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David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz - "Bones" Tv Series - Season 1 DVD - Zap2it.com Review

Daniel Fienberg

Wednesday 29 November 2006, by Webmaster

’Bones: The Complete First Season’

The chemistry and characters set this procedural apart

There’s a tendency — one that I’ve often fallen victim to — to view FOX’s "Bones" as just another procedural drama, the latest "CSI" clone to feature law enforcement officers and lab techs solving intricate murders using gizmos and preternatural intelligence.

Perhaps if "Bones" were, in fact, about generic whodunit thrills it would be a more successful show. Created by Hart Hanson and inspired by the work of forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs, the first season of "Bones," new on DVD this week, is often plagued by predictable mysteries and tin-eared legal machinations.

What sets "Bones" apart, though, are the relationships between the characters, particularly Emily Deschanel’s Dr. Temperance Brennan and David Boreanaz’s FBI Agent Seeley Booth. She’s a woman of facts and logic and he’s a man of faith and behavioral insight, and their rapport is full of humor and, as the season progresses, caring. It took me several episodes — nearly a season actually — to warm to Deschanel, whose mannered line readings and occasionally awkward physical presence are part of a carefully constructed character designed to play in opposition to Boreanaz’s effortless charm. Although the comparisons to Scully and Mulder or to David Addison and Maddie Hayes are obvious, I kind of hope the show’s creative team can resist the need to create a romantic pairing any time in the near future.

Also surprisingly distinctive is the interplay between the Squints — scientists and researchers — at the Jeffersonian Institute. The never-marginalized supporting players — including co-stars T.J. Thyne, Eric Millegan and Michaela Conlin — are central to a realistic workplace environment full of banter, flirtation, teasing and good-natured competition.

The fact that the show is consistently funnier and more relatable than all but the best of "CSI" episodes makes "Bones" more amenable to extended DVD viewership than most similar shows. The first season has very few serialized elements — certain aspects from Booth’s past and the disappearance of Brennan’s parents progress slightly — but the relationships evolve pleasantly.

The first season’s 22 episodes have been neatly packed onto four double-sided discs and two slim-pack cases and bonus features are minimal.

Executive producers Hanson and Barry Josephson provide an interesting commentary on the pilot, offering insight into the ways that the testing process improved the first episode. Boreanaz and Deschanel are funny and personal, but not exactly informative, over the "Two Bodies in a Lab" episode. Although the two stars are mostly prone to joking about hair and costuming, they admit that the show would probably be over if Booth and Brennan ever consummated their relationship.

A few featurettes are included on the last disc, none longer than eight minutes. On "Squints," the actors discuss the difficulties of delivering scientific dialogue, while Hanson notes that the characters were based on real scientists he’s met. Disappointing, none of those real scientists, nor any of the show’s technical advisors, appear. Reichs is the focus of another feature, but she doesn’t go much deeper than insisting that the show’s forensics are sound. On "The Real Definition," viewers can learn to use terms like hyperparathyroidism, coccidioidomycosis, sternal foramen and Prion diseases like a true Squint.

"Bones" is often ooey-gooey gross and I wish there’d been some sort of feature saluting the make-up and props wizards who create the blobs of flesh, shards of bone and miscellaneous puddles.

One of the advantages of FOX’s recent failure to develop successful new programming is that shows like "Bones" — very strong so far this season — have a chance to develop a voice. Perhaps the DVDs will help the show find a new audience.