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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 9/13/05

Fox's new forensic crime drama airing Tuesdays at 8 pm, attempts to take its place in the long list of successful dramas available for viewing almost every night. Amid a sea of CSI's, Law and Order's, and real crime dramas - not to mention other new series trying their spin on the now-familiar formula, can Bones make a name for itself?

Clearly the show's creators realize that there is still a strong desire to see formulaic drama with a sizable dose of forensics, and mystery, but the challenge is how to present a show similar enough to the existing competition, but distinctive enough to keep people watching it instead of the others?

One way is to pair a FBI detective with a forensic anthropologist and turn them loose on the bad guys. Agent Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz of Angel and Buffy fame, is a straight-laced detective who puts solving crimes above all else. Temperance Brennan, a.k.a. Bones, is a forensic anthropologist who recently published a mystery book, played by Emily Deschanel. Having been orphaned as a teenager when her parents disappeared gives her a passion about crime solving that most scientists would lack. Though her expertise is in the laboratory she prefers to be in the field, allowing her extra insight on her bodies before they get to the lab.

Booth, a former military sharp shooter, balances her naivety in the field with the gravity of a seasoned agent. Brennan's scientific team, played by Eric Millegan, T.J. Thyne, Michaela Conlin and Jonathan Adams, bring a combination of high-tech gadgets and obscure knowledge to the table.

The dialog is more witty than most shows of this genre, and there is some chemistry between Booth and Brennan. It will be interesting to see if they can keep this without exploiting it by allowing a potential romantic link to take away from the crimes they are solving. The jabs between Booth and the scientific team add a layer to the show, as does the obvious empathy Brennan feels for her victim's families. She is able to tell these families where there loved ones are, something she longs to know about her family. Brennan's past will likely rear its head in future episodes.

Bones debuted last week with great ratings, but one has to wonder how it will do this week opposite the NCIS season premiere. While CBS's shows tend to appeal to older audiences, there will definitely be some overlap between these two shows - attractive, wry male lead with a strong supporting cast, and a pairing of science, technology, bad guys and whodunits. Brennan's strong female lead stands out, and audiences will be drawn to her strong scientific abilities balanced by her lacking social skills. While it's great to see a female scientist in a lead role in such a show, it'd be nice to see one with better social senses.

I suspect Angel fans will be split in their reviews of Bones. There are a few distinct differences between Angel and Bones. For one, the bad guys are rather dull by comparison - all human. And the dialogue is not quite up to Joss Whedon's grade.

On its own Bones is a good show and will appeal to viewers that crave another formulaic show that will always end with the bad guy in custody. For Angel fans going through Whedon-withdrawal, you're better off getting your fix from the Angel DVD's which you can buy here.

Sharon Goodson

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