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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bones - The Complete 1st Season
Bones - The Complete 1st Season
Fox // Unrated // November 28, 2006
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted December 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The First Season

Bones is a television that first aired on the FOX Network in 2005. The series is a crime drama about an unlikely pair who work together to solve crime, Booth, an FBI agent who uses his gut and instinct, and Brennan, a forensic anthropologist who uses evidence and science, to solve cases. As such, Booth and Brennan work on cases that involves bodies that are burnt, decomposed, or destroyed beyond recognition. Joining them is Brennan's forensic team from the Jeffersonian Institute. The show is partly based upon the fictional novels written by Dr. Kathy Reichs. As an overall crime drama, Bones gets two thumbs up. It is a fun show that includes drama, mystery, comedy, and action. Not to mention, it has a fairly well-rounded cast and solid storylines.

Headlining the cast are David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. Boreanaz plays FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. Booth is a former Army Ranger sniper who relies on his wit to solve cases. He believes it is his intuition and ability to read people that solve cases. Evidence and the scientific process mean almost nothing to him. He works for the FBI in the homicide unit trying to solve as many murder cases as possible to make up for the countless lives he took as a sniper.

Deschanel plays Dr. Temperance Brennan, who Booth affectionately calls Bones. Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who works for the Jeffersonian Institute. Her area of expertise is postmortem identification of bodies that are beyond recognition by conventional means. She is an expert martial artist and marksman. She desires to work cases from both the laboratory and the field. She lost her family when she was fifteen. To date, she is still looking for them. It is this incident that drives her to solve cases.

Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) is an artist who is unlike the rest of her cohorts at the Jeffersonian. She lacks their nerdy, anti-social tendencies. She works in facial reconstructions and provides visual representations of what the deceased may or may not have looked like using a 3D holographic computer program she designed. Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) is a young, but bright aspiring doctoral candidate. He is pursuing two doctorates in anthropology and engineering. He works as Brennan's assistant. He is socially reserved and beyond geeky.

Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) is the team's entomologist. He likes bugs and slime. He is a conspiracy theorist who is reserved about working with the FBI. Hodgins is somewhat geeky, but has social skills and knows how to work with people--most of the time. Dr. Daniel Goodman (Jonathan Adams) runs the Jeffersonian and he typically oversees Brennan's latest important assignments. As an archeologist, he occasionally offers his expertise. Deputy Director Sam Cullen (John M. Jackson) is Booth's boss at the FBI. He is not one of the main characters, but he has an important role.

The characters are part of what makes this series so strong. Each character provides a likeable individual and the relationships they have with each other only strengthen the appeal. Firstly, the seemingly social awkwardness some of the cast have makes for a few laughs in their daily interactions. For instance, Dr. Brennan is focused and typically lacks the same social grace Booth has with people. What works is how well her character and quirks are worked into the stories, as well as the other characters. In the end, they feel more real than most television characters.

In regards to content, Bones follows a fairly formulaic approach. The episodes begin with Booth bringing in a new case for the Jeffersonian team to work on, or Dr. Goodman informing Brennan's team they will be working on this or that. After a preliminary analysis of the remains, Booth and Brennan hit the field to interview suspects, witnesses, and look for more clues to solve the case. Eventually, between their different approaches, a conclusion is found and the bad guys are caught. However, despite the very formulaic approach, the content keeps fresh with its characters and how they develop as individuals and handle each case. In the end, it makes for some topnotch content.

However, while I praise Bones as a solid production, there are some faults. The series does one thing far too much, drama. In each episode, there is some form of drama that clouds one or more of the character's lives. This aspect is useful for character development, but at the same time it can be pretty thick and fluffy. Fortunately, it is not bad to the point it drowns out the rest of the show's positive qualities.

For notable episodes, there are many, but I'll only mention a few. "The Man On Death Row" is a solid episode with a great story. Booth is forced to revisit an old case when a man on death row (he helped put there) is shouting out for anyone to listen. He is innocent and wants someone to take another look at his case. Booth was a green agent at the time and he has Brennan help him find out if the man on death row deserves to die. What works for this episode is the major plot twist it takes. It is very exciting.

"The Girl In the Fridge" is another great episode. A girl is found dead in a refrigerator and Booth finds out a couple with a risque sexual appetite to be the suspects. This is one of the few cases that make it into the court room. What works for this episode is the defense's expert witness, Brennan's old professor and love interest. "The Woman In Limbo" is the series finale and it is an awesome episode. It focuses on Brennan and develops her character further by solving the mystery of what happened to her parents. The episode has a trail of mystery and unfolds a story that you won't want to miss.

Other strong episodes include "The Man In The S.U.V.", Booth and Brennan must find out if a man is a terrorist or just unlucky, "The Man In The Fallout Shelter", the Christmas episode where everyone is quarantined in the laboratory after a biological agent is released, "The Woman In The Garden", Booth and Brennan's latest case lead them to an El Salvadorian gang, and "Two Bodies In The Lab", Booth and Brennan investigate a six-year old case of a deceased mob boss and Brennan's life is threatened.

Overall, Bones is an exciting drama that focuses on homicide cases and dead bodies burnt, decomposed, or destroyed beyond recognition (you might not want to eat while watching this show). The series has a strong cast who works quite well individually and together, as well as solid storylines with only a tad bit too much drama. In the end, Bones makes for a compelling drama that any fan of crime dramas will enjoy.

Episode Guide

1. Pilot: Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan teams up with FBI agent Seeley Booth to investigate the murder of a Senate intern, the political implications of which may prove to be staggering.
2. The Man In The S.U.V.: When a Middle Eastern diplomat is killed in a car-bomb explosion, Brennan and Booth must determine whether he was a terrorist suicide bomber or a murder victim.
3. A Boy In A Tree: Brennan and Booth attempt to untangle a complicated web of deception, sex, and blackmail as they investigate an apparent suicide at an elite prep school.
4. The Man In The Bear: Brennan and Booth travel to a small town in Washington to investigate the gruesome case of a human hand found inside a dead bear.
5. A Boy In A Bush: When the body of a young boy how has been sexually assaulted and murdered is discovered, Booth calls on Brennan to help find the killer.
6. The Man In The Wall: A scuffle at a nightclub leads to the discovery of the mummified corpse of a hip-hop DJ.
7. The Man On Death Row: The race against time is on as Brennan and Booth investigate the case of a death row inmate who may or may not have committed the murder for which he is about to be executed.
8. The Girl In the Fridge: Brennan reconnects with her old college professor--he's also her ex-boyfriend--as she investigates the case of a decomposed corpse found in a refrigerator.
9. The Man In The Fallout Shelter: The team is quarantined and must remain in the lab over Christmas when the examination of a corpse trips the building's biohazard alert system.
10. The Woman At The Airport: Brennan and Booth head to Los Angeles to investigate the murder of a call girl whose extensive plastic surgery complicates the investigation, and Goodman and Hodgins clash while trying to authenticate an Iron Age skeleton.
11. The Woman In The Car: A woman's body is found in a burned-out car, leading to the discovery that her child has been kidnapped.

12. The Superhero In The Alley: The enigmatic death of a self-styled superhero calling himself Citizen 14 has Brennan and Booth searching for answers.
13. The Woman In The Garden: Dead bodies begin to pile up after the arrest of an El Salvadorian gang member, and Brennan and Booth suspect a possible link to a U.S. Senator.
14. The Man On The Fairway: Foul play is the obvious conclusion when Brennan determines that one of the bodies found at the site of a plane crash was not on board the flight.
15. Two Bodies In The Lab: Brennan's life is threatened by a hit man when the body of a mob boss washes ashore, re-opening a six-year-old investigation, while Booth is haunted by a murder resembling a case from his past.
16. The Woman In The Tunnel: Brennan and Booth go underground to solve the murder of a filmmaker killed while documenting the mysterious denizens of a subterranean tunnel system beneath Washington, D.C.
17. The Skull In The Desert: Angela fears the worst when Brennan and Booth investigate the discovery of a human skull found in the desert where her boyfriend has recently gone missing.
18. The Man With The Bone: A human finger-bone found in the clothes of a drowning victim leads to a search for buried treasure.
19. The Man In the Morgue: While in New Orleans to help identify the bodies of Hurricane Katrina victims, Brennan is thrust into the city's shadowy voodoo underworld, becoming the prime suspect in a grisly murder along the way.
20. The Graft In The Girl: Angela befriends a young cancer patient while Brennan and Booth trace the source of her illness: a tainted bone graft provided by a rogue bio-tissue supply house.
21. The Soldier In The Grace: At Arlington National Cemetery, Booth and Brennan investigate the apparent suicide of a soldier who served in Iraq, and Brennan suspects a cover-up.
22. The Woman In Limbo: Brennan tries to come to grips with her past when the remains that she's examining turn out to be those of her mother.

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color. The picture quality is generally good with detail looking sharp and no issues with colors. However it does have a slight grain, which is more noticeable during darker scenes. There are also some minor traces of edge enhancement.

Audio:
The audio track in this release is in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. The sound quality is top notch and delivers a strong an audible experience by taking advantage of the 5.1 setup (where applicable). The dialogue is easy to hear over background music and sounds effects.

There are also subtitles provided in English, French, and Spanish.

Extras:
Audio Commentaries are included for the episodes "Pilot" with executive producer Barry Josephson and series creator Hart Hanson, and "Two Bodies In The Lab" with actors David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. Both commentaries are entertaining and worth sitting through, especially if you enjoyed the season episodes as much as I did.

Squints Featurette (7:54) is about the cast, specifically the forensic scientists, with dialogue from David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, TJ Thyne, Eric Millegan, Michaela Conlin, and Hart Hanson. It begins with an explanation to what a squint is and why the term applies. Then the focus moves into discussion about the characters and their dynamics, e.g., having Angela to balance out the scientist roles. The actors also provide insights to what it is like on the show.

The Real Definition Featurette (7:28) is a somewhat interesting featurette. It is a montage of clips from the season one episodes divided into four parts. Each part focuses on a technical definition and provides a non-technical explanation, relevant information, and how it pertains to the case. Each is explained with clips from the episodes. The terms include hyperparathyroidism, coccidioidomycosis, sternal foramen, and prion diseases.

Bones: Inspired by the Life of Forensics Anthropologist and Author Kathy Reichs (6:43) is a featurette about the creation of the series. It stars Barry Josephson, Hart Hanson, and Kathy Reichs. They talk about Kathy's role on the series, the science in the show, why they wanted to use Kathy's worth as a creative starting point, the characters, Emily Deschanel, and so on.

Character Profiles is a collection of character facts for Dr. Temperance Brenna, Special Agent Seeley Booth, Angela Montenegro, Zach Addy, Dr. Jack Hodgins, and Dr. Daniel Goodman. The information is brief and stuff you will pick up if you watch the season one episodes.

Final Thoughts:
The inaugural season of the television series Bones offers twenty-two episodes that are compelling, engaging, and most importantly, entertaining. The show focuses cases where bodies are burnt, decomposed, or destroyed beyond recognition. An FBI agent joins with a forensic anthropologist and her team to solve cases. The cases they work on provide an entertaining mystery while the character development gives the show personality. In the end, fans of crime dramas should appreciate this fresh look at criminal investigations that is bad to the bone. It is Highly Recommended.

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