Back in the late nineties I was introduced to the world of medical examiner-genre of mystery novels by the Kay Scarpetta-series by Patricia Cornwell. Originally I got quite hooked by the plots and characters. The attempts at describing technology were vicariously embarrassing but half of the effect can be explained by Moore’s law, the other half by trying way too hard.
But the relationship soured as the series grew. Cornwell clearly disdained the use of editorial services and the quality of books sunk accordingly. The sudden turn towards vigilantism felt out of place. The previously tightly wound plots evolved into hard to follow multi-novel monstrosities. I gave up around Blow Fly and haven’t looked back.
However, Cornwell’s success roused imitators. I picked up Kathy Reichs‘ debut novel and quickly discovered that the while the genre expectations are plenty of anatomical descriptions and academic characters with plenty of baggage, it’s not enough. Going through Déjà Dead felt like hard work, and I thought that’d be the last sight of the author and her protagonist, improbably named Temperance Brennan.
A couple of years ago a few friends stated that they’d quite liked the new quasi-CSI series shown over the summer: Bones. Upon first sight Bones felt quite all right, it was clearly far enough removed from the original and effectively turned into a police procedural in one of my favorite cities: Washington.
I ended up missing most of the first season and I picked it up in the States cheap later on. And as with Deadwood, a quick, innocent “one episode before going to bed to stave off jetlag” turned into a watching the first disc instead.
Compared to the cardboard characters of CSI the cast on Bones felt quite a bit more human. And the fact that cast included David Boreanaz was a definite bonus. As was the use of proper long arcs in the plot. So quite unlike the syndication-friendly CSI-franchises where the reset button is conveniently pressed at the end of an episode.
The series stayed strong through its first four seasons. Though the writers’ strike did impact on both the length and the quality of the third, the show bounced back on the fourth.
Even though Subtv the series’ vehicle in Finland has not been a reliable channel, it gave quite a surprise last saturday by starting the fifth season well ahead of its release on dvd in the US.
The first episode was return to normality after the quite unorthodox fourth season finale. So yet another show lands on the “record weekly” list of the DVR. Even if Cyndi Lauper’s medium character isn’t a permanent addition to the crew, Bones looks to be a staple of the second half of 2010.