By this 11th season, Bones has long-resolved the will-they-won’t-they romantic tension between Brennan and Booth by having them get married and start a family. The season starts by upping the stakes with Booth vanishing and presumed to either be a murderer or murdered himself. It’s no spoiler to say answers are found quickly and with the investigating status quo re-established the team gets on with the job of solving various seemingly baffling crimes.
America leads the world in a lot of culture for good and bad. In the case of television, this is a good thing. We get defining series like Game of Thrones from premium cable, classic shows like The Shield on basic cable, and on the networks a high variety of every conceivable genre. In the crime field, we’ve had everything from genuinely welcome oddities like Hannibal to behemoth franchises like Law & Order and the aforementioned CSI strand.
From the start, Bones attempted to stand out within this crowded market by mixing humour with the grimness. Brennan is one of those TV-style geniuses - frequently comically antisocial and abrupt, but softened by her colleagues and ultimately the relationship with Booth. It’s a set-up that works well for the show and little has changed in that regard for this last-but-one season. Gory crime scenes (and they are gorily entertaining) mix with jokey banter and the interpersonal to make each episode a breezy, strangely comforting 40-ish minutes.
Bones does like to put its characters through the wars and this season brings about some profound changes for some of the group, which agreeably helps with shaking the show’s paradigm up. This penultimate season also brings a crossover with Sleepy Hollow, which actually works pretty well.
For fans of the show, Bones remains remarkably consistent and none of the relationships between characters changing has distracted from its core appeal. It’s one of those series where the skill it takes to put each episode together at this level of quality is quite subtle, where being network and generic works in its favour. Even if you’ve never seen an episode, and after everything that’s happened up to this point, you could still pick it up and follow easily, but at the same time, there’s enough to keep long-term fans invested. That takes some doing.
Glossy, superficial and formula-driven, nevertheless in its 11th year Bones is generally still a commendably creepy good time.
BONES: SEASON 11 / CERT:15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: EMILY DESCHANEL, DAVID BOREANAZ, MICHAELA CONLIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW