Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bone dry

Title: Bones to Ashes
Author: Kathy Reichs
Bookmark: i don't remember. maybe a grocery list.

I frequently have arguments with people about the TV show Bones. I hated the pilot, and I thought the writing was terrible. Since then, I've started watching it more because it was one of the channels I got, and it provides background noise for the nights when I need to make cookies. The characters are all over-stereotyped caricatures of geeks, and Brennan somehow knows everything (including martial arts and uncannily good firearms skills) but has no social skills whatsoever (despite knowing every arcane bit of anthropological trivia ever written). She's what happens when TV or movie people want to make a tough-guy geek, and end up making a tough guy who's too nerdy to tolerate. There are better ways to make tough smart people (see: Red Planet, Spider-Man, or Flightplan for examples). The short version of this rant is: the TV Brennan is an affront to nerds, and not a quality character.

And yet, I still like her more than the book version, who only has her forensics degree and a manic sister to sustain her.

She finds a set of bones that she thinks might belong to her childhood friend who randomly disappeared one summer, spends the rest of the book trying to figure out whose bones they are, what happened to her buddy, what common link connects a string of bodies her sort-of-ex-lover is investigating, and whether he still has a love jones for her.

I didn't feel like I had to force myself to finish--it's a good enough diversion book--but I think I could have taken the book back to the library and forgotten about it at any point without ever wondering, "gee, what happened?"



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posted by reyn at 6:09 PM


Blogger Elizabeth said...

But if the television Bones is an affront to nerds, how come this nerd likes her so much?!

Sure, some of the supporting characters are caricatures, but supporting characters nearly always are. Bones and Booth, however, have always struck me as remarkably warm and real. They're certainly far more likeable than characters on CSI or any of its numerous rip-offs.

I don't understand your criticism that Brennan as a "tough guy too nerdy to tolerate." How is she too nerdy? Too tough? And if you substitute "being an asshole" for nerdiness, how is she any different than other larger-than-life figure on television, such as House?

Hell, I just like the girl. She's tough and smart, and I enjoy watching her kick ass. I just hope the show doesn't go down the X-Files path, and get too mired down in conspiracy theories and melodrama.

9/30/2008 7:28 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I have to agree with Reyn on this one. A coworker recommended Bones because my boyfriend and I are so hooked on NCIS. We forced ourselves through the first disk of season one (4 episodes?) and couldn't take it anymore. Crappy writing, horrible caricatures, bleh. I found Angela particularly irritating.

10/01/2008 2:53 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh well, guess I can't win them all! Reyn, we're 1-1 when it comes to winning Kate's good opinion. She's like the Sandra Day O'Connor of book reviews!

10/01/2008 6:43 PM  
Blogger ket said...

I guess it's time for me to chime in. I enjoyed the books before there was a TV series, perhaps because I think the subject matter is fascinating (remember, I read books about cholera for fun...). And the series, which has very little in common with the books, is fun for the same reasons. Really, I just want to have her job/life, in either incarnation.

Incidentally, kate, the later seasons are way better than the first few episodes.

10/03/2008 11:09 AM  
Blogger reyn said...

I wondered how long it would take for you to chime in.

It's also only fair to point out that the book I read comes pretty late in the series. There's a chance that there was a slight degradation in quality over time. And while I wasn't impressed with the BookBrennan character, I'm always intrigued by good science and mystery.

Also, I liked the description of her defleshinator machine. Very gross. Well done.

10/03/2008 11:13 AM  

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