These days, pretty much everything makes it to home video, and more often than not in a timely fashion. With so much entertainment available, it's inevitable that the much of what speeds down the information superhighway will go right past us. For me, Bones has been one of those shows. I had a vague awareness of a C.S.I.-esque procedural grafted on to a Moonlighting "will they or won't they dynamic?" and starring the erstwhile Angel and Zooey Deschanel's sister. But Fox's dutiful Blu-ray release of Bones: Season Four gave me a second chance to sample the FOX drama. Turns out my vague awareness was pretty much spot-on, but Bones makes for an entertaining enough way to while away a guilt-free hour of TV once a week (or in marathon home-video sessions: choose your poison).
David Boreanaz (Angel) plays FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, who partners with Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her forensic anthropology team to solve crime scene investigations. Though Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) heads up the lab, Brennan is the star of a team that also includes entomologist Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne) and forensic specialist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin). Since Season Three, the lab also makes room for FBI-appointed psychologist Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley of Freaks and Geeks). The series also has a tradition of rotating interns—not unlike Murphy Brown's ever cycling secretaries; Season Four's batch includes Daisy Wick, played by Carla Gallo in four episodes. Like Daley, Gallo is in the "Judd Apatow mafia," having starred in his short-lived series Undeclared and appeared in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Bones isn't going to cure cancer, and its mysteries are rarely scintillating, but Boreanaz and Deschanel keep the series percolating with their oil-and-water opposites shtick, defined less by chafing annoyance and more by mutual respect (if playful exasperation). Naturally, these opposites attract, even as they practice denial, and creator Hart Hanson mischievously choreographs a one step forward, two steps back dance for the pair that will no doubt eventually pay off for long-longing fans. Season Four kicks off with a cheeky double-size episode that takes Bones and Booth to London, where they spar with their British counterparts, played by Indira Varma (Torchwood) and Andrew Buchan (Cranford). The season's guest stars will go on to include Ryan O'Neal (making his eighth and ninth appearances as Bones' dad), Stephen Fry (making his fourth appearance as Dr. Gordon Wyatt), Michael Badalucco (The Practice) as a surprisingly middle-aged intern, and Mötley Crüe as, well, Mötley Crüe.
Bones tends to keep it light, though things get a bit scary-wacky in the season's penultimate episode (in which Booth hallucinates conversations with a fellow FOX star, Family Guy's Stewie Griffin) and its finale "The End in the Beginning." The Season Four closer creatively recasts the show's characters as players in a murder mystery set in a nightclub called "The Lab." The dream logic is, naturally, part of a dream Booth is having, but what will say to Brennan when he wakes? The season ends with a cliffhanger kicker. With outings like the season opener and closer, Bones proves it just wants to have fun. And how can you dislike a show that holds everything to let the always amusing Daley sing a song or two with his band Dayplayer? That's just good TV.
On hi-def Blu-ray, Bones: Season Four doesn't look the least bit brittle. Color, contrast, detail and texture all pop off the screen, and the rock-solid black level helps to give the series that coveted three-dimensionality of the best HD TV transfers. Many TV series remained bogged down in lossy Dolby Digital tracks, but Bones gets the deluxe treatment: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixes that add extra punch to the nicely separated complement of dialogue, music, and effects.
Disc Five of the five-disc Blu-ray set includes a smattering of bonus features, all presented in HD. First up are two "Deleted Scenes" (2:17, HD), followed by the season's "Gag Reel" (5:44, HD).
"Androgyny: Playing Haru Tanaka" (6:44, HD) interviews Ally Maki about her memorable androgynous guest spot.
Perhaps the best extra is "Squints in Training" (9:49, HD), which compiles clips and new interviews with Season Four "interns" Carla Gallo, Pej Vahdat, Eugene Byrd, Michael Grant Terry, Ryan Cartwright, and Joel David Moore.
Bones fans will lap up this set to add to their collection, and I dare say some new fans will get on the Bones bandwagon when they sample these episodes, especially in their full hi-def glory.
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