The salient points of today’s Fox executive panel for Bones at the TCAs:
- They’re negotiating season ten and expect it to return. Since Kevin Reilly (Fox president) noted that twenty-two ep seasons work well with the show, it seems reasonable to hope for that.
- They’re anticipating it will be the show’s last season
- With Hart focused on Backstrom, Stephen Nathan will take over as showrunner.
Truth: I tend to be a positive person. I wasn’t always, but at some point, I remember realizing that the people around me who focused on the positive whenever possible and didn’t worry about things they couldn’t control were a lot happier than I was, even if their lives truly sucked.
If I can change something I will; if I can’t, and it’s going to be what it is, I might as well spend my time enjoying the good things than being upset over the rest. I know not everyone shares that particular philosophy, but it does influence what I’m going to say here.
In terms of season ten being the last one? That does make me a little sad, or would, if I didn’t know that nothing lasts forever, that ten seasons is flat-out remarkable for a TV show, and, oh, yeah, the end is still a full season and a half a way. So I’m going to do what I’ve been doing, and enjoy every episode between now and then.
But what about the change in leadership? What if I don’t enjoy them?
The negative reactions to Stephen taking over the show are sort of a headscratcher for me.
I’m not going to pretend to know things I don’t, and thus won’t claim to know exactly what will be different for the show next season. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say, ‘not much.’
Professional writing interests me. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish an original novel of my own, but I’ve been listening to writers talk about their process and experiences for over a decade now, meaning I pay attention to everything Hart or Stephen or Dean or any of the others say about how it all works.
It’s true that there’s not a lot to go on – I can’t point to specific things and say, ‘this was Hart’s contribution, whereas that was Stephen’s’ (well, beyond specific eps, which I’ll get to in a moment.) But I can say that my sense is that neither Hart nor Stephen spend their days in the writers’ room, and that the big arcs of the past few seasons have been largely collaborative. (Whatever you’ve hated, or loved, passionately in the past few seasons was probably not all Hart’s idea, nor all Stephen’s, as far as I can tell.)
Hart started stepping back from the show in some ways in season five. That spring was when he spent several weeks in Chicago filming a pilot that wasn’t picked up. I don’t remember now exactly where the show was in terms of production, but I remember tweets and comments about phone calls back and forth and leaving Stephen in charge.
During season six, he was writing and supervising the filming of The Finder, and again, while he continued to tweet about Bones (I remember in particular the comments he made when he read the script for The Doctor in the Photo) much of his focus was on the other show.
That continued through Bones’ season seven, during The Finder’s short run. He had two shows going at once, and while it seemed clear he was still involved with Bones, he wasn’t handling the day-to-day stuff. And also? In January of that year (2012), he was sidelined by health issues stemming from a motorcycle accident.
In season eight, he was writing the pilot for Backstrom and then prepping it, and then began work on The Good Thief’s Guide (which he was busy with last fall, and which, as far as I know could still result in another show for him to manage.) Plus? This year? He had some more medical issues this fall.
I’m not saying that he’s not continued to have an influence on the show, not at all. But then, I’ve not heard anyone say that he won’t continue to have a voice on Bones, either. Hart said last year that they knew where the show was going through season ten, so in a big picture sense, I’m assuming that’s where they’re still going, and that the day-to-day business of getting there will go pretty much the same way it has the past few years.
(And if they have a plan for season ten that Hart was part of, why would Stephen abandon it just because Hart’s no longer the chief dude?)
I like the story that Hart and Stephen have been telling, and I see nothing in any of this to make me think that that story will suddenly change. If Stephen was new and hadn’t been part of the story from the very beginning (in season one, he wrote The Man in the SUV, Two Bodies in the Lab, and The Solider on the Grave), perhaps I’d feel differently. But he’s not. He knows the characters and story as well as Hart does.
Some of the other episodes he’s written are Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House (why have I never noticed before that the foodie is responsible for the fandom’s obsession with mac and cheese?), The Critic in the Cabernet, The Boy with the Answer, The Couple in the Cave, The Memories in the Shallow Grave, and The Patriot in Purgatory. He co-wrote, with Hart, The Pain in the Heart, (hey! It rhymes!), The Beginning in the End, The Change in the Game, The Future in the Past and The Secrets in the Proposal. With Janet Lin, he co-wrote The Signs in the Silence, and he and Jonathan Collier co-wrote The Secret in the Siege.
Many of my personal favorites are on that list.
As I said, I don’t know for sure exactly what will change, if anything. But my sense is that for several years, Stephen has been steering the ship according to the map he and Hart plotted out, and why would he change that now, even if he could?
Part of me is sad that Hart won’t be as involved in the last season, (particularly since I’m curious about something he said a few years ago concerning a scene he wrote for the end of the show way back in season two. Is that still part of the end they’ve plotted out? Or has the show diverged from that story now?)
But I’m glad for Hart that he has another project (I’ve enjoyed his writing since the ep he wrote for Stargate SG-1, and will be watching Backstrom) and I’m absolutely convinced that Bones will continue to be all that I’ve loved.
Yay, season ten! Go, Team!Bones!