Fox // 2012 // 566 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // November 6th, 2012
Chemistry keeps them together.
I've felt like Chicken Little for the last couple of years while reviewing Bones. Ever since the one-two punch of the dream episode and amnesia, I could feel something good about the show slipping away but didn't yet have any proof. Now, with Bones: The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray), I have that proof. At the end of Season Six, Brennan announced that her one-night stand with Booth had apparently yielded a pregnancy. Season Seven opens in the final trimester of Brennan's pregnancy, as she and Booth struggle to make their relationship work alongside another series of grisly murders. Thought the show doesn't go completely off the rails, the addition of the baby by the season's end takes the show in a new direction that I, for one, don't appreciate.
Truncated due to Emily Deschanel's actual pregnancy, the thirteen episodes of Season Seven find Booth (David Boreanaz, Angel) and Brennan struggling to find a new home to share before the baby arrives. Once the baby arrives, a new threat arises in the form of a computer genius who puts the new family in danger. All thirteen episodes are collected on three Blu-ray discs here:
* "The Memories in the Shallow Grave"
* "The Hot Dog in the Competition"
* "The Prince in the Plastic"
* "The Male in the Mail"
* "The Twist in the Twister"
* "The Crack in the Code"
* "The Prisoner in the Pipe"
* "The Bump in the Road"
* "The Don't in the Do"
* "The Warrior in the Wuss"
* "The Family in the Feud"
* "The Suit on the Set"
* "The Past in the Present"
This seventh season of Bones is really a tale of two shows. The first show is the same murder mystery that we're used to. Booth and Brennan face off against a host of different criminals and solve cases using their patented teamwork that combines cop knowhow and forensic deduction. The mysteries themselves are really great this season. They range from a toy company executive being found in shrink wrap to a murder at a national monument that includes a code written in blood. It's that latter murder that sets up the serial killer who will return again to plague Booth and Brennan at season's end, setting the narrative off in a new direction (and leaving the ending of this short season in a very different place than it began).
The second show, which only emerges in the latter half of this season, is a weird almost-sitcom version of Bones. Unsurprisingly, the arrival of a baby changes things up for Booth and Brennan, but instead of taking the show in a more serious, responsible direction, the show goes straight for the comedy. Yes, there is a bit of a nod towards parental anxieties about separation and returning to the job, but even these adult fears are treated mainly for laughs. This comedy is distressing for two reasons. The first is that while the show has never been an ultra-serious drama (a la other forensic shows like CSI), it has always done a good job of balancing the humor and the drama. Not so much with the baby-centric latter half of this season. The other problem, though, is that the comedy that comes out of having the baby isn't anything we haven't seen before. It's the same tired stories about diapers and not getting enough sleep.
Whether you're a fan of Booth and Brennan getting together (finally!) and/or having a baby, no one could legitimately complain about this Blu-ray release. Each of the thirteen episodes looks as good as any contemporary digital show can look. Colors are bold and well-saturated. Detail is strong throughout, from the closeups on forensic details to wider shots of D.C. Black levels are consistent and deep and only occasionally contain the slightest trace of noise. The DTS-HD audio tracks keep up with the visuals. Dialogue is clean and clear from the center channel, and always well-balanced with the show's score. The show gets some mileage out of the surrounds during exciting action scenes, and even more humdrum scenes benefit from some atmospherics.
As for extras, we get a pair of deleted scenes (about two minutes total), and a commentary on "The Past in the Present" from show creator Hart Hanson and Ian Toynton (an executive producer). There's an episode late in the season when Booth and Brennan visit a Hollywood set for a movie based on one of Brennan's books. So, in a TV show based on a novel, the main character has written a novel that's being turned into a movie. If that's not meta enough, this set has an 11-minute making-of featurette for that episode that goes behind the scenes of the set-within-a-set, taking the cast and crew along for the ride. Furthermore, we get a fake red-carpet interview for the film-within-the-show, and a gag reel.
Honestly, as much as I don't like the whole baby angle the show took during much of this season, I have to admire the serious cliffhanger ending the show's producers opted for. If it's handled right. I could be convinced to keep Bones on the top of my to-watch pile, so don't write the show off yet.
I'll make no Bones about it: the show handled Emily Deschanel's pregnancy poorly by rushing Booth and Brennan into a relationship. Even worse, too much of this already short season revolves around baby humor, and that just doesn't jibe with the rest of the atmosphere the show has built up. For those who just want a lighter side of forensics drama, Bones still delivers, but for those who've become invested in these characters, the sudden shift to baby humor feels false. In either case, this Blu-ray set is a fine way to catch up with the show, since it combines a solid audiovisual presentation with a few extras for the fans.
Guilty of putting production circumstances before the health of the show.
Review content copyright © 2012 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 566 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Official Site