There’s surprising life in the old Bones as Fox’s perennial -comedy-drama returns for an eighth season, pulling a fresh slab of tragedy-tainted metacarpals, -femurs, skulls, distal phalanges and more from the drama vault.
In fact, Fox has plenty more Bones to pick with you, forensically speaking, having issued an early renewal in January for a ninth season to be filmed later this year for winter broadcast. And the fans are everywhere.
“People come up to me, ask me to identify bones a lot,” says Emily Deschanel, who plays the brilliant forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance “Bones” Brennan. “It’s just funny. I guess it comes with the territory.”
In taking the cases where remains are so badly decomposed, burnt or destroyed that CSI gives up, Brennan works out of the medico-legal lab of the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC. Here she harnesses her drive for the truth to the people smarts of her FBI-agent sidekick Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), who took their partnership to a whole new romantic level when he fathered their baby girl last season.
Last season climaxed with a brutal cliffhanger – Brennan ran off with the baby and deserted Booth – after the evil tech genius Christopher Pelant (the guest star Andrew Leeds) monkeyed with the legal system to frame her for murder.
Season eight finds Brennan on the run with her dad Max (the guest star Ryan O’Neal). She’s now a fugitive both from the law and the serial killer Pelant. Booth, meanwhile, finds himself chained to his desk, restricted to FBI administrative duties. Restoring Brennan’s good name while nabbing the murderous Pelant should keep them busy for a while.
“Brennan will be found a few months after she left,” predicts Deschanel. “Pelant will still be involved and still defy us. And we’re going to go … ballroom dancing!”
But the 43-year-old Boreanaz – who first stole hearts as the -vampire-with-a-soul Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), and in his own Angel spin-off (1999-2004) – sees a mighty bumpy ride ahead for Booth’s heart and ego.
“Look, he’s hurt. She took off with the baby. And she has a plan; I think Booth understands that,” says Boreanaz. “But I think he’s a little hurt. He’s devastated. Who’s to say there might not be a break-up?”
In real life as well, Deschanel, 36, now has her own year-old toddler Henry in tow, with her husband, the actor and producer David Hornsby, whom she married in 2010.
“It’s definitely challenging learning my lines with my ‘mommy brain’,” laughs Deschanel. “They tell you about this mommy brain – and then you experience it. I guess you have to believe it’s true. You’re not getting sleep for many months; that helps contribute to it. It’s a challenge. I can’t remember things.”
Reasons for Bones’s longevity may include the playful humour, lifelong love of well-crafted story and the big heart that the series’ show-runner and co-creator Hart Hanson brings to the set.
“The writers … love their dead bodies,” says Hanson. “How we get to make them funny I don’t know, but they’re funny. Because you don’t know they’re people, I guess. A lot of time, the people who are dead kind of deserve it, so we can laugh that they’re dead.”
With season nine in the works, Hanson takes his mind off the creation of gross dead things for a moment to reflect on how long Bones might endure: “I can see as far as season 10 before my eyes get misty.”
• Bones is broadcast at 9pm Wednesdays on OSN First HD
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