Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Bones & Squints

Fall television is right around the corner, and many of our favorite programs are returning.  Amber West and I decided to change things up this week, and we’re sharing Why It’s Worth a Watch to check out a few of the FOX hit TV shows coming back in a few weeks – House and Bones.

First up, Bones!

Based on the book series of the same name by Kathy Reichs, Bones follows forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seely Booth as they solve some of the toughest cases surrounding the Washington D.C. area.  Each week’s episode begins with the discovery of human remains and showcases the unique personalities of partners Booth and Brennan as they work alongside each other and the team of expert scientists (also known as “squints”) at the Jeffersonian Institute to solve crimes.

Note – I don’t recommend watching Bones during the dinner hour.  The human remains are sometimes a bit graphic and very realistic. 

Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel, Rose Red)

In addition to being quite possibly one of the most intelligent, and one of the best forensic anthropologists in the world, Temperance “Bones” Brennan is also a bestselling author.  Saying she’s socially awkward is an understatement, she completely lacks what most of us consider common sense and she’s void of any pop culture knowledge making her jokes fail miserably with the rest of the team.  Her education clashes with her friend’s cultures and beliefs (particularly religious affiliations), but she makes an honest attempt to better understand those that she loves.  The Jeffersonian team and Booth are her family.    

FBI Special Agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz, from Buffy and Angel)

A former Ranger Sniper, Booth’s sharp shooting skills have come in handy during his tenure with the FBI.  Of course, those same skills and his record number of kills have also haunted him over the years, especially considering his moral code, Catholic beliefs, and interpersonal relationships.  Booth struggles constantly with his past: his father was an abusive alcoholic and his brother is following the same path, minus the abusive side.  Booth focuses his life on being the best man and father he can be, and he’ll do anything to protect Brennan and her team.  Talk about a man of honor….         

Forensic Artist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin, The Lincoln Lawyer)

Angela is Brennan’s best friend, daughter of ZZ Top band member Billy Gibbons, wife to Jack Hodgins, and proud mother to new-born Michael Staccato Vincent (after Nigel-Murray) Hodgins.  Her role with the team is to help with facial reconstruction, and she uses some really cool 3-D graphics programs that help generate holograms from even the smallest portion of a skeleton.  Angela is responsible for most of the social improvements seen through Brennan’s character growth season to season.    

Entomologist Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J.Thyne, How High)

Hodgins is the teams’ expert on all things spores, soil, and bugs, and he often times refers to himself as “King of the Lab“.  Hodgins is a bit of a conspiracy theorist, a fact not at all helped by his massive education.  His family has considerable wealth and is actually one of the main endowment donors supporting the Jeffersonian.  He loves Angela, while comically fearing her father (he has a huge tattoo of Angela’s face on his shoulder courtesy of a night out drinking with her dad).

Pathologist Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor, Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman)

The head of the Jeffersonian team, Cam, is Booth’s ex-girlfriend and is responsible for Booth asking Brennan to assist him on FBI cases.  She is the newly adopted mother of her deceased ex-boyfriend’s daughter, Michelle, and she struggles daily with trying to not control Michelle’s teenage years and collegiate future. 

Psychologist Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley, Freaks and Geeks and Waiting)

Introduced in Season 3 to help Booth and Brennan with their partnership, well, really the sexual tension affecting their partnership, Sweets has grown to be a favorite character on Bones.  He’s very young to have earned his Ph.D, and oftentimes encounters negative and rude comments from others about his age.  Sweets is brilliant, but not as secure with romantic relationships (he has an on again/off again love affair with one of the squints, Daisy).  Sweets is essential to the team and helps them solve many cases using his criminal profiling expertise in interrogations.     

Booth and Brennan have solved many crimes, the most dangerous and popular being the serial killers Gormogon (a cannibal) and The Grave Digger, who actually buried Brennan and Hodgins alive during season two.   Their partnership and relationship has survived brain tumors, gun-shot wounds, girlfriends and boyfriends, Booth’s return to the Army to train soldiers, and Brennan’s archeological digs around the world.

Each week, the Jeffersonian squints change.  This is explained in the storyline by Brennan’s inability to decide on an official intern replacement after Dr. Zach Addy (Eric Millegan) is taken away (I don’t want to give away any SPOILER alerts – you’ll have to watch the series).  The cast of other squints include: Wendell Bray (Michael Grant Terry), Colin Fisher (Joel Moore), Vincent Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright), Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat), Clark Edison (Eugene Byrd) and Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo). 

Ryan O’Neal reprises his role of Max Keenan, Brennan’s criminal father, throughout the series.  Other recurring characters include: Brennan’s brother, Russ Brennan (Loren Dean); Booth’s girlfriend, Hannah Burley (Katheryn Winnick); U.S. Prosecutor, Caroline Julian (Patricia Belcher); Booth’s ex-girlfriend and mother to his son, Rebecca Stinson (Jessica Capshaw); and, Booth’s brother, Jared (Brendan Fehr). 

Bones happens to be one of the rare television programs that has me sitting in anticipation the first twenty minutes of the hour so that I can press play on the DVR and watch without commercial interruption.  I know, you’re thinking that I’m a TV addict and I feel this way about a lot of programs, but that’s not true.  Bones is an absolute favorite and therefore I must award the GTV rating.

The sexual tension between Booth and Bones; the love affair between Angela and Hodgins; the quirky relationship shared between Sweets and Daisy; the comedic oddities of each and every character; all of this is TV at its finest: yummy Gourmet Television.  Compare it to the best cut of meat, red wine, and flaming dessert available. 

Are you a Bones fan?  Without spoiling it for anyone who isn’t current with the series, do you feel the surprise announcement at the end of season six will ruin the show or take it in a new, fun direction?  Did you feel the Zach storyline jumped the shark?  Who’s your favorite Bones squint and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of the hit Fox medical drama, House!  

Come back next week when Amber and I review a few more of our favorite programs returning this fall – the opposing 10pm EST/9pm CST Monday night hit series Castle & Hawaii 5-0.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – SyFy TV

This week, Amber West and I switch things up yet again and review two of TV’s hot new science fiction dramas on TNT and SyFy.

Over the past few years, the SyFy network has rivaled the basic television channels with their original series such as Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Andromeda which all aired for at least five years each.

Today, SyFy has found new must-see television with series Being Human, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Haven, and Sanctuary, which is why when Alphas premiered July 11th, our household couldn’t resist checking it out.

Alphas follows five people who have super human abilities.  Together, they track and study other Alphas while also working with local law enforcement to ensure that other Alphas misusing their powers are sent to “The Compound” and kept off the streets. 

Dr. Lee Rosen – a non-Alpha played by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin), leads the extraordinary team of Alphas, and uses his scientific research to better understand and control the Alpha population.

Each Alpha has a neurological difference providing them with an exceptional advantage over humans.

Would you like the strength to physically move a car blocking your path?

Meet Bill – a hyperadrenal-Alpha with super strength and training as a former FBI Agent, played by Malik Yoba (New York Undercover).  Bill reminds me of the Hulk, only he sweats profusely when his power is activated. 

Have you ever dreamed of pitching a perfect game?  What if you could master the art every time you stepped on the baseball mound? Or, what about the ability to toss a quarter into the vending machine change slot from ten feet away? 

Meet Cameron – a hyperkinesis-Alpha with perfect aim and motor skills, as well a history as an army sniper, played by Warren Christie (October Road).  Cameron appears vulnerable despite his physical stature.  He’s haunted by his failed marriage, and he misses his son desperately.

Would you like the ability to manipulate your way out of a speeding ticket by simply making eye contact with the traffic officer?

Meet Nina – an influencing-Alpha who manipulates others with her power of persuasion, played by Laura Mennell (Blood Ties and the motion picture, Watchmen).  Nina is absolutely beautiful, and she drives a new “borrowed” sports car in each episode. Now that’s what I call a super power! 

Have you ever wished that you could intercept the audio waves of a cell phone call so that you could hear the entire conversation taking place in front of you?  Or wish that you had the ability to read someone else’s text messages from a distance? 

Meet Gary – a transducing-Alpha or human antennae that can intercept any sound or radio wave, played by Ryan Cartwright (Bones).  Gary is always maneuvering his fingers through the air as he enjoys the different internet feeds, audio waves, etc.  He lacks a sense of humor, and the ability to lie.  I almost wonder if he has a form of autism.

Would you like the ability to eavesdrop on conversations taking place about you when you’re not around? How about the super power of microscopic vision?

Meet Rachel – a synesthete-Alpha, the most vulnerable of the Alphas with the ability to strengthen one of the five senses while leaving the other four useless, played by Azita Ghanizada (General Hospital: Night Shift).  Rachel’s powers are simply amazing, and she plays a large role in the investigations, yet she takes a back seat to her family.  Her current family drama surrounds their disagreement on arranged marriages. 

In the pilot, the Alphas help local law-enforcement officer Don Wilson (Callum Keith Rennie) solve the shooting of a federal prisoner locked inside a sealed interrogation room with no windows.  The investigation leads the team to the “The Ghost”, an Alpha with the power of persuasion via direct contact.  The extremist group known as “Red Flag” was also introduced as the main threat to the Alphas, and should return throughout the season as the Big Boss Trouble Maker.

The upcoming season promises to reveal more threats to the Alphas, and will test the Alphas loyalties to one another.

After only two episodes, I give Alphas the rating of SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out.  I was pleasantly surprised with the series start, and will definitely give a few more episodes a try before removing from my DVR.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? What do you think about Alphas? Has SyFy found another hit series?  Does it remind you of Heroes?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, click over to Amber’s review of TNT’s Falling Skies where Noah Wyle battles aliens and machines trying to protect our world’s children.  What are those spike things the aliens attach to the children’s spines?  YUCK! 

Come back next week for another quadruple special – Amber reviews the summer’s medical programs: TNT’s Hawthorne and USA’s Royal Pains, and I take on the summer cons: TNT’s Leverage and USA’s White Collar.   

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  Amber and I would love to chat with you!

Last, but certainly not least, did your favorite TV shows make the Emmy nomination categories?  Vote here for the 1st annual Tamberny awards.  Leave a comment by July 29th and you could win blog linkage on my special Tele-Tuesday Siskel and Ebert style Emmy breakdown where Amber and I promise to not agree!

 A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech