RogerBW's Blog

Bones season 11 21 March 2017

2015-2016, 22 episodes. Police procedural in the CSI mould: a team of forensic experts at the "Jeffersonian" consults for the FBI.

Once more this is more of the same, but it continues to have moments of interest. The directing (i.e. senior hands-on) producer (Ian Toynton, who'd been doing the job since the start) was replaced by Randy Zisk, but he doesn't seem to have rocked the boat much.

There's a fair amount of arc plotting here: Booth and Brennan start the season having left their jobs, and have to be got back into place; and the precursor to the season finale comes several episodes (and two months of real time) earlier, rather than turning it into a two-parter. Most seriously, Hodgins gets injured in a bomb explosion in episode ten (just before the Christmas break), and over the second half of the season gradually learns to cope with his paralysed legs and the implications for his relationships and professional life.

There's also crime-of-the-week, of course, sometimes attempting to be topical in that slightly wrong way that network TV always does (a murder victim had founded a men's rights organisation); and in a series that's often grim there are some welcome touches of humour. Booth and Brennan have to investigate at an old-west-style shooting competition and among college a cappella groups; a film crew follows the team around the lab; and Booth meets an old rival from his college-hockey-playing past for whom those were the glory days of his life, while to Booth they're just a vaguely good memory from before he joined the Army and then the FBI.

There's certainly no point in jumping into the series here: insofar as it rises above generic procedural, it's because it's run for 235 episodes (longer than any other one-hour drama on Fox) and it's full of parallels and references to earlier material – not the heavy-handed "remember when"s, though there are some of those, but more the way the writers and actors have clearly kept previous series in mind when considering the way characters react to things.

The show was renewed for a twelve-episode final season, which seems to be the best modern approach to cancellation: yes, the show is stopping, but the writers are told about it in time to wrap up ongoing storylines.

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