Bones: Yanks in the UK (season four, episodes one and two)


Rating 1½

Directed by Ian Toynton

Written by Hart Hanson and Karine Rosenthal, inspired by Kathy Reichs

Starring Emily Deschanel (Dr Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan), David Boreanaz (Special Agent Seeley Booth), Michaela Conlin (Angela Montenegro), Tamara Taylor (Dr Camille Saroyan), T J Thyne (Dr Jack Hodgins), John Francis Daley (Dr Lance Sweets), Eugene Byrd (Dr Clark Edison), Sean Blackmore (Grayson Barasa), Michael Brandon (Roger Frampton), Andrew Buchan (Dr Ian Wexler), Indira Varma (Inspector Cate Pritchard), David Yelland (Duke Gerard Bonham), Ben Righton (Harry Bonham), Jane How (Anne Bonham), Sheila Reid (Paige Bonham), Ty Glaser (Heather Miller), Tuppence Middleton (Vera Waterhouse), Ed Coleman (Cyril Bibby) and Nick Ellsworth (Jamison)

Forensic anthropologist Temperence Brennan and FBI special agent Seeley Booth are in England for a conference when they are called in to help to solve the murder of a young woman whose body is discovered floating in the River Thames, a case that points the finger of suspicion at members of the aristocracy.


This two-part story opened the fourth season of the popular Fox Network crime-drama series. Placing the two lead characters in London allowed the writers (including the show’s creator Hart Hanson) to run wild with every single British stereotype that seems to be so ingrained in American film and television. It doesn’t need to be especially realistic – the whole premise of ‘Bones’ is fairly ludicrous in the first place – but it could at least stop at being offensive.

There are far too many wrong turns here to list them all, but I'll mention a few at random. We get a joke stolen directly from the 1990 film ‘Three Men and a Little Lady’ when Booth finds himself driving an old Mini and complains about how small British cars are. The joke falls flat before it has even begun because he claims to have asked to rent an “Aston” and been misheard and given an “Austin”. Nobody calls an Aston Martin an “Aston”, car rental companies in Britain are not in the habit of supplying old defunct models, and Austin ceased to be a brand name back in 1987.

Some of the action takes place in London and some in Oxford, for no other reason, it would appear, than to show one of the University of Oxford colleges and to allow Brennan to set up a temporary forensic lab in a medieval building. However, nobody seems to have paid much attention to the fact that Oxford and London are two entirely separate places. I might also point out that not everyone speaks with a cut-glass accent (in fact, very few of us do), we are not all members of the aristocracy (support for the monarchy, although still strong, is declining), and we don’t all take our morning tea in huge banqueting halls. Also, the premise that Brennan and Booth would be allowed to take over the murder enquiry is ridiculous, as is the idea that the body of the murdered woman would be flown over to Washington for forensic tests. Believe it or not, we do have perfectly adequate facilities in this country. As for Booth being issued with a gun by Scotland Yard, the writers might like to know that we actually have gun laws over here and we don’t just dish out the firearms to all and sundry.

‘Bones’ is not a show I tune into very often – I largely gave up on it after the first season, although I have seen random episodes since then. I do quite enjoy it and generally speaking it is easy to watch. Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz work well together in the central roles, but the ‘science’ is often too far fetched for my liking and I found a sub-plot involving the characters Angela Montenegro and Jack Hodgins irritating in the extreme (the main reason I stopped watching in the first place). This storyline seems to have been brought to an abrupt end in the second of these two episodes in the most ludicrous manner.

‘Yanks in the UK’ is absolute nonsense, but I came away from it feeling less offended than perhaps I should have been. In the end, it really is far too silly to get unduly annoyed about.

Review posted 2 November 2009


No comments: