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Featured TV on DVD Review: Bones: Season Six

October 9th, 2011

Bones: Season Six - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

TV ratings are down, practically across the board. Not only are there a lot more options for TV viewing, with many cable networks making their own original programing, but people can watch TV online, on DVD, etc., and then there are people who have just stopped watching TV. So it is quite a shock when a TV show continues to gain audience members, especially after being on air for several years. But, that's exactly what Bones did last season. Its average number of viewers rose to 11.57 million per week, while its ranking hit 29th, the best in the show's six-year run so far. Season seven doesn't begin till the beginning of November, but the sixth season comes out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. The increase in ratings is a hopeful sign, but did the quality grow as well.

The Show

At the end of last season, the gang had split up. Booth goes back to Iraq to train troops. Bones and Daisy go to Indonesia to study early man. Hodgins and Angela travel to Paris together. While Sweets is on sabbatical playing the piano and re-thinking his priorities. Camie is the only one who stays behind. However, at the beginning of the season, she's in a bit of trouble, as she has a difficult case involving the body of a young boy and the political winds are blowing in such a way that if she doesn't solve the case, she will be fired. This is when the prosecutor, Caroline, pulls some strings and gets the team back together.

Some of the recurring storylines from the first half of the season include Booth's new girlfriend, Hannah Burley, a reporter he met in Iraq. At the beginning of the season when Booth returns to the States, she remains in Iraq, but quite quickly she follows and their relationship progresses rapidly. This has a large effect on Bones as well. There are changes in the relationship between Sweets and Daisy, who broke up at the end of last season, as well as Hodgins and Angela, who get unexpected news. Relatively early in the season, there's a return of an old recurring villain, which transitions into the new recurring villain for the season, neither of which I'm going to discuss.

As for the overall quality of the season, it does take a little while to reach its usual quality level. The gang coming back together was a little too fast and didn't seem organic and a couple of the early mysteries were a little too obvious or otherwise not engaging. (Also, some of the technology is just shy of magic, but that's a problem with a lot of modern police procedurals. I blame C.S.I..) On the other hand, there are several stand out episodes this season and the chemistry of the cast is as great as always.

Highlight episodes includes The Shallow in the Deep, which involves a slave ship found off the coast, but among the many ancient bodies, there's a new victim. In The Doctor in the Photo, Bones gets too attached to a murder victim with whom she has a number of similarities. I have no comment on The Bullet in the Brain, for reasons I mentioned previously. (The spoilers are too big here.) The Blackout in the Blizzard takes care of some of the magical tech by having a blackout and this forces the gang to resort to low tech solutions. The Finder is a backdoor pilot for the upcoming spin-off, and like many such shows, it suffers from introducing too many characters. I am intrigued about the new show, but not completely sold yet. It's not really a highlight of the season in terms of quality, it's one of the weakest episodes, but it is an important episode. The season does end on a high note; in fact, it ends on three high notes with The Signs in the Silence, The Hole in the Heart, and The Change in the Game all being among the best the season has to offer.

The Extras

There are no extras on the first disc, while disc two only has an audio commentary track for The Doctor in the Photo. The Blackout in the Blizzard has an audio commentary track and an eight-minute making of featurette. The final disc has outtakes and a 12-minute featurette on the special effects. There is also the pilot for The Killing, an unrelated show from AMC, which normally I consider not really a special feature, but an ad for another show. On the other hand, AMC is a cable network, so many people don't have it in their homes and this might be the best way to see the pilot, outside of buying the DVD when it comes out. Also, a couple of the episodes, The Daredevil in the Mold and The Bikini in the Soup, are extended versions.

I don't think there are any exclusives on the Blu-ray, but the video and audio are strong, for TV on DVD releases. The level of detail is strong, blacks are deep, colors pop, there are never issues with compression artifacts, etc. The audio is not very complex, but there's clear dialogue and some good ambient effects. The Blu-ray costs just $8 or 21% more than the DVD, which is a good deal for this type of release.

The Verdict

The weakest episode from Bones: Season Six is worth checking out, while most have high replay value and there are a couple that are among the best of the entire series. There are not a huge amount of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but there's enough to be worth picking up, with the latter being the better deal over the former.

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