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David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz - "Bones" Tv Series - Cinescape.com Review

Monday 22 August 2005, by Webmaster

Tuesday, September 13


This season marks the return of quite a few Buffyverse players to regular network gigs. Nicholas "Xander" Brendon will be sautéing and basting things in FOX’s KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, one of the few sitcoms that actually has some positive buzz attached to it; Alyson "Willow" Hannigan headlines a sitcom with less positive word of mouth going for it, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER; Charisma "Cordelia" Carpenter will put aside Playboy pictorials to take on a recurring role in this season’s VERONICA MARS; James Marsters is losing the bleach job and the accent and becoming Braniac on SMALLVILLE (though both hair and voice may return if the newly surging rumors of a new Spike project prove to be true); and Amy "Fred" Acker will turn up midseason in the David Mamet/Shawn Ryan collaboration, THE UNIT.

And then there’s poor David Boreanaz. BUFFY and ANGEL proved that the boy had some chops when it came to brooding and comedy, but BONES was to be his chance to prove his range and step out from the shadow of the vampire with a soul. In BONES, Boreanaz plays Special Agent Seely Booth, an ex-Army sniper who frequently finds himself teaming up with forensic anthropologist and novelist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) to solve crimes. Think of it as CSI except the bodies are longer dead. Assisting the implausibly named Seely and Temperance are the good doctor’s team of specialists, including a computer expert, a young prodigy, and a fellow who knows an awful lot about bugs. In the pilot episode, these supporting cast make an impression primarily through their eccentricities, which is forgivable since most secondary characters need an episode or two before they begin to show depth.

Most of the weight of the show falls squarely on Boreanaz and Deschanel, whose bickering and verbal sparring will form the story’s central relationship: if their relationship works, any faults in the rest of the show might have time to work themselves out. Unfortunately, that relationship doesn’t exactly soar to Mulder and Scully heights. Seely Booth is your basic sarcastic alpha male with authority issues, whose job is to make sarcastic comments, mock Brennan’s lack of street smarts, and dismiss pretty much any theory that "Bones" (as he calls her) offers up. Brennan, on the other hand, is written just a little too on the nose as a bookish type with little or no knowledge of pop culture or human interaction outside lab and library. It’s a relationship that’s built upon the time-tested storytelling concept of dissonance, pairing up wildly divergent personality types who nonetheless work better in unison than they do apart (as with everything from Riggs and Murtaugh to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy). However, both characters are hampered by weak writing that doesn’t do Boreanaz or Deschanel any favors. Booth and Brennan’s antithetical characteristics are overplayed almost into parody, with Booth showing little sign of a layered human being beneath the wisecracks and Brennan’s ignorance of the wider world pushing the limits of believability. Booth tries to play Archie Goodwin to Brennan’s Nero Wolfe, but neither of them is anywhere near as compelling as Rex Stout’s classic literary spawn.

The rest of the pilot is standard fare, with an interesting but not outstanding mystery fueling the plot. Perhaps the most off-putting aspect of the pilot (aside from the occasional groaner amongst the dialogue) is the 3-D holographic display Brennan’s team uses to virtually reconstruct the features of the skeleton of a murder victim. The huge, free-floating display would be more at home in an episode of STAR TREK than in a crime procedural, and since the rest of the show’s universe seems foursquare in the world of today, this aspect of the show throws a stick in the spokes of the show’s momentum.

It’s possible that the show’s writers and actors will grow into their characters over the next few episodes, but with so many similar shows competing for viewer attention, I’m afraid they may not get the chance. I can feel it in my BONES.

2 Forum messages

  • It seems to me that this reviewer is expecting an awful lot from the first episode. After all, even Mulder and Scully weren’t Mulder and Scully straight out of the gate. Me, I would be happy with McMillan & Wife :-)
  • Get over it. Just because you automatically love everything David is in doesn’t mean everybody else is biased against it. The reviewer seemed pretty complimentary to David, acknowledging that it is just a pilot. He’s not reviewing the show, he’s reviewing the pilot. He even expresses hope that it will grow in depth. I’d expect more people to be offended by his comments on Alyson’s "sitcom with less positive word of mouth". I appreciate the review since I missed the pilot.