I’ve mostly stayed out of the fandom angst about a season eleven, for two reasons:
- I truly believe it’s going to happen.
- I can’t do anything about it if it doesn’t, and I try to reserve emotional angst for things I can control, or at least influence.
But yesterday, there was a minor meltdown over the title of the finale, and I thought it might be worth sharing my thoughts on it – not because I have any great wisdom or particular insight but because I’m all about being as happy as life lets us be, and if my thinking on any of this helps someone with that, that’s a good thing.
That said, I’m going to look at three things: why I think a season 11 is still likely, what I think is behind that finale title, and some thoughts about the show in general.
Why I’m Still Assuming We’ll See a Season Eleven:
I’m a control freak where being happy is concerned. I’m generally a positive person, not because life doesn’t occasionally kick me in the teeth (it has, it does, it will again) but because in my experience, focusing on the bad only makes it stronger.
Giving someone or something else the power to make us happy pretty much guarantees we never will be. Maybe they’ll come through, and that’s a big hurrah. But if I choose to be happy, or at least as happy as possible, it’s in my control. Thus, happy.
This means, among other things, that I don’t assume people are lying to me, or trying to mislead me as a default. Do I get lied to? Sure. But really, it’s their problem, and it’s not going to have any more power over me than that. (See? Control freak.)
So when Hart Hanson says this, I trust him:
“Negotiations are not simple or fast. I am confident Bones will return for an 11th season but it may take time. Patience!” (Twitter, Feb. 22, 2015)
Not that things can’t change, not that he can’t be wrong, but he knows far more about what’s going on than we do, and I don’t see any reason for him to mislead anyone. If it wasn’t looking good, I think he’d word his comments more neutrally. (That’s not his only positive comment about a renewal.)
When renewals are in doubt due to contract disputes, there’s almost always hints of that in the media. Comments about unhappy actors, or questioning the show’s value to the network, or whatever. With Bones, just the opposite has happened. The Fox executives made it clear in January that they wanted another season, and both Boreanaz and Deschanel have said they want to come back – Emily as recently as last week.
Plus? Not that much has changed for Fox since January. They’ve had one, huge, mind-blowing hit in Empire, but they still have a lot of slots on the schedule, and a lot of other shows in various stages of anemia, ratings-wise.
So…if everyone wants them to come back, why hasn’t it happened yet?
Just to be clear, I’m not an expert on Hollywood legal proceedings. Not remotely. But what I’m sure of is that legal contracts are messier to nail down than a lot of people assume. For starters, I suspect that there are dozens of details to be worked out, ranging from how much Boreanaz gets paid for any eps he might direct, to payment for residuals, to possibly even that the studio and network are two different entities. A lot of details and a lot of people, in other words.
Plus, there’s the issue of how it sounds like the process works – agents and representatives from the studio meet, the studio (or network?) makes an offer, the agent takes it back to the actor, who says, “this is fine, but then I want that, as well,” the agent goes back to the studio, tweaks are made to the contracts, then the whole thing starts all over again. And in the meantime, those meetings? They have to be scheduled by people and groups who all have other things going on.
(Again…much of this is speculation on my part. I’m making assumptions based on contract negotiations in other industries, and on what I’ve heard about Hollywood. But whatever points I might or might not be wrong about, I know for certain that it’s more complicated than a lot of fans are seeing.)
So if S11 is Still Likely, What’s with that Ominous Sounding Finale Title?
Yesterday, SpoilerTV broke the news that the season ten finale is titled “The End in the End,” and upset a lot of people.
I’m not one of them, but before I get to the why of that, I’ll note that the title is probably accurate. It’s not that the site couldn’t be wrong, or that the show might not change the title of the episode. But the past few years I’ve been keeping a list over at Bonesology of episode titles for each season as they come out (the current season is here) and about half those titles have come from SpoilerTV and they’ve generally been accurate.
Second, Stephen Nathan said this last week, in an interview with EW:
The finale’s gonna be a big game-changer for all of the characters. What we’re placed in the position of doing, since we didn’t get an official pickup for season 11—we fully expect that there will be a season 11. We could be deluded, but we hope there will be. But we couldn’t do the cliffhanger that we had planned. Because of this loyal and wonderful audience that we’ve had for 10 years, we couldn’t just end with a cliffhanger that wasn’t resolved. We had to resolve the series in some way, so we tried to resolve the series and keep it alive at the same time.
Hart’s been saying for years – and Stephen repeated this last November – that they need to know by Christmas if they’re writing a season finale or a show finale. They’re not going to write a cliffhanger and then have the show end on that.
However much everyone expects a S11, they didn’t have a contracts in hand, and they didn’t want to risk a cliffhanger and have something flaky happen. (I love them for that, for the respect it shows us as an audience.) So they wrote a finale that’s open-ended: it paves the way for another season, but also can serve as a series finale if necessary.
As to the title, I have no proof of this – it falls into the ‘Ryn’s idle, uninformed speculation’ category – but I think they’ve had it in mind for five years, and wanted to use it. It fits with 4×26 (The End in the Beginning), and 5×22 (The Beginning in the End) and to me, it’s part of a story cycle about Booth and Brennan as a couple, with this being about life after that happens. And yeah, they’ve been a couple now for four years, but …they still had that great title out there (again, awesome in terms of the S4 & S5 enders) and with S11 not yet contracted, they decided to use it, rather than risking not being able to do so.
Will the title have any meaning, then? Yeah, I think so. I think we’ll see something change, or end in some way, at least temporarily, which will set up a change for S11. But that doesn’t worry me, either. Why? Because to be Bones, the show has to be about Booth and Brennan, as a unit, solving crimes with their team. The particulars may change, but that won’t. So I’m content to wait and see the details.
But what if I’m wrong? What if this really is the last season?
I’ll miss it. A lot. Although I love all seasons of the show, I’ve been particularly happy with the last few, so yeah, I’ll be sad.
But the show’s not going to last forever. Even Emily, with her enthusiasm for S11, made it sound like she couldn’t see it going past that. Whether it’s this season or not, the moment will come where we’ll sit down to watch the very last episode, ever. And my heart will break a little bit.
But ten seasons is amazing in television and eleven is flat-out astonishing. In a few weeks, the show will be Fox’s most long-running drama. That’s a huge deal, and even while the thought of not having more eps to look forward to is depressing, I’ll be happy that we’ve had so many phenomenal seasons to enjoy and that I got to see so many years in the lives of these characters.
It never gets old to me that they’re together, married, raising a family. All those years of the fandom obsessing over the question of ‘will B&B get together?’ and we’ve now had four seasons of watching them as a couple. That will always thrill me, however much I’ll miss it when it ends.
(But I still think we’re getting a season eleven.)