As unsubtle as a hammer to a skull, Fox’s new series Bones works double time to establish the character of Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel). She’s a D.C.-based scientist famed for discerning the identities of skeletal remains. And she’s a badass: In the pilot, she brings no fewer than four men to their knees. (That none of these men, in the end, actually pose a threat is handily ignored.) Brennan, being a woman-scientist-doctor type, is also chilly and damaged. We know this because she says things like ”My most meaningful relationships are with dead people” and because her parents vanished when she was 15, leading her to a career of giving closure to the dead.
Check, check, and triple check. Yes, we’ve got ourselves a pretty standard Crossing Jordan/CSI-style framework. Inspired by real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs (although fans of author Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series will see appealing similarities), Bones is, thankfully, better than its skeleton. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Deschanel (Boogeyman), with her husky voice and a face from a Victorian locket, has an earthiness that pairs perfectly with Angel’s David Boreanaz, playing jovial FBI agent Seeley Booth. Deschanel and Boreanaz banter across D.C. — by car, by foot, by car, and then by foot after an argument — and stir up great pollen clouds of pungent chemistry. If Bones holds up, it’ll be because that old Sam-and-Diane, Maddie-and-David, Mulder-and-Scully opposites-attract stuff never feels standard when it’s done right.