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Created by Hart Hanson and based very loosely on the life and writings of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, BONES is a series that is formulated of equal portions of crime solving science, humor and character driven storytelling. Of course, it is the series quirky sense of humor and character rich writing that has made BONES one of my favorite police procedurals currently airing on network television. While not a comedy per se, character based humor runs through every episode of BONES, and for my money, it is the series sense of humor that gives it real audience appeal. However, BONES does balance its sense of humor with the other elements, so it is never allowed to undermine the forensic science that is the nuts and bolts of the show’s weekly mystery.

While most police procedural series deal with fresh murder victims and corpses that tend to be intact, BONES strips away the flesh and blood of a crime, and places the investigation firmly in the hands of forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Given the unfortunate, but appropriate, nickname of "Bones," our forensic anthropologist works out of Washington’s Jeffersonian Institute on difficult cases brought to her by the FBI, where she and her team reconstruct crimes from the human remains that are literally little more that bones. For these difficult cases, Dr. Brennan is (for the lack of a better term) partnered with Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), that is, when the investigation requires her to deal with the living.

Other members of Dr. Brennan’s forensics team include Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), an artist who specializes forensic facial reconstruction, Dr. Jack Hodgins (T. J. Thyne) the resident entomologist, who is also an expert on spores and minerals. Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) is the Head of the Forensic Division at Jeffersonian Institute and a pathologist, who oversees the investigations. Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) is the psychologist assigned to Booth and Brennan by the FBI, who sometimes assists in their investigations by providing motive, psychological profiles and probative questions during interrogations. Michael Grant Terry, Carla Gallo, Ryan Cartwright, Pej Vahdat, Eugene Byrd portray the roster of rotating lab assistants that work with Brennan’s forensics team, as a result of the unfortunate departure of Zach Addy.

BONES: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON ($70) comes to Blu-ray in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were aired during year five: Harbingers In The Fountain, The Bond In The Boot, The Plain In The Prodigy, The Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, A Night At The Bones Museum, The Tough Man In The Tender Chicken, The Dwarf In The Dirt, The Foot In The Foreclosure, The Gamer In The Grease, The Goop On The Girl, The X In The File, The Proof In The Pudding, The Dentist In The Ditch, The Devil In The Details, The Bones On A Blue Line, The Parts In The Sum Of The Whole, The Death Of The Queen Bee, The Predator In The Pool, The Rocker In The Rinse Cycle, The Witch In The Wardrobe, The Boy With The Answer and The Beginning In The End.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all twenty-two episodes that comprise BONES: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentations contained in this Blu-ray set blow their 720p broadcast counterparts out of the water. Like other Fox Network shows appearing on Blu-ray, all of the artifacting and other peculiarities associated with the over-compressed network feed from my local cable company are nowhere to be seen on disc. In general, image sharpness and clarity, as well as fine detail and depth are all impressive. There is some mild softness that occurs from time to time, but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the presentations. Also, one will notice occasional digital blurring on close ups of actress Emily Deschanel, which mostly appear under her eyes as to conceal either wrinkles or puffiness. Colors usually appear bright, vibrant and fully saturated. Blacks are accurate and the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are usually just a fine for a television level production. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear very clean. Grain/noise is noticeable, but generally mild.

All of the episodes that comprise BONES: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. The episodes that comprise season five features only slightly better than typical television sound designs. Workmanlike, the episodes are fairly front-loaded, but nicely imaged. The rear channels offer modest reinforcement, with ambient sounds, as well as occasional active effects and musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is quite nice, especially where the musical component is concerned. Sound effects are reasonably convincing, but there isn’t that much action in these episodes to test one’s system anyway. The bass channel adds some weight. Dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English, French and Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Running Audio Commentaries have been included on the following episodes: The Proof In The Pudding and The Beginning In The End. Extended Versions of the following two episodes are also provided The Tough Man In The Tender Chicken and The X In The File. Featurettes and other programs include: The 100th Episode With Director David Boreanaz (seven minutes), The Bodies Of Bones (eleven minutes) and The Nunchuck Way (three minutes). Deleted Scenes and a Gag Reel close out the supplements.

Even after five seasons, BONES remains a humorous and highly enjoyable police procedural. The Blu-ray presentations blow broadcast out of the water. Recommended.


Bones: The Complete Fifth Season [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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