Like Castle or White Collar, Bones is another in a long line of crime show that pair two unlikely partners. While they don't get along at the start, over the course of the show the two learns about each other, grow closer, and put a lot of murderers behind bars. That's pretty much what happens in Bones, and after a very impressive 12-season run the program has finished its time on the small screen and that means it's time for a compete series set. This massive 64-disc collection includes all 245 episodes and some decent bonus material (unfortunately all of it previously released) in a nice new case. It's a decent show that starts off slow but builds steam as it goes along.
Based on a series of books by Kathy Reichs, the show revolves around Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a brilliant forensic anthropologist with little-to-no social skills, and Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz - Buffy/Angel) a tough and personable FBI agent. Brennan's expertise is identifying people from their largely or completely decomposed remains, and Booth ropes her (and her team) in on cases where her experience will prove useful. And useful she is. Brennan, who Booth playfully nicknames "Bones," can discern where, when, and how a person was killed from as little as three quarter-sized bone fragments.
Rounding out Brennan's team who work at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute in Washington DC are the 'squints' as Booth refers to them: Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) is an entomologist who studies the bugs that are usually found inside decomposing corpses and believes in most conspiracy theories; Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), a free-spirit artist who specializes in facial renderings from skulls; Zack Addy (Eric Millegan), a graduate student who has even less social skills than Brennan; and (later is the show) Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) as a psychologist who provides comic relief; and (much later) FBI Agent James Aubrey (John Boyd).
While Brennan and her team provide Booth with valuable leads, the place where they clash is on how to go about deciding who actually committed the murder. While the agent believes in going with his gut instincts, the scientist will only look at hard evidence and doesn't pay much heed to Booth's hunches. Yet, as is common in most of these type of shows, there's an undeniable attraction between the two that everyone can see except them.
The show is decent, solid entertainment, but it does start off on rocky ground. Brennan is a bit too perfect. Not only is she a brilliant, attractive scientist, but she speaks several languages and is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. In one episode the 110 lb Brennan takes out a beefy, highly trained FBI agent... who has a gun on her... while she has both hands literally tied behind her back. That calls for more than a little suspension of disbelief. is a In the first season the writers were still getting a handle on the characters and this results in some predictable mysteries and some bland episodes. In the early episodes the shows follow a set formula for the most part: there are three characters who introduced while Booth and Brennan investigate a murder, Booth thinks one is the criminal, Brennan thinks it's another, and the real murderer is the third. The humor doesn't work in season one either (though the show never truly gets funny, the first season is the worst) and the jokes, which often involve the brilliant scientists not understanding the way the real world works, mostly fall flat.
This show, since it deals closely with science, requires a bit more suspension of disbelief than your run of the mill detective series. In one episode they talk about getting a bullet's striations (used to match the gun it was fired from) from the bone that the bullet passed through. The writers apparently didn't know that bullets spin and therefore would not leave the pattern in a bone. There are a lot of things like that which occur throughout the series, but the only one that I had a hard time swallowing was the "Angelator." This fictional device is a machine that can, when given information from a skull, produce a 3D holographic image of the victim's face along with their hair style and even their race. (Race is a social construct rather than a scientific classification. There is no genetic or skeletal cues that identify race, so it wouldn't be possible for a machine to assign a race based on a skull.) They also use the Angelator to crudely reconstruct murders. It's just a silly device and the show would be much stronger without it.
While the show does have its flaws, the strength is in the characters and their interactions. As the show progresses, Booth and Brennan's backgrounds are fleshed out (including the mystery of the disappearance of Temperance's parents) as well as the rest of the cast. Deschanel and Boreanaz have a lot of chemistry on camera and as the series progressed I found myself liking them more and more. Consequently it was easier and easier to overlook the (admittedly minor) errors in science or plotting. As the series went on the writing improved too. The twists were more unexpected, the plots were tighter, and the show just became a lot more fun. While it never became a truly great show, when all is said and done it is very good.
This complete series set is just the 12 individual seasons that were previously released bundled together in a press-board container with a slipcase. Once opening the box you'll find the original season sets, each individually sealed. Unfortunately there is not a bonus disc or even a commemorative booklet that is unique to this collection.
As you would expect from a series that premiered in 2005, the video quality is very good. The image is clean and clear and there are no digital defects that will bother viewers. Granted, this is a DVD so it's not as crisp as a high definition Blu-ray, but that's just the nature of the beast.
The show arrives with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (as well as optional subtitles) that is perfectly adequate for the show. Most of the sound comes from the front, but occasionally there will be a sound effect thrown to the rears. A decent mix for a TV show.
As I mentioned earlier, there isn't any bonus disc or book included with this collection. The extras are all on the individual season sets, and they're okay. Each season has a gag reel, some deleted and extended scenes, and a few commentary tracks (the latter stops after season 9). There are also a couple of featurettes sprinkled through the 12 seasons including a Comic-Con panel and a retrospective on the show. Overall I wasn't wowed by the bonus material, but it was decent.
Bones is a very solid and decent mystery show and this complete set allows viewers to binge watch the whole series as quickly as they would like. Though there are some flaws, the program gets better as it goes and the characters are quite strong. Recommended.