The Science of Bones
December 14, 2011 12:08 PM   Subscribe

The TV show Bones is loosely based on the life of forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs. But how much science does the show get right? Can you really use the mandibular angle to figure out the sex of the victim? What about diagnosing Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva from a tiny bone fragment? Biological anthropologist Kristina Killgrove dissects the science of each episode on her blog, Powered by Osteons.
posted by melissam (67 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Makes for interesting reading. There is a similar web site that reviews House from a medical point of view
posted by 2manyusernames at 12:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't keep up with the show lately, but I've been wondered about a lot of these questions for the five previous seasons. I hope once the show ends she gets back to the earlier seasons (as far as I can tell, she started this last season), but with these as a guide, I'm suddenly tempted to watch the Season 7 back log I have on my TiVo. Thanks!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:16 PM on December 14, 2011


Dude, the show had a magical crime reconstruction machine. I think they dropped it eventually but it was fucking hilarious. "Let me input a few parameters... Aha, now we have a movie of exactly how the entire thing happened!"

I eventually stopped watching because the Bones/Booth drama got way too ridiculous. (Castle, I'm looking at you. Don't fuck it up like Bones did!)
posted by kmz at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sorry, once they had an unlikely main character turn into [SPOILER] that was the deus ex machina for [SPOILER] just because he was [SPOILER] I gave up.

The problem with the show isn't the science. It's the writing.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It always really amuses me here that when they show Bones they add a "Warning, this programme may contain forensic content" before it.

Really? A show about a Forensic Anthropologist and her work may have forensic content in it?

NO SHIT. That's like putting a warning on your TV that says "May contain moving pictures".
posted by Brockles at 12:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't see how she does it. I sort-of like Bones for some light entertainment (I would LOVE it if they got a better crew of writers and let up on the absolute constant awful hammer of hegemonic masculinity that Booth apparently must be all the time), but frequently the science/the way the actors handle the science is so bad that my boyfriend won't watch it with me, and he's only a nurse's son, not a PhD in a closely-related discipline.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


After they ditched Zack, it was all downhill after that.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


My favorite unlikely bits about the show have less to do with the science and more with the way the criminal always confesses when presented with the evidence, usually with something defiant like, "But I didn't mean to, and anyway he DESERVED it!"

To my partner's amusement, I've taken to pausing the VCR right at this moment and shouting, "NO! SAY YOU WANT A LAWYER NOW!" at the screen.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:27 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Warning, this programme may contain forensic content"

I assume what they really mean is: "Warning, this program's opening scene is going to have super gross shit."

I remember eating dinner and watching Bones once. Very quickly learned that that was a very bad idea.

Sorry, once they had an unlikely main character turn into [SPOILER] that was the deus ex machina for [SPOILER] just because he was [SPOILER] I gave up.

Oh god, yeah. That was fucking dumb too.
posted by kmz at 12:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if there's a blog that does the same sort of thing for crime shows and legal procedure? Rather than analysing the bad science, I want to read about how many laws the detectives are breaking in their warrant-less search of the bad guy's apartment.
posted by zamboni at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's worse infinitywaltz is the shows where they have a lawyer, right beside them (ie. Law and Order).

I mean, seriously. Isn't it a lawyer's sole job in these situations to tell their client to shut their fucking mouth?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


My favorite unlikely bits about the show have less to do with the science and more with the way the criminal always confesses when presented with the evidence, usually with something defiant like, "But I didn't mean to, and anyway he DESERVED it!"

That's common in pretty much every police/law procedural. My favorites are the ones where they've pretty much already confessed, and then they say "OK, I want my lawyer now."
posted by kmz at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kathy Reichs was my physical anthropology teacher not long before she got her first book deal. (1995 or 96).

She was an excellent lecturer. Funny, good speaker, and always exceptionally well prepared. One day after hearing about all the various cranial capacities of long-dead fossil hominids I slinked up to her after class to ask a question. She was somewhat intimidating, for reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on.

I asked my question and stole a quick glance at her lecture notes; a single, handwritten page of topics to cover. She recited all the data and details cold, from memory.

When the book deal was announced in the local media and around campus you could actually see a cloud of jealous gloom hovering over the English department across the quad.

In the lab for her class we got to measure real human skulls with various calipers and determine the likely race, gender, and age of the skull's previous inhabitant. It's indescribably awesome to hold a real skull in your hand and figure out that it belonged to, say, a middle aged asian woman.

At the end of the class, she gave a slide show of her case work. And I don't mean a lecture or a formal presentation. It was like vacation slides.

The photos were gruesome crime scenes then the remains in various stages of clean up. She broke down what each case was and what the outcome was and how, in simple terms, how she arrived at her conclusions.
posted by device55 at 12:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [39 favorites]


To my partner's amusement, I've taken to pausing the VCR right at this moment and shouting, "NO! SAY YOU WANT A LAWYER NOW!" at the screen.

I write for a Bones-like show. I've written this scene. I usually try to buy it with something like "talk and we take the death penalty off the table" but that's just window dressing. It's far more important, from a writing standpoint, to hear the murderer confess than it is to hew to the legalities. Yes, it's a trope, but it's a trope for a damn good reason.

A show like Law and Order can have more intelligent criminals because in that show guilt is proven at trial. For a police procedural, the case typically needs to be sewn up by the police alone. Time is extremely valuable in a story that will probably run 43 minutes (an hour with commercials).
posted by Bookhouse at 12:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


I like the formalism of Bones. It's very rigid... right from the standard gory body opening scene to the reveal of the killer, followed by the wrap up of whatever this week's character story was. It's relaxing, comfortable, unthinking. Everything about it, even the conservative bias, makes me feel like I'm watching a 70s detective show.

If the science bothers you, just pretend it's SciFi. It's definitely not worth deconstructing, IMO.
posted by Leon at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I watched Bones once and was so annoyed by the show's blithe disregard for DC geography that I gave up. They don't even try to get it right.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's far more important, from a writing standpoint, to hear the murderer confess than it is to hew to the legalities.

Has anyone ever tried doing it the other way, though? I mean, other than on highbrow cable fare like The Wire etc.? I would love a police procedural that actually hewed closely to reality--with lots of "well, we just can't tell" and "o.k., we think this case is strong enough to go forward, I guess it's up to the DA." I enjoy Bones as a guilty pleasure show, but it Bones's character might as well be a wizard who casts crime-finding spells. I think a TV police procedural that actually left the viewer with the possibility of reasonable doubt would be a great thing.
posted by yoink at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wish there was a blog that would tell me what the hell is going on in Law & Order: UK. Why do they wear wigs in some courts, but not others? Why are the lawyers allowed to yell so much in court?
posted by melissam at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are the lawyers allowed to yell so much in court?

Maybe it's because they have to stand behind those lecterns and not move around? No idea about the wigs.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:49 PM on December 14, 2011


Does anyone know if there's a blog that does the same sort of thing for crime shows and legal procedure? Rather than analysing the bad science, I want to read about how many laws the detectives are breaking in their warrant-less search of the bad guy's apartment.

Perhaps a starting point: 7 Brilliant Movie Lawyers (Who Suck at Their Job)
posted by vidur at 12:50 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's common in pretty much every police/law procedural.

Yeah, but Bones is the only one I actually watch. Although I might have to watch the one bookhouse writes for now, just because of the Metafilter connection.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:51 PM on December 14, 2011


the zack subplot was seemingly related to real world issues eric millegan was going through with his bipolar disorder. they could have taken him off the show in a million different ways, but i sort of enjoy when the writers put nuggets of real life into their fictions. criminal minds has done this as well.
posted by nadawi at 12:52 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And...Why is the forensics person always the one questioning/apprehending suspects???
posted by Thorzdad at 12:53 PM on December 14, 2011


You can sort of use the mandibular angle to start to hint at the sex of the victim! I learned that in my osteology class, in which we got extra credit for watching Bones and writing down all the things that just don't work in a forensic anthropological context.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:54 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to really enjoy Bones, but the show has been more "Make Brennan an appropriately feminine woman and make sure she caters appropriately to Booth!" as the show has gone further, and it's just irritating now. Bones is a multimillionaire, but god forbid they buy a house that Booth cannot afford half of. I gave up rolling my eyes at Angela's hologram thing, but I don't think I've seen it in a while because the show is now about babies.

That said, I am always impressed at how improved David Boreanaz is as an actor from his days on Buffy.
posted by jeather at 12:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thorzad: because if they don't let her, she'll quit entirely. It's the one ridiculous part of the show that they went out of their way to justify. Unlike Angela's magic holograms.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:03 PM on December 14, 2011


I gave up on Bones when it was clear that the titular (hee hee hee I AM TWELVE) character was seemingly being written as someone with Asperger syndrome by people who'd only ever heard of it by skimming Wikipedia for about thirty seconds.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I watched Bones once and was so annoyed by the show's blithe disregard for DC geography that I gave up. They don't even try to get it right.

Or that time they went to Assateague to find Blackbeard's supposed treasure (?!), and the dig site was at a lovely upscale marina with docks and yachts and MOUNTAINS IN THE BACKGROUND.

It's like someone picked a random nearby island and was all, "ooh, we can get away with saying ass on television this way" and did no research on it whatsoever. As a native born Marylander and a quasi-scientist, it is an affront to everything I stand for.

But then I remember it's fictional television and go about my business.
posted by sarahnade at 1:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ischial tuberosities are not like fingerprints in your pants." Heh.

This blog is a great find, thank you! I've always wondered about how real the 'science' is in a lot of these shows. She does a fantastic job of breaking it all down, in such an intensive way that I can't help but feel for her, as she must watch these episodes with a remote in her hand, constantly rewinding and playing back scenes to get at all the details--and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I like both the lead actress and David Angel Boreanaz, but I found I couldn't keep my interest in Bones for more than a couple episodes. The suspension of disbelief was too great, and the stale old TV trope of sexual chemistry that goes nowhere makes me want to scream.

I have to check out the House blog next--I love the show, even though I know this team of doctors would never be running these lab tests themselves and anyway they'd be in serious legal trouble after pulling just one of the stunts they regularly engage in to find out what's making the patient sick.

I think I like House so much because I often figure out what the end diagnosis will be, in part because I like puzzles, but also because I'm just the patient from hell myself. If there's a strange complication, I'm sure to get it. Especially the rare, serious symptoms and side effects. You know, the stuff they warn you about at the ends of the drug commercials.

I'm actually still recovering right now from a scary brush with something called rhabdomyolysis, which I'd never even heard of before this. It's brutal. Struck me down after taking just 5 mg of Crestor, which is nuts, as that's actually a really low dose. I was all swollen, my muscles ached constantly, and my sides and back hurt from my kidneys trying to work overtime. My doctor stopped the statin, ordered labs, and got me on some medication pretty fast, or else there might have been permanent kidney damage, which would have totally sucked.
posted by misha at 1:34 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going to do the obligatory thing here. Liked the show when i first started watching it, then started reading the books, now can't stand the show. The books are so much better written and enjoyable than the show it's not even funny.
posted by usagizero at 1:46 PM on December 14, 2011


Do the books get better? Because I read the first one or two and all the writing that wasn't forensic stuff was just terrible.

(I also heard her give a talk -- around 97 or 98, with Oliver Sacks -- and she was really weirdly uncomfortable at it. Fascinating fascinating stuff, but not personally compelling/charismatic in the way that Sacks was. I figure I want to read her non-fiction, not her fiction.)
posted by jeather at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


lots of "well, we just can't tell" and "o.k., we think this case is strong enough to go forward, I guess it's up to the DA."

Isn't that the whole point of Original Recipe Law and Order?

Do the books get better? Because I read the first one or two and all the writing that wasn't forensic stuff was just terrible.

Only read a couple, and while not ground breaking or exceptional writing, it still scratched that itch i had for that type of book, and didn't get as terrible as the tv show (mostly characterizations, and sub-soap opera level personal arcs).
posted by usagizero at 1:55 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the formalism of Bones. It's very rigid... right from the standard gory body opening scene to the reveal of the killer, followed by the wrap up of whatever this week's character story was. It's relaxing, comfortable, unthinking. Everything about it, even the conservative bias, makes me feel like I'm watching a 70s detective show.

If the science bothers you, just pretend it's SciFi. It's definitely not worth deconstructing, IMO.


I think you are me, or possibly I am you.

I'm in a phase right now where I want my entertainment to be entertaining. I don't want to think about shit. And the writing and acting in this show are adequate, for me, in that they're not so terrible that I fling the remote at the television and not so outstanding that I can't surf the internet while I watch it.
posted by rtha at 1:59 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, Bones. I got mono a couple years ago, and they still had the whole backlog of Bones on Hulu. It became my friend. I try not to give too much of a shit about the facts. The structuralism, the consistent form - it's calming to the mind, in a way.

I'm about as high and esoteric art loving as they come, but damn, I'm a sucker for that Bones shit.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:04 PM on December 14, 2011


*high art loving, that is. I am not high right now.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:04 PM on December 14, 2011


It still weird me out that there's actually licensed books based on the show. That's right, books based on a TV show based on books.

I'm in a phase right now where I want my entertainment to be entertaining. I don't want to think about shit.

Just in case you're not already watching it: Castle, Castle, Castle.

Of course the Castle licensed stuff gets even weirder. There's now been three books released written by "Richard Castle", Nathan Fillion's character. And the last one debuted as #1 on the NYT bestseller list!
posted by kmz at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I got Castle, yes indeed.

When we went East last year to visit my partner's parents, we were tremendously amused to find they'd become hooked on Bones. They watch it via netflix streaming, because they don't have cable or satellite or anything, and they were very proud of themselves for limiting their watching to one episode ("Well, sometimes two," Sally said) per evening.
posted by rtha at 2:35 PM on December 14, 2011


This is the one show that my roommate refused to watch with me because I spent so much time lecturing the screen. I think I broke her when I went on a rant about Brennan, a forensic ANTHROPOLOGIST, started asking questions about religion (voudoo if I remember correctly) and saying how stupid and ignorant religion was. Now, I don't care what you believe in your personal life, but you'd imagine that an anthropologist, even one who was focused on forensics, would have learned a little something about religion in the course of her training. And would at least note its importance in human culture(s). Or, it might have been when I blew up after Brennan snidely said to the psychologist (who is my favourite character) that 'Psychology isn't even a real science'. Oh, really? And anthropology differs how?!

Then my mother said that Brennan reminds her of me.
posted by hydrobatidae at 2:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have some residual affection for the show just because of the episode where they reveal that Angela's dad is.... Billy Gibbons. Of ZZ Top. Sharp-Dressed Man. Texas Mud. Cheap Sunglasses. Billy Fuckin' Gibbons.

That was so delightfully random that I watched a few more episodes, but the show never seemed to hit that height of silliness again.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Track down last week's ep (or possibly the week before?), BOP - he makes an appearance again, and there's a whole substory about him taking care of his grandbaby. Highly entertaining.
posted by rtha at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2011


You may want to consult IMDB for the rest of Gibbons' episodes. Yes, he comes back, and it's amazing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


all the billy gibbons episodes are great.
posted by nadawi at 3:09 PM on December 14, 2011


I have some residual affection for the show just because of the episode where they reveal that Angela's dad is.... Billy Gibbons. Of ZZ Top. Sharp-Dressed Man. Texas Mud. Cheap Sunglasses. Billy Fuckin' Gibbons.

The somewhat surreal and surprisingly entertaining presence of Sebastian Bach in Gilmore Girls is the only thing that kept me from divorcing* my wife during her obsession with watching said show.

*I exaggerate. Slightly.
posted by jalexei at 3:10 PM on December 14, 2011


I always eat dinner while watching Bones. I now better but somehow I forget that it's a bad idea. Every. Time.
posted by Bunglegirl at 3:12 PM on December 14, 2011


I can usually take my whodunits with plenty of handwavium, as long as the character writing is good, and even then, I can snark as long as the lead doesn't deliver a rambling monologue about trolling the internet and carving orchids. Watching back episodes on Netflix is a guilty Internet pleasure.

I find the show to be terribly uneven. Sometimes it's good. But when it's bad, you have Nice Guy(TM) Booth stupidly winning denouement morality dialogues because Brennan's lack of true love, spirituality, and children are bad things. And then, I remember why I gave up on the show the first time after a Christmas episode that was all about that.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever tried doing it the other way, though? I mean, other than on highbrow cable fare like The Wire etc.? I would love a police procedural that actually hewed closely to reality--with lots of "well, we just can't tell" and "o.k., we think this case is strong enough to go forward, I guess it's up to the DA." I enjoy Bones as a guilty pleasure show, but it Bones's character might as well be a wizard who casts crime-finding spells. I think a TV police procedural that actually left the viewer with the possibility of reasonable doubt would be a great thing.

Maybe this is a cop-out, but I think that's something that would work on cable but not on a network show like Bones. Of course, you can do stuff like that every once and a while, but in general I think it would be frustrating for a show to never tell you who actually committed the murder. At some point I think it would feel like a cop-out. I'd point out that The Wire told its story from the point of view of both the criminals and the cops, so the viewer still knew who killed even if the cops never knew anything beyond Black Man with a Big Gun. (There's also the Columbo model, in which we see the murder take place at the beginning of the show).

It's my belief as a writer that authenticity is a tool of storytelling, not necessarily a goal. For instance, interrogations on television are much cleaner, quicker, and informative than any questioning would be in real life. The motives are very rarely real motives for murder ("I was drunk and she burned the dinner.")

Of course David Simon has done the opposite of what I'm talking about on a regular basis, and God bless 'em for it. But he doesn't make procedural, he makes dramas. (Even Homicide was closer to a drama than a procedural.) Case-of-the-week procedurals are different machines than dramas are, and they are built with different rules.

Oh, and try watching some Canadian and British procedurals. Stuff like DaVinci's Inquest, Cracker and Luther may be more to your liking.

posted by Bookhouse at 3:43 PM on December 14, 2011


I just want to know what exactly is the proper name for Brennan's personality disorder or if it is even possible, scientifically speaking. This whole anthropologist from Mars with an active sex life just where on the austistic spectrum ?
posted by y2karl at 3:54 PM on December 14, 2011


Well, autistic spectrum to be sure.
posted by y2karl at 3:56 PM on December 14, 2011


You can also insert either is or falls before just where.....

slinks off
posted by y2karl at 3:58 PM on December 14, 2011


And...Why is the forensics person always the one questioning/apprehending suspects???

An even better question is why the lab rats on the CSI shows are always leading uniformed cops and SWAT teams when they breach suspicious areas.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just want to know what exactly is the proper name for Brennan's personality disorder or if it is even possible, scientifically speaking. This whole anthropologist from Mars with an active sex life just where on the austistic spectrum ?

Bones has long since left the autism spectrum behind and is now just an intellectually uncurious (seriously, she can't bother to learn that people believe in religions?) jerk.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just want to know what exactly is the proper name for Brennan's personality disorder or if it is even possible, scientifically speaking. This whole anthropologist from Mars with an active sex life just where on the austistic spectrum?

There's a lot of suggestion that her sort of weird detachment and focus on logic is less like a conventional disorder and more like a coping mechanism to help her deal with abandonment issues from her screwed up childhood. Then again, psychology's barely a science, so I'm sure she'd disagree with me there.

The really weird thing is that the character in the original books, if I remember correctly (I've only read one of them, and it was a few years ago), isn't like that at all, and is a totally "normal" woman who likes drinking Chardonnay with her girlfriends, shopping, etc. and just happens to have a really gruesome job.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:25 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, there is something about the combination of her particular lack of social skills set combined with her killer sense of fashion that that is about as believable as a wrist watch wearing Roman legionaire in Spartacus. I can't see how a person so clueless could manage to dress herself so stylishly, let alone be able to eat in a restaurant without people staring. Not without a full time ninja social consultant by her side 24/7.
posted by y2karl at 4:39 PM on December 14, 2011


In the original books the character of Temperance Brennan is much more well rounded and less of a Symbol Of Pure Scienceā„¢ - I think also she comes across as older and wiser. I don't recall of the books explicitly cite her age - but neither does the TV show.

I imagine TV Bones to be an alternate universe prequel to the Book Bones where Tempe hasn't quite yet become comfortable in her own skin and computers are made of magic.
posted by device55 at 4:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


i always brushed her great style off with one or two explanations that i made up for myself...

first, i accept that the character of bones, through her interests in anthropology, would understand the importance of dressing well as a marker of status in the work place.

i imagine she solves this problem in one of two ways - either she hires a personal shopper to avail herself of the responsibility or she realizes that angela is both her best friend and far better at stuff like that and she wears what angela tells her to.
posted by nadawi at 4:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a relative who has Aspergers who has never had a problem getting men. Her own personal obsession is fashion and she's also really into fitness (and when Aspies are into things, they are often REALLY into things), so she has never had a problem getting a date, though she can be quite awkward and sometimes says inappropriate things despite knowing better (like ranting about religion when all you want to do is set up a nice Nativity scene at Grandma's. But that's OK since I do that too sometimes. I think the stereotype that Aspies are all unstylish nerds is pretty much just a stereotype.
posted by melissam at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do think it was smart that they relatively on early killed off the super villain. I'm working my way through them on netflix. If fits a similar need to when I have a craving for a film as stupid as it is that just has great explosions.

I'm all for good science, but in good trash story telling it just would be kinda boring. Just like a real life authentic murder prosecution, "and next week we see the arresting officer waiting around for a hearing which will be postponed for three months due to a typo on a random bit of paperwork"

Somewhat like a good fantasy series, the Bones universe seems to be internally consistent.
posted by sammyo at 6:14 PM on December 14, 2011


Another great book about forensic anthropology.
posted by Evilspork at 6:45 PM on December 14, 2011


I just never got into the "Amelia Bedelia does forensics" aspect of the show. Like Big Bang Theory, we're supposed to be amused by characters who are so unaware of social convention and idioms that they would never have been able to read a book, or interview for a job, or form friendships, and yet they all work at a prestigious lab doing magical work with their besties. I've gotten sick of the concept of "It's funny because the person who is smarter than everyone else is an idiot when it comes to life." It's overdone, it's not that interesting, and it certainly doesn't hold up over 20 seasons or whatever the show is on now.

Also, that episode with the DC subway system? At least TRY to make it look right!

Yeah, so I watch it. None of your business.
posted by nickgb at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2011


I'm all for good science, but in good trash story telling it just would be kinda boring.

YES.

I love Bones. I only just recently started watching - yay Netflix - and I find it a nice distraction from the drudgery of some of my work. When work gets tedious, I load up Bones in another pane and listen to a bit of dark wit while I grind away.

I don't need my entertainment to be accurate, just entertaining.
posted by MissySedai at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't pay much attention to the show, but man, I bet the model makers on that show have one of the best jobs going on TV right now.
They take some serious creative pride in their work.
posted by madajb at 8:48 PM on December 14, 2011



Has anyone ever tried doing it the other way, though? I mean, other than on highbrow cable fare like The Wire etc.? I would love a police procedural that actually hewed closely to reality--with lots of "well, we just can't tell" and "o.k., we think this case is strong enough to go forward, I guess it's up to the DA."
I enjoy Bones as a guilty pleasure show, but it Bones's character might as well be a wizard who casts crime-finding spells. I think a TV police procedural that actually left the viewer with the possibility of reasonable doubt would be a great thing.


There you go. Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 9:31 PM on December 14, 2011


Its weird being a fan of both the books and the tv series, because they're completely different universes.

I tend to prefer the books, although they have begun to irritate me lately. They quite often end with Brennan being kidnapped or otherwise endangered by the killer, which renders the investigation and careful collection of evidence somewhat moot, since they always get caught red handed during the climax.

I honestly wonder why she bothers investigating at all. It would be much faster to go home and wait and see who tries to kill her.

And Reichs has a tendency to end the book with Brennan telling her love interest all of the things Reichs learned while researching the book but couldn't fit in elsewhere.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 10:45 PM on December 14, 2011


but I don't think I've seen it in a while because the show is now about babies.

That aspect of the show is basically a terrible, terrible fanfic this season.
posted by elizardbits at 6:22 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That aspect of the show is basically a terrible, terrible fanfic this season.

It's especially awkward given that the previous season was given-over to Angela's pregnancy (and the neutering of Jack Hodgins).
posted by Thorzdad at 7:33 AM on December 15, 2011


What's sad is that Hodgins has probably had the most consistent characterisation of anyone on the show.

Yes, this is a guilty pleasure show, but part of my guilty pleasure is bitching at the tv about it.
posted by jeather at 7:50 AM on December 15, 2011


"You may want to consult IMDB for the rest of Gibbons' episodes. Yes, he comes back, and it's amazing."

I love that the show explicity doesn't say who he is.

device55 writes "In the original books the character of Temperance Brennan is much more well rounded and less of a Symbol Of Pure Scienceā„¢ - I think also she comes across as older and wiser. I don't recall of the books explicitly cite her age - but neither does the TV show."

On the show it would be easy to figure out as they tell us how old Brennen was when her Mom disappeared; how long she was wondering around before getting killed and what year she got killed.
posted by Mitheral at 7:00 PM on December 15, 2011


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