By David Gurney,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Grisly murders and a fab female role model in forensic show.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show revolves around the sobering subjects of death and human remains, but in general it keeps a light and quirky tone. The series also reinforces the importance of using teamwork and applied intelligence to solve complicated problems. Science and technology are highlighted in positive ways, too.
Positive Role Models
Bones is a brilliant and independent Ph.D., a strong female role model who uses her intellect to crack complicated puzzles. But she's far from perfect and has real trouble connecting with friends and co-workers on an emotional/personal level. She and her male partner works alongside each other as respected equals. The team also includes a good mix of personality types and ethnicities.
Violence & Scariness
Along with the typical hand-to-hand combat, wrestling, and close range shooting of a network cop show, the series lingers on gruesome corpses who have met their end in very graphic, specific ways.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flashes of lingerie, discussions of sex.
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A great deal of language, such as: "bitch," "ass," "pissed," and "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional celebratory alcohol drinking or casual cigarette use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that since this show is about a forensic anthropologist, many scenes show dead bodies -- some of which are quite grisly. Light sexual discussions take place both jokingly and seriously. Scenes feature fights, guns, and deaths. The characters' interpersonal relationships can get somewhat soap opera-like, but the tone is light overall.
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What's the Story?
Dr. Temperance \"Bones\" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a hotshot anthropologist who works at the Jeffersonian Institution and writes novels on the side. The character is based on real-life anthropologist and novelist Kathy Reichs; the character's name comes from Reich's novels. In each episode, the FBI turns to Bones and her team at the Jeffersonian to help analyze skeletal fragments of unidentified corpses.
Is It Any Good?
BONES premiered at a moment in television history when the procedural series reigned supreme. That's the genre of television where a simple investigative format is pumped full of unique characters and situations, although they mostly turn out to be cop-style shows with varying degrees of quality. Law & Order is the gold standard.
While Bones does not do much to innovate the format, it does have a unique advantage in its two lead characters, Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz), who share a classic will-they-won't-they banter that never gets old. It's where the acting and writing both shine. That same light tone is attempted throughout the series and even in some of the more absurd crimes investigated, but because the characters are less vivid, the jokes fall flat.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the gore associated with the many murders on the series. Does the show's lighter tone make it easier to take the scenes of dead bodies?
Is the potential for romance between Bones and Booth appropriate, given that they work together? What are the potential real-life issues involved in a workplace romance?
Families can talk about curiosity and perseverance. How are these character strengths demonstrated on the show?
- Premiere date: September 13, 2005
- Cast: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, John Francis Daly
- Networks: Fox, Syndicated, TNT
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: STEM
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Perseverance, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: December 16, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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