Bones: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Season five of the semi-biographical procedural is almost forensically good...
Cop shows are a dime a dozen. In the past they have varied from comedic to dramatic, with emphases on police procedure, partner relationships, personal lives, and even how the police are viewed by Joe Public and criminals alike. Law & Order was one of the first to blend the cop show with the legal drama, and CSI took it one step further by showing the inner workings of the Forensics team. So how do you up the ante when presenting a brand new law enforcement series without it seeming like a warmed up serving of last week’s leftovers? Base it on a real person.
Bones is a fantastic series based on the life’s work and books of real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. She is the foremost expert on the subject, working not only in Washington, D.C., but also traveling throughout the United States and Canada to assist on cases. The main character of her best-selling novels, Dr. Temperance Brennan, is brought to life quite brilliantly by Emily Deschanel. Dr. Brennan, or Bones, as her partner FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth refers to her, is a socially awkward genius, who works for the fictional Jeffersonian Institute (based on the Smithsonian). She lives her life in a world where rational thought is the rule, and where the dead make much better companions than the living most of the time. Booth (Angel’s David Boreanaz), on the other hand, is all about gut reactions and emotion.
A former army sniper and devout Catholic, he believes that the more bad guys he puts behind bars, the more he can atone for the lives he’s taken. The two get under each other’s skin, but they both care deeply for each other. Bones teaches Booth about being a rational observer, and Booth in turn teaches Brennan how to be more “human”. The rest of the cast is composed of the various members of the Jeffersonian staff: Angela Montenegro, Brennan’s best friend who does facial reconstruction, crime re-enactment, and just about anything else that requires digital work or artistic ability; Dr. Camille Saroyan, the head of the department and a former New York coroner; Dr. Jack Hodgins, who has degrees in minerals, bugs, and just about anything else; and Dr. Lance Sweets, an FBI psychiatrist who helps the team with all of their issues, and who also serves as a perfect foil at times for Brennan, who views psychiatry as a weak science.
Season four ended with Booth having surgery to remove a brain tumor. His start for last season was rocky, as he had the unimaginable task of having to remember who he really was. Little things had become difficult, and there were gaps in his memory. And to make things worse, he has to deal with the feelings he has for Brennan, which may or may not be the product of his recent brain troubles. Sweets is writing a book based on the relationship between Booth and Brennan, trying to prove that the two love each other, even if they don’t know it. Angela and Hodgins are still trying to work together after breaking up, only to wind up back together. And Cam is dealing with recent motherhood, having inherited the 16-year-old daughter of a former boyfriend who passed away. And to top it all off, the cases only get stranger this season.
Right off the bat, the first case deals with a group of corpses found under a fountain, all apparently members of a cult, one of them the twin sister of a psychic, played by guest star Cyndi Lauper, and features the last (so far) guest appearance by Stephen Fry as Dr. Gordon Wyatt (seriously, why isn’t this guy in more things?). “The Plain in the Prodigy” deals with a murdered Amish girl who was studying piano at a prestigious music conservatory. “A Night at the Bones Museum” revolves around a corpse found on an electric fence which turns out to be an Egyptian mummy, and the ensuing fight from an Egyptian representative who wants the artifact returned. “The Dwarf in the Dirt” is all about a professional wrestler who is found in a sinkhole, and Booth trying to get re-certified for FBI marksmanship. “The Goop on the Girl” is a multilayered story about family.
A man dressed as Santa robs a bank, only to be blown up outside of the bank as Booth is trying to apprehend him. Brennan is planning on going to Nicaragua to work, but her father is trying to convince her to stay, going so far as to contact a distant cousin to visit (played by Emily’s real-life sister Zooey). “The X in the File” is a funny story dealing with Booth and Brennan traveling to Roswell to investigate what might be an alien body. “The Proof in the Pudding” is a moving story where the team is put in lockdown to study the skeleton of a man who was killed in 1963, and who may or may not be John F. Kennedy. While it appears that this might just be the case (with flames fanned by conspiracy theorist Hodgins), in the end, Brennan lies to cover it up so as to not cause Booth to lose faith in his government. “The Devil in the Details” starts off with a burned body on a church alter, which seems to have horns (Booth’s reaction to this is priceless). The 100th Episode, “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole”, directed by Boreanaz, is all a flashback to Booth and Brennan’s first case together, all told to Sweets, who had written in his book that their first case had been the case from the pilot episode.
It’s a nice flashback story, with a guest spot by Eric Millegan, reprising his role as Zack Addy (Zack left the team halfway through season three when it had been revealed that he was aiding a serial killer nicknamed the Gormogon). “The Death of the Queen Bee” starts with Booth and Brennan investigating a murder in Brennan’s old home town, and just in time for her class reunion.
We get a nice peek into Brennan’s childhood, as it’s revealed that no one liked or understood her, and that her best friend was the creepy janitor, played wonderfully by Robert Englund (she brags to Booth that he used to get dead animals for her to cut up, much to his revulsion). “The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle” deals with a rich man who visits a different fantasy camp every summer to live the life he doesn’t get to every day. “The Boy with the Answer” is the conclusion (possibly) of the Gravedigger storyline. The Gravedigger, Assistant US Attorney Heather Taffet, had kidnapped Brennan and Hodgins and buried them in a car together, and had at one point kidnapped Booth and left him on a ship which was to be blown up. The episode deals with the lingering effects on the various team members, and while I won’t spoil the episode, I will say that it is up in the air as to whether or not we will see her again.
All of this leads up to the season finale, “The Beginning in the End”, another multilayered story which starts out with a horder falling through the floor of his apartment. His story merely adds a backdrop for everyone else’s stories. Booth is being followed by a colonel who wants him to train new recruits for war, and his difficulty in deciding whether or not he wants to go back to that. Brennan is trying to get on a team to go off to the Muluku islands to study a new anthropological dig, but is distraught when intern Daisy is picked to go before her. Hodgins and Angela, recently married, are planning a getaway, but he’s being dogged by Angela’s dad (once again played by guitar legend Billy Gibbons), who merely wants to make his new son-in-law feel like part of the family. And Sweets is dealing with the fact that Daisy is leaving for a year, and he doesn’t know where he fits in that picture. The ending is very touching, and left everyone eagerly waiting the sixth season.
"The writers have learned from others’ mistakes when it comes to Booth and Brennan. Sexual tension works best when it’s subtle, and not done in a Moonlighting sort of way"
Bones’ strength is in the dysfunctional family-like setting of the team. The writers have also learned from others’ mistakes when it comes to Booth and Brennan. Sexual tension works best when it’s subtle, and not done in a Moonlighting sort of way. Booth and Brennan have both done some dating this season, but it still boils down to Booth loving her, and Brennan not being able to deal with relationships outside of the rational, controlled situation that she has made her life into. The series is always wonderfully written, being like a wonderful mix of horror movie gore, police drama, and comedic moments. Often, there are very funny moments that happen as the team is standing over a gooey, dripping corpse. So far, the show hasn’t gotten stale, which in this day and age, after five seasons isn’t easy to do. And so far, season six is showing great promise.
The special features on this set are good, if not many. There are extended cuts of the episodes “The Tough Man in the Chicken” (about a murdered man who was the manager of an industrialized chicken farm, and a list of subjects that ran from an animal rights activist to his own wife – a little preachy on the animal cruelty issue, but a good episode), and “The X in the File”.
The extended cuts don’t seem have much more to them, and when it took me three tries to watch the latter as my DVD player kept freezing during the opening credits. There are only two commentaries in the set. One is for “The Proof in the Pudding”, by Tamara Taylor (Cam), John Francis Daily (Sweets), and Michaela Conlin (Angela). This is a great commentary filled with great trivia about co-stars and the episode itself, and it shows that Daily is hilarious. I hope the next DVD has him doing commentary for every episode.
The second is for “The Beginning in the End”, featuring series creator and producer Hart Hanson, plus producers Stephen Nathan and Ian Toynton. While I expected this one to be slightly on the boring side, it’s also quite funny, with all three men giving not only informative bits on the episode and the show in general, but constantly going on about how gorgeous the actresses are (I concur).
There is also a gag reel, a mere three deleted scenes, and three short documentaries. “The 100th Episode with Director David Boreanaz” features cast and crew praising him for his directorial skills, and how nice was for them to hit 100 episodes. “The Bodies of Bones” talks about the bodies created for the show, and what it takes to make the bits of flesh and hair that sometimes come attached. And ”The Nunchuck Way” shows T.J. Thyne and Pej Vahdat learning how to handle nunchaku for a stunt.
All in all, I’m going to have to give this set a full five stars. The season was terrific, and the extras, while not many, are entertaining and informative. I would recommend it to anybody, especially if you’re into forensic investigations or law enforcement dramas.
Bones: The Complete Fifth Season is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray.
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