In just over twenty-four hours, we’ll hear, ‘Previously on Bones…’ and will be off to the races for the final season of the show. I’ve been trying to come up with a sensible way of processing that, and mostly failing. So here are twelve completely random, mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the season twelve:
1. The word of the moment, for months now, has been ‘conflicted.’ The Brennan-part of my brain keeps saying, ‘Look. Twelve seasons. Twelve. That’s a freaking long time for a TV show,’ while the Booth-part of my heart is saying, ‘What? Wait! No, I’m not ready!’ (Yeah, okay, Brennan probably wouldn’t say ‘freaking’ but she would point out that we’ve received far more than we might reasonably have ever expected. You know she would.)
2. Try this one on for size: by the time we hear ‘what’s that mean?’ for the last time, we will have seen 246 episodes, enough that if you watched one episode a week, without any breaks, it would take you well over four years to go back through the series.
3. We not only got to see our ship together and married, seventy-four of those episodes came after this:
Seventy-four stories about what happened next. That’s mind-boggling. I remember taking Hart’s word for it when he promised the show wouldn’t end with the wedding, that there would be at least a few eps after that, but…seventy-freaking-four. (I lied. Apparently the word of the day is ‘freaking.’)
4. Am I going to miss the show? Damned straight I am. The characters are real people to me, and however fortunate I know we are to have gotten so many stories from their lives, I’m going to miss them. I’m also going to miss the fandom – not the trolls, no, but being part of something like this fandom? It’s pretty special. Our, um,
lunacy passionate loyalty has made us the envy of other showrunners.
5. Am I worried about the friendships I’ve made fading once the show’s over? Not the truly important ones. Fandom friendships are like anything else – if you only have that one thing in common, then when it ends, you drift apart. But if the fandom was just a jumping off point for how you found your tribe, and you no longer think first of the show when you think about them, they’ll remain your people. (I know this because some of my closest friendships grew out of the Stargate: SG-1 fandom. That show ended in 2007.)
6. One thing I’m not going to do is let my feelings about this being the end of Bones affect my enjoyment of these final twelve stories. That makes no sense to me at all. The writers, cast, and crew have worked so hard to bring us the best possible season, it would be a disservice to all of them if my focus is only on what it means for the show to be ending rather than what they’re giving us this season. (I don’t promise not to wobble some on this one as we get closer to the end.)
7. Similarly, I’m not going to focus on specific things I want to see in these next twelve episodes. People (including some entertainment sites that I think should know better) have been asking for a while now, ‘what do you want from the last season of Bones?’ That way lies madness to me. The more specific we are in what we want to see, the less latitude the writers have to tell the kinds of stories that we fell in love with in the first place.
8. I was going to make this a list of what I do hope to see, but I already did that, at the beginning of S11. It’s a pretty good list, so I’m not going to repeat myself. Spoiler alert: I want the show to continue to be the show.
9. One thing that made me giddy when I re-read that list was my comment about excusing the producers for things I’d like to see but which I didn’t view as being in their power, such as Stephen Fry returning. But he’s coming back, guys. The busiest man in show business is returning to the show. That wins the entire season for me, right there.
10. Related: the more they’ve talked about their plans for the season, the clearer it’s become that they’re trying really, really hard to give us a season that will satisfy the fans. The immediate problem there is that we don’t all want the same things. We don’t all watch for the same reasons, and yet, they’re trying to find ways to make the final season good for everyone. Let’s cut them some slack, huh?
Honestly, I didn’t care whether Zack came back or not, but I respect that many fans did, and thus choose to look at that story line with appreciation for what it means: the writers are trying to tell stories for everyone who enjoys the show, not just me. Whether I needed to see it or not, I’m grateful that they’re making the effort. We don’t get to control the stories, and wouldn’t enjoy them if we did. But it’s clear that we matter to showrunners, and that touches me.
11. Related, part two: No, Brennan’s not going to cheat on Booth with Sully. (Really not going to miss the trolls.)
12. What about those teases that this might not be the end of the show, that it could be revived at some point? The thought makes my eyes light up, and why not? Bones is a character-driven procedural, and as long as there are murders to investigate and stories to tell about the characters, I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Part of why the show’s made it to twelve seasons is because it’s an ensemble of complex characters, so yes, I think there are more stories there. We live in an age of reboots and revivals, after all.
Still, am I going to watch these twelve episodes focused on that? No. I’m going to assume the end is the end because to do otherwise strikes me as disservice to what they’ve tried to do this season.
But we’ll see what happens next. After all, the show already ‘ended’ once (Season 10’s The Next in the Last), and then came back for two more seasons.
Finally…dear Michael, Jonathan, Stephen, Hart, Kathy, David, Emily, TJ, Michaela, Tamara, John, and every single other person who works on the show: thank you for the years of joy, hope, and love.
Twelve more stories, guys. I can’t wait.