Fox // 2011 // 1004 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // October 26th, 2011
Chemistry keeps them together
Bones and House, M.D. are the two shows on Fox that I keep up with, and I often find myself drawing comparisons between them. They're about the same age, they both feature a problem-of-the-week format, they both deal with a misfit genius, and both rely on a certain amount of romantic tension to keep viewers hooked. However, whereas House has consistently reached for bigger and deeper dramatic gains, Bones has largely just reached, relying on genre conventions and tricks to keep things going. When House ended its previous season with an important kiss, a kiss that the next season built upon in really interesting ways, Bones ended by breaking the team up, implying that the next season would start a year later. The idea was to clear the decks, change everything up, and really give the show a shot in the arm. In some ways that happened -- some things are different in Bones: The Complete Sixth Season -- but the show's formula keeps everything consistent, even as another bomb gets dropped towards season's end.
When last we left Booth (David Boreanaz, Angel) and Bones (Emily Deschanel, Boogeyman), their team were breaking up for at least a year, with Bones going off to an exotic dig, while Booth went to serve his country in Iraq. This season starts up a little less than a year later, when a nasty case comes to the Smithsonian, and the team has to reform like Voltron. Now Booth has a new girlfriend, Angela and Hodgins are struggling with their impending parenthood, and Sweets and his lady have been apart. All twenty-three episodes of the season are presented on four discs:
* "The Mastodon in the Room"
* "The Couple in the Cave"
* "The Maggots in the Meathead "
* "The Body and the Bounty"
* "The Bones that Weren't"
* "The Shallow in the Deep"
* "The Babe in the Bar"
* "The Twisted Bones in the Melted Truck"
* "The Doctor in the Photo"
* "The Body in the Bag"
* "The Bullet in the Brain"
* "The Sin in the Sisterhood"
* "The Daredevil in the Mold"
* "The Bikini in the Soup"
* "The Killer in the Crosshairs"
* "The Blackout in the Blizzard"
* "The Feet on the Beach"
* "The Truth in the Myth"
* "The Finder"
* "The Pinocchio in the Planter"
* "The Signs in the Silence"
* "The Hole in the Heart"
* "The Change in the Game"
I feel like one of those crazy cult leaders that keeps promising the end of the world. The Booth/Brennan relationship has been riding on the edge for a couple of seasons now, so close to being completely ridiculous but never quite going into full ridiculosity. Having Booth express his feelings and having him rejected in the last season seemed like a good place to leave things, where the writers could keep a bit of tension around, but hold off on the Booth/Brennan question to focus on other things for a while. Then they had to resurrect the question by giving Booth a girlfriend for the start of this season. It's a decent move -- the character is fine -- but it feels like reaching. Then, there's a revelation towards the end of the season that was frankly jaw-dropping, and not necessarily in a good way. I don't want to predict doom again because the writers have pulled the show out of waters just as deep (including that strange dream episode at the end of the fourth season). However, going down this road would be a strange turn for the show and might alienate a lot of viewers.
That's late in the season, though. For the most part, Bones: The Complete Sixth Season offers just what fans of the show have come to expect. Each week brings a new mystery, a bit of character development, and some interesting science. This season features some of the best single episodes of the season -- including a murder mystery that centers around a raised slave ship and a sniper-versus-sniper arc lets Booth show his stuff. When the focus isn't on the Booth/Bones pair things go well. This is a show that could have been about just two characters, but the writers have done an excellent job making everyone associated with the lab interesting. The Hodgins/Angela storyline provides some nice comedy (including a return by Billy Gibbons), as does the Sweets/Daisy story. The revolving intern idea still has merit, and although this season implies that it'll be ending soon, the interns are well written.
This season continues the show's commitment to solid home video releases. The 1.78:1/1080p AVC encoded transfers are solid for television. Blacks are pretty consistent and deep, detail is generally strong, and noise isn't usually a problem. The DTS-HD tracks are fine as well. The show does a good job balancing dialogue with a bit of atmospherics, and the occasional action scenes sounds well distributed through the soundstage. Extras are on par with other seasons as well. We get a pair of extended episodes ("The Bikini in the Soup" and "The Daredevil in the Mold") that add a bit of depth to the storylines, though nothing earth-shattering. We also get commentaries on two episodes ("The Doctor in the Photo" and "The Blackout in the Blizzard") that cover the usual production material -- not essential, but worth a listen for fans. "The Blackout in the Blizzard" also gets featurette treatment, while the last disc houses a gag reel, a featurette on the show's visual effects, and a bonus pilot for The Killing.
Fans might be interested to note that one episodes here -- "The Finder" -- worked as a backdoor pilot for another show. Although there's nothing particularly wrong with the idea, the semi-mystical angle of the idea that there's a guy out there who can just find stuff doesn't really jive with the super-science of Bones and Co. That tension could have produced some interesting moments, but as it is the episode feels a little undercooked.
By all accounts, Bones: The Complete Sixth Season won over some new fans. Hopefully they can keep them once the Season Seven starts. Those looking to see the relationship between Booth and Bones go interesting places this season will be a bit disappointed, while those looking for the usual high-quality mysteries will find plenty to love in these episodes. The excellent Blu-ray presentation makes this easy to recommend.
Not guilty, but not that different from the other seasons.
Review content copyright © 2011 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: 1004 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extended Episodes
* Episode Commentaries
* Gag Reel
* Official Site