I call them “cop shows” or, if I’m feeling a bit cutesy, “badge operas.” A screenwriting acquaintance says they’re “procedurals.” But never mind the label: by whatever name, they’re what constitutes most of the bread-and-butter television programming and you probably don’t have to go further than your nearest remote to find one.
There will be a pseudo family of protagonists – police, doctors, lawyers, feds, the occasional fire fighter or paramedic – and these people will be presented with a problem, usually one that involves injury done to an innocent party, and, using their skills and wit and such facilities as are provided to them, they will solve the problem. Usually, but not always, there is a happy ending appended to the story and once in a very great while, things end badly.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for that episode. Usually, by the rolling of the end credits, righteousness and harmony have been restored, justice has been done. The message, which we get over and over and over and over again, is that the system works to assure that the good guys win. Those good guys may have their quirks and eccentricities, but they’ve got each others’ backs and they will get the job done!
Do you believe that? Do I? Well, no, not consciously. That’s not the message real life has delivered. But it is the message that we hear every day, constantly. And I suspect that it registers with most people, at least subliminally, and we are cheery and optimistic enough to hit the mall and, you know, buy happy-making stuff.
Many of the world’s religions have been offering similar palliatives for centuries. No matter how wretched your life is, be patient and do what we say and eventually you’ll go to the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
But procedurals aren’t all that television provides. Lately, if you’ve surfed your way onto a news channel, you’ve seen images of fire and chaos and violence. That little town outside St. Louis – Ferguson, is it? And a couple of hundred miles or so south of where I’m sitting, a favorite city, Baltimore. Riots and looting and pain and terror. None of it scripted.
More to come? Almost certainly.
Maybe something can be done. But…the situation isn’t really that bad, is it? Oh, that business in Ferguson and Baltimore and maybe a few other locales here and there, now and then – that’s certainly disturbing. But fundamentally, everything’s okay. Nothing broke that won’t be fixed.
Now, what’s on tonight? Law and Order SVU? One of the CSI shows? Oh, and Bones. Bones is always good.
The premise behind Fox’s Bones has always felt as it was straining against credulity. After all, how many bizarre murders occur that require a dedicated team of forensic anthropologists? Well, the answer appears to be eight and counting although with season nine now airing, it’s also starting to sag under its own weight and age. As a result, the cases have taken a back seat to meta stories and character arcs that never feel fully explored.
At the end of the seventh season, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) took her infant son and abandoned her lover, FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and was on the run after a series of unbelievable charges were leveled against her by the sadistic Pelant (Andrew Leeds). We open the eighth season, out now on home video from 20th Century Home Entertainment, several months later as the couple is reunited. However, the Spectre of Pelant, which has been growing over the years, now begins to hang on like an overripe albatross and sucks the life out of the show.
He reappears later in the season, in a far-fetched plot that is designed to rob Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) of his fortune, fueling the madman’s schemes, which also sets up the season’s cliffhanger. The problem is that he’s not a very interesting foe and he always seems to be flawlessly perfect in his execution. After years of building up the romance between Booth and Bones, they have conceived a child and moved in together, forging a life. He finally proposes and then Pelant arrives to orchestrate events that have him call off the deal or innocents will die. Feh.
The only person who seems genuinely happy this year is the boss, Cam (Tamara Taylor), as she engages in a full blown affair with occasional intern Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat) but she has to keep it quiet because, after all, she’s his boss and there’s a bit of an age difference which never seems to come up.
After more than a hundred episodes, the series is free to take chances and the most satisfying one may be the one that brings back psychic Avalon Harmonia (Cyndi Lauper) and everyone talks to the teen victim’s skull and we see things from its point of view.
Meantime, early in the season we have Angela (Michaela Conlin) question her personal goals which is neatly packed away after only a few episodes while Sweets (John Francis Daley) gets his mini-arc of self-doubt after failing to capture Pelant in the finale.
The series looks fine thanks to the clean transfer to high definition and the sound is also good. As usual, there are some fun and interesting bonus features. There’s occasional commentary from producer Hart Hanson, accompanied by Stephen Nathan and Ian Toynton. There are a few scattered deleted scenes, and Dying to Know: Bones Answers Your Questions! (9:00) as the cast and crew answer fan questions, which also fills Bare Bones: Total Fandom-onium (1:59). Finally, there’s the requisite Gag Reel (5:26).
We’re three weeks into the new season of Fox’s Bones but Bones Season Eight is coming to home video on Tuesday, with all-new content! Thanks to our friends at 20th Century Home Entertainment we have a copy to give away.
Finally cleared of wrongdoing, Bones (Emily Deschanel)reunites with Booth (David Boreanaz) and the squints. Although the team solves some of their most challenging cases yet, madman Christopher Pelant continues his murderous rampage – inching closer to Bones and Booth daily. From solving the mystery of a roller derby darling’s demise to uncovering a previously unrecognized 9/11 hero to stopping a pandemic, Bones and the team make one remarkable discovery after another. Meanwhile, as if the challenges Booth faces with parenthood and his unique relationship with Bones aren’t enough, his mother shows up after a 24-year absence, and there is shocking news about some of his colleagues. Relive all 26 killer episodes!
Commentary on “The Future in the Past”
Deleted Scene from “The Patriot in Purgatory”
Deleted Scene from “The Survivor in the Soap”
Deleted Scene from “The Party in the Pants”
Dying to Know: Bones Answers Your Questions!
Bare Bones: Total Fandom-onium
For a chance to win your copy of the Blu-ray just answer the question below:
What kind of rampage does Christopher Pelant go on in Bones?
D. TV Binge Watching
Submit your answer by 11:59 p.m., Thursday October 10. The decision of the ComicMix will be final. The contest is open only to US and Canadian readers.
Imagine you had a time machine and went back into the past. While there you meet and accidentally kill your grandfather before he got married and had kids, one of them your own parent. Then you automatically wipe out your own existence, right? But if you have never existed, then how do you go back in time and kill Grandpa?
This is called The Grandfather Paradox, and it is probably the most famous example of what is termed a temporal paradox. This scenario was first described by science fiction writer Rene Barjavel in his 1943 book, Le Voyager Imprudent – translated, The Imprudent Traveler. (I didn’t know that, either. I looked it up.)
The Grandfather Paradox is not exclusive to killing Gramps. The entire plotline of Back To Future depends on Marty, um, “pre”-uniting his parents after he inadvertently interfered with his father, George McFly, being the one nursed by his mom (thus kindling their romance) after dad fell out of the tree into the path of a passing car. Because George did not marry Lorraine Baines, Marty cannot exist, and we see this principle at work as his first-born brother and then second-born sister disappear from a family photograph, until, at the prom (and the penultimate scene), Marty starts to fade away as he plays guitar. But just in time, George (who has saved Lorraine from being mauled – raped? – by Biff Tannen, the town bully) dances with her – they kiss, and suddenly Marty springs back to life and his brother and sister reappear in the photograph.
Marty inadvertently changes history in other ways, because in his efforts to bring George and Lorraine together, he has given his father new confidence in himself. When Marty returns to 1985, he discovers that his sad sack family are now examples of the American success story. George is no longer a stumbling failure, but a successful science fiction writer. Lorraine is no longer a slovenly, overweight, complaining, straight-laced mom, and they are a happy, openly loving couple. His brother and sister are happy, too, and Marty discovers his parents have bought him his long-dreamed of truck.
Is time travel possible? Can history be changed?
Another example of the Grandfather Paradox is Star Trek’s “The City On The Edge Of Forever.” Written by Harlan Ellison, and winner of the 1968 Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation, City is the story of Jim Kirk and Edith Keeler, a social worker in Depression-era New York City.
It begins with the Enterprise investigating “disturbances in time” emanating from an unknown planet. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, sick and paranoid from an accidental overdose of cordrazine, transports down to the planet, and a landing party follows him, led by Kirk and Spock. While searching for Bones, the team discovers the Guardian of Forever, a self-aware portal into the time stream. Still delusional, Bones jumps into the portal. Uhura tells Kirk that she was talking to the Enterprise, and now, suddenly, there is nothing, not even static. The Guardian tells them that the past has changed and the Enterprise, indeed the entire Federation, no longer exists. The landing party is stranded and alone in a universe that is no longer theirs.
Kirk and Spock determine that McCoy somehow changed history, and they realize they must follow Bones and stop him from doing whatever it is he did that changed history.
The portal lands them, as I said, in a New York City circa 1933. Kirk and Spock meet Edith Keeler, who runs a soup kitchen for the down-and-out. While Spock puts together a rudimentary tricorder (“I am endeavoring, ma’am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins.”), Jim and Edith fall in love. And meanwhile, unknown to both men, Bones is being nursed back to health in Edith’s soup kitchen.
Spock discovers that Edith is a focal point in time. His machine shows two possible futures for her. Either Edith, a determined pacifist, leads a movement that delays America’s entry into World War II, which allows the Nazis time to perfect the atom bomb and win the war, or she dies in 1933 in a car accident. Kirk realizes that Edith Keeler, the woman he loves, must die.
Jim and Edith are on their way to a movie – “A Clark Gable movie. Don’t you know? You know, Dr. McCoy said…” – Jim tells Edith to “stay right there” and runs back across the street to the mission, calling for Spock. Spock comes out, and so does Bones. Edith, curious and watching this reunion, starts to cross the street; her eyes on the three men, she doesn’t see the truck. Kirk instinctively moves, but Spock stops him, and instead of saving Edith, Kirk restrains McCoy from acting as well. Edith is killed. “Do you know what you just did?” Bones says in disbelief. Spock answers for Kirk. “He knows, Doctor. He knows.”
With Edith’s death, history is back on track, and the three men are returned to the Guardian’s planet. Uhura tells them that the Enterprise is there and awaiting instructions.
“Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Is time travel possible? Can history be changed?
The Novikov Self-Consistency Principle, theorized by Russian physicist Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov and American theoretical physicist Kip S. Thorne’s work on wormholes and other astronomical data – can the laws of physics actually permit space and time to be “multiply connected,” as Thorne put it, so that time travel through machines or via wormholes is actually possible? – both rely on the same hypothesis, i.e.,
there is no danger of temporal paradoxes because anything that a time traveler does in the past is (was?) an established and predetermined part of history.
In “Assignment: Earth,” a second season episode of Star Trek: TOS, Kirk and Spock discover that the Enterprise and its crew were actually part of the events of 1968 which led to the failed launch of a nuclear warhead platform into orbit by the United States. If they hadn’t travelled back in time, if they hadn’t interfered, then history (from the 23rd century perspective) would have been changed. But history couldn’t be changed, according to the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle and Thorne’s hypothesis; the Enterprise’s presence was an established and predetermined historical fact.
Can history be changed? Is time travel possible?
In 1937, physicist Willen Jacob Van Strickum proposed an idea he called the “Closed TimelikeCurve.” He theorized that if time is linear, you should be able to fold it in on itself, making time travel possible between any points touching each other.
This was the basis of Quantum Leap, although Dr. Sam Beckett, the time traveler in the series, used the term “string theory.”
From the episode “Future Boy”:
Moe: Time is like a piece of string. One end of the string is birth, the other is death. If you can put them together, then your life is a loop.
Al: Hey! Sam, that’s your theory!
Moe: If I can travel fast enough along the loop, I will eventually end up back at the beginning of my life.
Al: He – He’s got it!
Sam: Well, let me ask you what would happen if you would ball the string, right? And then each day of your life would touch another day. And then, you could travel from one place on the string to another, thus enabling you to move back and forth within your own lifetime. Maybe.
Moe: That’s it! That’s it! Then I could actually…
Sam: Quantum leap.
So, according to Quantum Leap, you can time travel, at least within your own lifetime.
But can history be changed?
In Quantum Leap, the only way that Sam Beckett could move on and try to find his way home was to “put right what once went wrong.” Which of course he did. So Sam was changing history.
Or was he simply creating alternate histories?
Alternate histories that led to whole new universes.
Fight Fiction Publisher, Fight Card Books has released Fight Card: Barefoot Bones. Fight Card: Barefoot Bones is a written by pulpmeister Bobby Nash, the 2013 Pulp Ark Award winner for Best Author, writing under the Fight Card house name of Jack Tunney. Under a cover by David Foster and edits by Fight Card co-creator Paul Bishop, Barefoot Bones is a knockout!
Mentored in the hollows of hardscrabble Georgia by mysterious loner Old Man Winter, then in a Chicago orphanage by ex-fighter Father Tim Brophy, James ‘Barefoot Bones’ Mason has relied on his fists to make his way. But it’s a long way from St. Vincent’s Asylum For Boys to the battlefields of Korea where Bones’ fists may not be enough.
Entered in an inter-camp boxing tournament by his commanding officer, Bones finds himself in a war within a war. When a tenuous cease fire is explosively shattered, Bone’s is fighting against the highest odds of all – staying alive.
Can a skinny kid from the north Georgia mountains survive the hell of Korea and still have the guts to climb back into the ring one more time? The one constant in Bones’ life has been fighting – Lucky for him… he’s good at it.
You can purchase Fight Card: Barefoot Bones here.
Learn more about Fight Card: Barefoot Bones here.
Learn more about Fight Card Books here.
Read Author Bobby Nash’s thoughts on crafting Fight Card: Barefoot Bones and see what it was like strapping on Jack Tunney’s gloves here.
Fight Card: Barefoot Bones – Coming Soon in Paperback.
Coming up next week, we have the debut of the first Fight Card Romance novel, Ladies Night, by Carol Malone (writing as Jill Tunney). Carol has pulled off a wonderful romance/fight pulp genre mash up in Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night.
Next month will see the publication of Anthony Venutolo’s noirish wonder, Fight Card: Front Page Palooka (previously Union Of The Snakes).
Fans can ask their questions using the hashtag #BonesFanEvent and show producers will select their favorites to be included on the forthcoming “Bones” Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray that is set to be released later this fall.
Beginning April 8th, fans will also be able to submit videos to be included on the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray through the official social channels and www.BonesFanEvent.com using #BonesFanEvent.
Video options include:
Explain why you are the No.1 “Bones” fan
In 60 seconds or less, recap “Bones” from Season 1 to the present
Okay, it’s Monday somewhere, so time for the big announcement:
Have you ever wanted to hear the story of how Dane and Bones met, how their friendship formed, and what sorts of adventures they stumbled into during their early years? I’m pleased to announce FREEDOM- book one of the forthcoming “Dane and Bones Origins” series. Co-authored by Sean Sweeney (author of the “Agent” series,) FREEDOM tells the story of Dane and Bones’ first adventure: a mystery dating back to the founding of our nation.
So, a few weeks ago, I decided to give myself the night off. And in doing so, I granted myself the ability to indulge in a previously DVR’ed movie stolen during a free weekend some time ago. That movie was The Green Hornet by way of Seth Rogan. It was, to date, the worst adaptation I’d personally seen of a comic book(esque) character in a movie. The flick was so god awful, I spent the following evening searching for something to wash my mind out. And there, stuck in a marathon of its brethren, a movie I knew was a sure-thing.
The Wrath of Khanwas to my knowledge a near-universally beloved film of nerdtopia. Furthermore, I’d never seen it. (Gasp). Surely this shining beacon of Trekkie culture would cure my explosion-riddled mind from the misadventures of Kato and Bro-Hornet. My fellow ComicMixers… set your phasers to stunned. I loved it.
I loved every minute of it. And truly, that is saying something. I am by all accounts not a Trekkie. That being said, I’m not completely ignorant of the brand either. In my short time on this blue ball, I’ve watched dozens of episodes of Next Generation, a handful of Voyagers, a pair of Deep Space Nines (and, heck, I actually saw the one with the Borgs), and the 2009 Abrams’ flick in theater. But the original crew? My only exposure prior to Wrath was an old X-Men/Star Trek crossover comic book from 1996, purchased mainly as a joke. I tried, once, to watch the original series on TV. I was aghast at the production values (forgive me, I was but a child of 24 or 25 at the time). So, to go into this movie as cold as a Bantha on Hoth (I bet that’s pissin’ a few of you off…), I had expected to hate the movie.
Yet something clicked. Immediately after absorbing the film, I went to YouTube to digest the original appearance of Khan in the episode Space Seed. I also set my DVR to record the once-a-week rerun of the retro-upgraded Original Series on cable. Subsequent discussion with actual Trekkies gave me insight as to why I’d suddenly become enthralled in the series. I discovered that one of the motifs of the show was the war of morals versus logic. Bones vs. Spock, with Captain Kirk in the middle. It’s a great concept, one that gave me perspective to enjoy what I previously thought was banal. Where I believe much of The Next Generation is rooted in the expanded (and better looking) aliens and psuedo-science driven plots (and again, I could be wrong, but this is based on the episodes I’ve seen…) the Original Series is more focused on the characters themselves. To be fair, each concept has merit, but it’s taken me until now to find the hook necessary to really sink my teeth into TOS.
And what of James T. Kirk? Removed from the stereotypes I was used to seeing in countless spoofs and parodies stood a Captain who was very much the product of a pulpier age. He fights. He makes love, apparently a lot. He battles his giant space ship with equal amounts of abandon and cool calculation. And in Wrath, it was a treat to see nearly all of these things happen. Suffice to say, without the prejudice of “He’s no Piccard,” I’m finding just why so many people are smitten by Shatner.
For what it’s worth? My money (and new found respect) is on Bones. Prior to my Trek-Immersion therapy, all I knew of the man was “Damnit Jim, I’m not a (insert something), I’m a doctor!” In a single scene during Space Seed, I found a character so compelling, I’m kvelling a little. In Seed, Khan awakes, steals a scalpel, and bates Bones to his bedside. He grasps his neck (with a strength supposedly five times a normal man) and puts the knife to it. Bones, without a flustered yelp to his name, suggests to Khan he should either choke him or just slit his throat, making sure to point out he should tighten his gasp a bit or slit right behind the ear to make it quick. Bones has balls. Amazing.
But let’s all be real; Wrath of Khan is all about Khan. The character himself is a brilliant trope – he’s a conqueror out of time. Following his first appearance via Space Seed, Wrath plays brilliantly. The fantastic turn that Kirk has in allowing Khan a planet to rule, was fascinating. And to use that as the catapult for the movie – where the best intentions are ruined by careless happenstance, and terrible luck – breeds a villain that we can almost sympathize. Even in Seed, we get that air of mystery to the man. He’s a product of another age, superior physically and mentally… but he’s still fallible against a man three centuries ahead of him. And while Wrath of Khan did not allow for the titular terror to match his still-amazing pecs to Kirk’s greying temples, we’re still treated to what makes the Star Trek universe so appealing to me now: Stories are built around savory plots and moral ambiguity, not action sequences and special effects.
So, I am on the verge of a new thing. A respect, and genuine interest in something I truly was never before intrigued by. Something that allows me access to a new sub-culture to both explore and debate with. Something that might just make me boldly go where so many others have gone before. But what could be next? Doctor Who?
Not likely. But that my friends… is a topic for another week.
Bones has carefully straddled the line between light-hearted crime drama, ala Hart to Hart and taut melodrama. Over the seven seasons, showrunner Hart Hanson has carefully brought the main characters, Special Agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz) and Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), together, nicely balancing the “will they or won’t they?” romantic tension until finally, in the last season, they finally became a couple. Probably quicker than anticipated, thanks to a real life pregnancy, Brennan was with child.
The seventh season of Bones, now out on Blu-ray from 20th Century Home Entertainment, is a shorter than normal thirteen episodes because of the circumstances, but Hanson did not slow down the pacing, setting things up for a dramatic cliffhanger that left fans really hanging for the spring and summer.
Along the way, the supporting cast at the Jeffersonian Institute Forensic Sciences Department was also given their moments in the spotlight, proving they are one of the richest, most interesting ensembles on prime time. With all the personal issues surrounding the cast, it’s pretty impressive they still manage to fit in unique corpse of the week stories. Things kicked off with a body at a paintball event and continued forward. The forensic testing results remain ridiculously fast in arriving and Angela (Michaela Conlin) never meets a challenge whose butt she can’t kick so there are definite stretches of credulity, moreso this season than in the past. Sweets (John Frances Daley) lost some of his boyish charm as he grew deadly accurate with his service revolver.
The series nicely rotated the usual interns, freshening the group dynamic with regularity and the addition of southern gentleman Finn Abernathy (Luke Kleintank) was a nice addition. His flirtation and dating of Cam’s (Tamara Taylor) daughter was an interesting development that ultimately went nowhere.
The most unusual episode of the season has to be “The Suit on the Set” where Booth and Brennan travel to watch a film based on one of her books is being made. They skewer Hollywood’s inability to faithfully adapt a novel, going for busts and pyrotechnics over plot and characterization. A little silly but a refreshing change of pace.
The finale sees the return of criminal Christopher Pellant who goes out of his way to frame Brennan, turning her into a wanted felon. The problem here is that the circumstantial evidence mounts so high so fast, at least one of the characters should have at least questioned the absurdity of all this damning information pouring out at once. But nope, never happened. Instead, Brennan and her dad (Ryan O’Neal) take the baby and go on the run, leaving Booth behind.
Given the shortened season, one would have expected either additional special features to compensate or fewer given the dearth of material to work with. We get more of the latter than the former with two deleted scenes, commentary on one episode, a four minute Gag Reel, and two small pieces on the Hollywood episode. First, there’s Creating The Suit on the Set (10:59) on how the episode was made then a fun, fake Bone of Contention: On the Red Carpet (3:18)
I was late to the series and was able to plow through the first five seasons to jump on board but you cannot start cold with this season. It’s too involved in its continuity and character relationships to be totally accessible to a newcomer. But for those of us who are fans of this show, adapted from the novels by Kathy Reichs, it was a slid if flawed season and worth a second look.
A television series reaches middle age around its fifth or sixth season and it rests on the shoulders of the production team whether or not to get rejuvenated or quietly enter the complacency of old age, leading to a far swifter demise. Thankfully, Hart Hanson and the crew of Bones used last season as a chance to shake up the status quo in numerous ways resulting in a reset of sorts when the seventh season begins November 3. Meantime, Bones: The Complete Sixth Season was recently released by 20th Century Home Entertainment and is once more a handsome package.
The show is far more character-driven than its competitor procedurals on the other networks, so we’ve come to know and love not only the staff at the Jeffersonian and FBI agent Sealy Booth, but the interns and extended family that are part of their world. The series does not shy away from dealing with the consequences of their cases and as one menace is finally dealt with, another arrives to keep things interesting. The Gravedigger, Heather Taffet (Deirdre Lovejoy), had her creepy storyline brought to a satisfying conclusion but as one door closed, another opened and in walked Jacob Broadsky (Arnold Vosloo), an ex-Army sniper who has a history with Booth.
This show has always had an appealing cast, with terrific chemistry among the regulars and the producers make certain we see them at work and at play, mixing and matching the characters to see what happens. David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel anchor the show and their “will they or won’t they” relationship kept things going for the previous five seasons. Still, to everyone but one another, it was clear they belonged together, and it finally was addressed in the waning season five episodes. As season six opened, Booth had been in the Middle East for months and returned a changed man, accompanied by Hannah Burley (Katheryn Winnick). Having Booth seemingly happy in love was just the spark Deschanel’s Temperance Brennan needed to get back in touch with her emotional heart. Their arc was a very strong one, a spine for the season that ended with them finally making love, resulting in a pregnancy that will charge the new season. (more…)