“It’s not that hard to have chemistry with David Boreanaz,” chuckled Boreanaz’ Bones co-star Emily Deschanel when press spoke with her and Executive Producer Michael Peterson about the first half of their season 11 which premieres October 1.
That adorable comment is just one example of the goodies the actress and mother-of-two had to spill. While Deschanel has been the beautiful face of Bones for a decade, Peterson and his co-executive producer, Jonathan Collier, have been writing and producing Bones for over 80 of the 212 episodes. There’s a lot of good Bones-y mojo heading into season 11. The evidence is clear that the powers that be have been listening closely to what ardent fans love about Bones.
Deschanel and Peterson spilled about shaking things up, but getting back to basics in a genuine way. They spoke of unrivaled undercover episodes, an explosive mid-season finale, returning guest writers, and a myriad of challenging story arcs. Also to look forward to this season are a crossover with Sleepy Hollow and visits from major talents such as Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) and Kim Raver (24: Live Another Day). When we break it down by episode, all of our topics get covered and the juicy spills right out. Let’s get started.
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Back to the Basics Without Getting Complacent
Asked what will happen with Brennan and Booth’s relationship this season, Peterson assured us that giving Brennan and Booth as much shared screen time as possible was at the heart of the successful romantic crimedy. When Collier and Peterson took the helm, Deschanel’s co-star, David Boreanaz who plays Special Agent Seeley Booth told the two look back at the early seasons for the interactions between Brennan and Booth. Did they do it? “I did,” reported Peterson. “I watched them over and over and it was great.”
Peterson continued, saying, “When John Collier and I were handed this gift to be showrunners this year, we wanted to make sure that we shook things up so I think there are going to be many, many, major arcs. We don’t want to get complacent in the fact that Brennan and Booth are married and everyone’s coupled up. We want to challenge them but not in any artificial way. We want it to be character-lead. So we’re going to have lot of arcs for all the people this season.” He continued, “It’s been fun to rediscover those early seasons and have it reflect in this season.” More on that later.
Working With Hollywood Icons
Speaking about icons such as Cyndi Lauper and Betty White, Deschanel positively gushed. “These people who I adored from when I was much younger … it’s so much fun to get to meet these people. They don’t disappoint in terms of their kindness and their fascinating personalities. It’s been a great joy to have [Betty] on set. I hope we bring back Dr. Beth Mayer to be an intern. She’s amazing. It’s a dream come true working with her. She’s 93 years old and she came in and was so professional. She knew all her lines and she was just so lovely to talk to.”
Sharing the Screen With a Fellow Alumna
As for guest star Kim Raver and her role as an agent from internal affairs, Deschanel said she has been following Raver’s career since the beginning as both Deschanel and Raver share Boston University as their Alma Mater.
As for Raver’s character in the first two episodes of the season, Deschanel admits that having someone who doesn’t see Booth as an automatic hero was intriguing. “It was cool to have a character who challenges Booth’s and his motives and is really suspicious. It’s interesting to have a dynamic where somebody comes from a totally different perspective and we are almost, in a way, having to defend him, what he’s done, and the choices that he makes.”
How Does This Play Out in Each Episode?
Deschanel and Peterson had some specifics to share about 70 percent of the first half of the season. Keep in mind that episode order are always subject to change, but the general premises usually remain the same. Here’s what they were willing to share:
Episode 1, “The Loyalty in the Lie”: Domesticus Interruptus
Brennan and Booth begin the season six months after last season’s finale. Brennan is writing, Booth is teaching, and domestic bliss abounds until something tragic happens to disrupt everything.
Episode 2, “The Brother in the Basement”: Booth is Brennan’s Superman
“Brennan understands who she is better through this case. She belongs at the lab,” said Peterson. “Through discovering where she belongs, she also understands Booth better. Booth is this man of action.”
Deschanel and Peterson explained Brennan’s unique understanding of her husband. “We say it here internally that Booth [is] a little bit of Superman. Superman can’t just sit by and watch as people suffer, so there really is no retiring for him. By the end of the second episode Brennan understands that she belongs in the lab and that her Superman Booth belongs out there in the field saving people.”
While other wives or partners might have reacted differently to what goes down in the first two episodes of season 11, Brennan “understands him in a way that probably nobody else could. She understands who he is and she wouldn’t want him any other way.”
Episode 3, “The Donor in the Dark”: The Sweetness of Little Brothers
Asked if their personal experiences as second-time parents with a newborn would inform the storylines going forward, both Deschanel and Peterson admitted that having two versus one child is a whole different ball game. “Right away you’re going to see that,” said Peterson. “There’s a sweetness that comes especially in the third episode. In the beginning of the season we see the things you do when you have a little brother. Now Christine has that little brother, so there are some direct parallels [for Booth] and it works very well.”
Episode 4: A Twist Inspired By the Past
Peterson says that taking Boreanaz’ advice to study the early seasons gave him the idea for the fourth episode. “The Bones pilot talks a lot about the first book that Temperance Brennan writes and how it’s inspired by each of the characters on the show. That led to a fun storyline that is coming up in episode four where there’s a twist in Brennan’s latest novel that is a sharp departure, and it leads to some pretty good back and forth between Booth and Brennan.
Episode 5: A Big Bad Supernatural Monster?
Season 11 has some nefarious characters in store for voracious Bones viewers. Peterson and Deschanel revealed some tidbits about the first major big bad of the season.
“There’s the Sleepy Hollow episode which is an interesting version of the big bad. In that one we’re going to find two sets of remains. One of them is going to be very old and that’s going to be more of a big bad from the Sleepy Hollow universe. That’s going to be interesting in itself.”
Episode 9: Karine Rosenthal Returns to Write the Best Undercover Farce Ever
Deschanel spoke to great extent about filming her favorite undercover episode: “Double Trouble in the Panhandle,” where Buck and Wanda Moosejaw join the circus to solve the murder of Siamese twins.
“We will definitely be going undercover again this season, and I think it’s going to be so good that next year she’ll change her answer as far as what her favorite undercover episode was,” Peterson assured us.
“That’s a challenge, Michael,” Deschanel said.
Peterson backed up his bold pronouncement by elaborating, “We got a good one. One of our former writers, Karine Rosenthal (who wrote fan favorites, “The Woman in White,” “The Blackout in the Blizzard,” and “The Hero in the Hold,” among others) is coming in to guest-write for us and she’s fantastic. And it’s gonna be a different version of undercover than we’ve ever done before. It’s gonna be very playful and competitive, and unlike any undercover we’ve done before so we’re very excited.” So are we, Mr. Peterson.
Episode 10: An Explosion Rocks Hodgins, Angela, and Aubrey to the Core
“At episode 10 there will be a major shakeup,” teased Peterson, saying the big bad in this episode will be the biggest bad of the season. “I really don’t want to give too much away, but as I say, it’s going to affect Hodgins, Angela and Aubrey very, very directly … we’re going to start with a quite literal bang. That episode will be very interesting in how it will change the trajectory of the rest of the season.”
Bones premieres Thursday, October 1 at 8pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)