series. The type of stalwart detective has changed a lot over the decades but one thing remains constant; the public demands them as part of every television season. In recent years the classic intrepid gumshoe slinking through dark city streets searching for clues has been replaced by scientists in clean white lab coats bringing the latest, cutting edge advancements in forensic investigation to bear to uncover the truth and bring the criminal to justice. The
Fox variation on this theme was one of the more imaginative variations on the theme with their flagship detective series; ‘Bones’. Te premise remains brilliant, a brilliant but socially awkward forensic pathologist is partnered with a ruggedly handsome FBI Special agent are charged with investigating the agency’s most difficult cases. This was ideal blend of high tech investigatory techniques with good old fashion shoe leather and gut instinct detective work. As with any show of this type an imaginative premise can wear thin resulting in the dreaded declining ratings. For the show runners of "Bones’ the sixth season was a necessary rebuilding year wear the writers and cast had to contend with some significant changes in the basic composition.
Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a genius, the world’s leading authority in forensic pathology. Through the meticulous examination of a few bones Brennan can piece together the life of the person and more importantly what lead to their untimely demise. She is also incredibly wealthy thanks to her side line of being the author of a series of best selling mystery novels depicting her literary alter ego Kathy Reichs. For the last six years Brennan has been partners with FBI special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), who typically refers to her by the eponymous title of the series, ‘Bones’. As of the beginning of this sixth season the writers are flirting with disaster. When the leads of a show are a pair of intelligent, interesting attractive people the writers are going to have the natural impulse to bring them together romantically. Traditionally, this is a risky proposition. The interest is firmly based on the sexual chemistry between the couple but when the relationship is permitted to be consummated the shark gets ready to be jumped. Initially, the writers paid an amazing attention to detail as the crafted these characters. The old adage of opposites attract is a powerful literary trope that was ideally deplored here. Bones’ life is directed by a strict adherence to imperial reasoning. She requires tangible proof in order to accept something as true, juxtaposed to this id Booth, a former Army Ranger sniper and devote Catholic. His belief system demands faith in things unseen. To their credit the writers permitted the romantic elements of this relationship to simmer with each one free to engage in side romances to keep the audience engaged. The eternal quagmire soon presented itself; allow the characters to grow and develop while retaining the elements that provided the success in the first place. With ‘Bones’ this was accomplished with a touch more flair than usually seen. At the end of the fifth season the team had been broken up and literally spread to the four winds. Season six starts with prosecutor for the U.S. Attorneys’ office, Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher) contriving a case that requires the team to come together. Bones’ best friend and the team’s forensic artist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) is married to the team’s insect and particulates expert Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and they just had their first child at the conclusion of the previous season.
The flirtation that has provided the dynamic for the central relationship has been carefully fanned to the point where the audience really needed to see something happen even if it runs the risk of spoiling the delicate interpersonal balance that made the show successful. This was accomplished slowly first giving Booth a serious girlfriend who befriends Bones. That lead to some awkward, comical moments but just as it looks like they would remain together the couple break up. Bones realizing something is missing from her ideal life begins to hear her biological clock, undoubtedly made louder by her best friend’s pregnancy, decides to have child. Not wanting the conventional husband aspect Bones determines that the logical best choice to donate the male gametes would be Booth. There is a cat and mouse game that underlies the entire season culminating in the cliffhanger announcement that Brennan is pregnant with Booth’s child. The real life pregnancy of Deschanel plus her just becoming an aunt may put the idea of offspring in an understandably central location but in any case the thread accomplished its task. The interpersonal interaction is changed by the two becoming parents but it was not a result of a long term socially sanctioned union. Since this was a necessary season of reinventing the series it is understandable that there were some slippage in the overall meshing of the series. It had to regain its footing but thankfully initiated the process before the unavoidable and deadly slip in the ratings. It is better for all concern that this preemptive strike was made in order to maintain the quality and integrity of the series. I enjoyed season six and look forward to watching number seven unfold.