First the good – I’m happy to include Bones in my selection of crime procedurals because it is just plain fun to watch. Each mystery is self contained (there wasn’t really a plot arc this season) and they’re creative and satisfying. There’s a good mix of science and action and also a careful balance between quirky cases and never losing sight of the fact they’re talking about events that change people’s lives. I like that I can watch it while eating dinner and browsing the internet and it’s fun, or I can pay attention to it and get more from it.
The characters are a big part of that enjoyment. Their careful evolutions, gradually developing based on their experiences are a real reward for loyal viewers. Booth and Brennan form an excellent partnership with contrasting skills but a great respect for each other’s talents. The same applies to the rest of the team, including the rotating cast of interns, the kind of large dysfunctional family that is easy to fall in love with. (Except for Daisy, she is very annoying indeed.)
The frustrating thing this season has been the endless hinting and teasing about whether Booth and Brennan are in love with each other. To me, they have excellent chemistry as professional partners and as protective friends, but I never bought a romantic connection between them. The writers seem to feel the same way, not least because of the Moonlighting effect which immediately kills a show if the ‘unrequited’ couple get together. Booth and Brennan care for each other, want each other to be happy, understand each other better than anyone else… but they’re not romantic soul mates.
Looking back it feels as if a massive amount of the season was spent teasing people who are obsessed with that relationship, basically poking the shippers with a stick until they get hysterical. First there was the whole hallucination thing, then the flashback and then the final lingering scene of the season. Maybe I’m just too cynical, there are a lot of (vocal) fans out there who adore that romantic element to the show, probably the same people I got annoyed with when they endlessly talked about Mulder and Scully.
Bones to me is a pretty disposable show – watch it, enjoy it, forget it until next week. To damn it with faint praise – it’s nice. It irritates me with the flip-flopping of relationships mostly because the show really doesn’t need it and I think it would be a lot more satisfying to have the grown up characters just be friends without trying to pair absolutely up in turn.