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Entertainment Weekly, Special double Issue - 8 September 2006 TV Fall Preview.



Zdroj: www.ew.com

Fox's freaky forensics drama, known for its over-the-top plots, adds a mind-boggling family mystery to the season 2 mixObrazek

RETURNING SHOW

BONES


On the set of Fox's sophomore crime series Bones, beneath an enormous fake skylight that perfectly replicates the blazing L.A. sun outside, the plastic carcass of a Delaware Bay bluefish lies splayed atop a glistening table. "It's a Pomatomus saltatrix," explains TJ Thyne, a.k.a Dr. Jack Hodgins, in response to an obrserv's squeamish noise. "It was found with a body, and I'm examining it for dinoflagellates, oomycota, that kind of stuff." Oh, that kind of stuff. Welcome to the Medico-Legal Lab of Bones' fictional Jeffersonian Institute, where even fish guts are of the utmost importance.
Partly based on the life of best-selling author and anthropologist Kathy Reichs, Bones stars Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brannan (nicknamed "Bones"), a forensic anthropologist whose parents disappeared when she was 15. She's formed an unlikely partnership, professionally - and just maybe romantically - with FBI homicide investigator Seeley Booth (Angel's David Boreanaz); together, they gather and examine the evidence found with victims' corpses - like that creepy fish - to solve seemingly impossible mysteries. Think The X-Files, but replace the aliens with flesh-eating beetles; combine that with Moonlighting's sexual tension and offbeat humor, and you're just about there.


But those comparisons only tell part of the story :

Bones stands out thanks to its proclivity for spinning odd yarns that make the audience wonder which writer is on crack. "It's totally me," confesses creator and executive producer Hart Hanson (Joan of Arcadia). "Things I find normal are a little wackier than other people. "Examples? Last season, the father of facial reconstruction artist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) was played, with no explanation, by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. And int he sixth episode, Brennan karate-kicked someones through a wall, only to discover a corpse mummified by crystal meth. "I enjoyed that moment so much," Hanson sighs nostalgically - but from a viewer's perspective, these things are just brain-crushingly strange. Adds Deschanel with a laugh: "There are limits to how goofy you can get, and I think we've found them."
Amazingly, the folks at the network aren't complaining about the series' skewed sense of humor at all. It helps that Bones attraced 9 million viewers in its first year, despite airing opposite hits like NCIS and Lost. "It was a show that, in a crawded field of procedurals, tried to distinguish itself through tone," says Craig Erwich, Fox's exec VP of programming. "Which, in a weird way, made it unique."
Far removed from the fish guts outside, David Boreanaz is sitting on the couch in Brennan's warmly lit office; much like this character, he prefers to avoid dealing with the science. "I'm just a cop with a gun," he says. "Hodgins has this line" - he flips through his script, reads a deeply confusing snippet of forensics-heavy dialogue aloud, and looks up, awestruck. "What the f- - - is that?" he hollers at the script with exaggerated frustration. "Can you speak in English?" It's fun to see Boreanaz enjoying himself after so many gloomy years in the Buffy-verse; this season, he'll also get to explore Booth's past, which includes a gambling addiction and a fling with a woman named Rebecca (guest star Jessica Capshaw) that produced his 4-year-old son, Parker (Yours, Mine&Ours' Ty Panitz).


Meanwhile, relative newcomer Deschanel (Cold Mountain) is still getting used to carrying a TV show on her back. "I've become a more efficient actor for doing television," she says, "because it really forces you to jump into things and not second-guess." That fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants style is working: Deschanl's deadpan delivery is oddly mesmerizing, and B Brennan's realtionships with the Jeffersonian's staff - like conspiracy theorist Hodgins, best firend Angela, and peculiar grad student Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) - are splendidly co-dependent. "Emily is of such a different caliber from the women I've worked with," says Boreanaz. "Tof be a foil for her...I love the chance to play romantic comedy. That's something people haven't seen in me. I don't have to be brooding."
The flirty banter is fun, but it also begs the inevitable will-they-or-won't-they question. The answer is, um...not right now. "I think [that] would just be a terrible thing to do this early in the series," Hanson says. But that's not to say there won't be more teasing. Says Boreanaz, "You're gonna see these stakeouts, these whispering moments, these little things that couples do. I want to raise the bar more."

On the floor of the lab, Boreanaz and Deschanel are shooting a scene that points to where Bones is headed in season 2: They're bickering as usual, only this time it's about a new arrival, no-nonsense pathologist Dr. Camille Saroyan (Serenity's Tamara Taylor), who was brought in as head of forensics before Jeffersonian director Dr. Goodman (Jonathan Adams) went on hiatus. Saroyan was hired while Brennan was on vacation, and also shares a past with Booth. "She shows up, gets Brennan's promotion, and has had a relationship with Booth," says Taylor, who's signed on for six episodes. "You can't get more conflict than that."


Hanson and the writers have also added an overarching mystery to the mix. Last season's finale found Brennan identifying her mother's remains and discovering that her parents were notorious bank robbers who changed her name when she was 2. But it was the episode's final moments that no one saw coming, not even Hanson - and he wrote the thing. Brennan's dad is alive, and he's left a message telling her not to look for him. "As I typed out that answering machine message [in the script], I went, 'Holy crap!'" recalls Hanson. "'Look at that!' I just gave myself a huge headache!'"
That's a whopper of a plot tangle to dump on a show that was already working quite nicely, thank you - so, how will producers keep this newly complex story from running of the rails? They'll start by not overwhelming their viewers. "In concept, Bones is a closed-ended show," says Erwich. "Because 90 percent of Bones gets wrapped up episode by episode, it gives us the liberty to tell longer arcs." And most importantly, they promise to stay true to what works. For Bones, that means keeping things a little off-kilter. "They're always asking me questions in strange, suggestive ways," says Deschanel. "Like, 'Can you rappel? Are you afraid of rats?'" Explains Hanson : "From the moment they asked me to do this show, I said, 'I'm not your guy to do CSI.' And they said, 'We know. We want you to do it your way.' Allthey have done - and they're not wrong - is say, 'Your cases have to be good.'"


So, much like Brennan and Booth, Hanson simply keeps his eyes on the task at hand. And besides, once you get past the rotting fish and technobabbe, Bones' quirky characters are still the ain reason for its success. "It's the dynamics of human behavior and interaction," says Deschanel. Millegan has an even simpler theory that requires no scientific knowledge whatsoever, just a familiarity with what Americans likes to see on their TVs. "I was just watching Emily and David rehearsing," he says. "They're both so good-looking, I think I'll have a job for a while."

- Whitney Pastorek. for EW