Fox // 2008 // 1052 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // October 26th, 2009
Every Body Has Secrets
Last time I reviewed Bones, I said it was "going so well I can't wait to see how good it will get," and I have to say that in just about every way Season Four has lived up to the promise of the aborted Season Three, keeping the same winning chemistry between Booth and Brennan, while also developing things between the rest of the Jeffersonian crew in significant ways. Perhaps to make up for a shorter third season, this one features twenty-six episodes, all packed with interesting mysteries and sharp attention to character development. Now that Fox has decided to release the show in hi-def, this is the way for fans to experience the expanding story of Bones and Company.
When we last left the Jeffersonian, the Gormogan killer was found (and killed), and Zack Addy removed from the team. This puts an extra strain on Booth (David Boreanaz, Angel) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel, Boogeyman), who must spend extra time in the lab to make up for Zack's absence. Once someone hits on the idea of bringing in some of Brennan's brightest grad students to act as interns in Zack's absence, freeing up Bones to get back to solving mysteries in the field with Booth. This season also sees a host of interesting new or returning characters, including Booth's brother (Brendan Fehr, CSI: Miami), Angela's father (ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons), and the return of the Gravedigger.
All 26 episodes are presented on five Blu-ray discs:
* "The Yanks in the U.K., Parts One and Two"
* "The Man in the Outhouse"
* "The Finger in the Nest"
* "The Perfect Pieces in the Purple Pond"
* "The Crank in the Shaft"
* "The He in the She"
* "The Skull in the Sculpture"
* "The Con Man in the Meth Lab"
* "The Passenger in the Oven"
* "The Bone that Blew"
* "Double Trouble in the Pan Handle"
* "Fire in the Ice"
* "The Hero in the Hold"
* "The Princess and the Pear"
* "The Bones that Foam"
* "The Salt in the Wounds"
* "The Doctor in the Den"
* "The Science in the Physicist"
* "The Cinderella in the Cardboard"
* "Mayhem on the Cross"
* "The Double Death of the Dearly Departed"
* "The Girl in the Mask"
* "The Beaver in the Otter"
* "The Critic in the Cabinet"
* "The End in the Beginning"
There are three big storylines going through this fourth season of Bones. The first is the burgeoning relationship between Booth and Brennan. It is becoming increasingly obvious this season that Booth is becoming more aware of his feelings for Bones, and, for her part, she seems to be willfully ignoring any such possibility despite her feelings. Increasingly this season, people get them confused for a romantic rather than professional couple, and the writers are obviously wracking their brains trying to find ways to put them into increasingly outlandish situations where they should realize (and express) their feelings for one another, but, instead, something gets in the way. The writers are doing a pretty good job of making the pseudo-romantic situations interesting, and the "interruptions" sufficiently compelling to keep the tension on between them high. It might get annoying eventually, but for now the strong chemistry between the actors keeps it compelling.
The second big storyline is really more a series of stories, as each of the lab members enriches their private lives, which include new relationship (both romantic and familial) and some interesting discoveries along the way. It's great to see a show devote so much attention to non-star characters, especially without taking anything away from the leads in terms of screen time or development.
The third story is the saga of replacing Zack Addy in the lab. Much like House in the previous season, Bones features the battle of the interns. Although rather than being in direct and constant competition, Bones opts to give us a rotating cast of interns who each get a couple of episodes throughout the season. To the show's credit each of the interns is a completely differentiated character (from a Muslim scientist to a streetwise kid from the wrong side of the tracks), and none of them are disposable. Although I definitely had my favorites, there was never an episode where I thought "Oh, not him again" for any of the interns.
There's also nothing to really complain about with this hi-def set of Season Four. The video doesn't quite knock my socks off like I expected, but the show looks good at 1080p. I was especially impressed with the effects, which still look good despite the extra resolution (in fact too good for some of the more sensitive fans). Bones is a very dialogue-heavy show, and those scenes shine on the DTS-HD track, but so do the occasional explosions and the show's electronic theme music.
Extras aren't quite as extensive as they've been in the past, but are solid nonetheless. On the fifth disc there are numerous deleted scenes, as well as the usually funny gag reel. There are also two featurettes. One covers an androgynous character who appears for an episode, while the other focuses on the rotating cast of interns, letting us hear from the actors as well as giving us some behind-the-scenes footage.
With the exception of the last 30 seconds, the final episode of this season is my favorite episode by far. However, those last 30 seconds are a doozy, and I can almost hear a shark jumping. We're talking the possibility of a serious game-changer for the show. Luckily, I've seen the first few episodes of Season Five so my fears were allayed, but I have a feeling that the season finale here will turn some people off.
Also, something has got to give. The Booth/Brennan relationship is getting ridiculous in its sexual tension, and the writers need to find a more effective way to deal with it ASAP. Continuing to let it fester isn't an option, and I'm not sure a Booth/Brennan romance would be best for the show, but this "almost" stuff has got to go.
This is satisfying season of a solid forensic drama. The chemistry between the cast members is strong, and mysteries are compelling. The season finale might not point to great things for the future, but I'm confident the writers will head in the right direction. For now, this Blu-ray release of Season Four will provide fans with a strong audiovisual presentation and a few choice extras until we can all see how things turn out.
The evidence doesn't lie, and Bones: Season Four is not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2009 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1052 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel