When a show first launches, nobody’s ever really sure if it’ll get canceled after just a few episodes, or, in the case of Bones, power through 12 straight seasons and end up becoming Fox’s longest-running drama ever.
“What is it about this show that made it last so long?” asked Alex Hughes, VP integrated creative and strategy at Fox Special Ops, who produced the spot. And that’s what Back to the Lab: A Bones Retrospective seeks to answer by highlighting key ways in which the characters have resonated with the audience, while tugging at more than a few heartstrings in a trip down memory lane.
The season finale airs Tuesday, March 28, at 9/8 c.
Featuring interviews with crew and cast members, including Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, the spot goes behind the scenes on everything from the creation of the pilot to breaking down the set.
It also delves into many of the show’s themes, including the balance of humor and gore, the power of three strong female characters and their friendship, and the romantic relationships between characters.
At nearly 22 minutes, the spot has been airing on more than 80 local Fox affiliates and cable providers, and has been distributed on major streaming portals including YouTube, with clips splattered throughout social media. The piece will likely run continue to run as an evergreen spot after the series ends.
The retrospective is a reflection of the last 12 years that “goes back in a deeper way” to examine the elements that have given Bones such staying power. It boils down to three components that have kept the show relatable and continue to resonate with fans on the basic, everyday levels of love, work and family.
First, the chemistry, particularly between Deschanel’s Temperance Brennan and Boreanaz’s Seeley Booth, which kicked things off right and blossomed over the course of 246 episodes.
“That’s what got people in and kept them around,” Hughes said.
Second, the characters’ respective expertise highlights people who are great at their jobs—the best in their field—and who enjoy the work they do but are still flawed.
And third is the component of friendship, especially between the show’s three women, and the feeling of family between all the show’s characters.
“If we wanted drama, another crazy serial killer would appear,” says producer Karine Rosenthal in the spot. “But we weren’t going to create the drama by damaging the relationships between our characters.”
That family dynamic also extends off-screen.
“However close the characters seem, in real life it’s so much deeper,” says TJ Thyne (Jack Hodgins) in the retrospective.
And that emotional farewell is felt by the viewers as well.
“After 12 years, these characters feel like friends to a lot of people,” Hughes said.
As the series ends, the retrospective serves as a companion piece to the final episode, reaching out to the loyal fans who have stuck around for more than a decade, and welcoming back those who may have dropped off along the way.
“It was designed as a goodbye,” Hughes said. “A parting piece. That one extra step of closure.”
Executive Producers: Dean Norris, Shannon Ryan, Angela Courtin
Produced By: Alex C. Hughes
Edited By: Kent Savarese, Markus Hoffmann, Paul Jensen, Dylan Way, Ruth Cooper
Camera and Audio: Kristy Tully, Marcus Thomas, Jon Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Francis, Rodney Hidalgo
Drone Work: Dragonfly Visuals
Hair and Makeup: Brandi Mascorro
Graphics: Ian MacRitchie, Danielle Goodman, Jesse Hallas, David Miramontes, Gabe Espinoza, Shannon M. Maher, Jean Sportelli, Erin Strack, Isaiah Scales
Sound Mixers: Chuck Hogan, Laurent Tardy, Zech Hogan
Production and Operations: Flory Litchfield, Sarah Yoo, Segio Michel, Andrew Friedman, Tiffany Loving, George Ghosen Jr.
Publicity and Social: Tamara Hovsepian, Jenny Driessen