I have never been a fan of television. I’ve preferred books, always. The TV shows I’ve enjoyed usually have an information-rich quality to them.
Recently, in the Netflix age, I began binge-watching ‘Bones’. It’s a series with a brilliant forensic anthropologist as its lead. She’s the foremost expert in the world in her field, and she knows it. She is teamed up with an empathetic FBI agent, and together they solve perplexing crimes. Rallied to the cause, is a group of super nerds, equipped with state-of-the art technology in the Jeffersonian, a prestigious Washington D.C. medico-legal laboratory. There’s a nerdy botanist/chemist/entomologist, a talented artist cum computer savant, an impressive coroner, and a freakishly smart group of interns.
Each episode pays spectacular attention to detail, each frame is rich with specifics, and the 40 minutes are held in a taut, fast-paced narrative. You come out of each episode appreciative of the realism that is conveyed, even when the events seem bizarre and often feature chilling murders, and grotesque criminals.
Through all this, there is a back story to each of the lead characters. It plays out naturally, like the white noise from an air conditioner, without too many jarring peaks or troughs. It does depict tragedy, heartache, devastation, pain and loss, true to portraying real life, but it does not overpower the scientific temper of the show, nor its tight focus on the interplay between the skills of the characters.
#Bones ran for 12 seasons, a rare feat for a series. When I finished the last episode, it was as if I lost a friend.
In comparison, Grey’s Anatomy similarly, had a really long run. I began watching it a few years ago, in anticipation of the medical theme of the show. I liked all things Biology and felt drawn to the terminology, the techniques, the discussions. But a few seasons in, the medicine took a backseat to the personal drama of the characters. In a few short seasons, characters were routinely dying, being killed, thrown out of airplanes, involved in mass shootings, without any signs of catching a break. In other words, it became too Shonda Rhimesy. I let go.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting one’s choice of a TV show can be used to draw up a psychological profile. But it got me thinking as to why I enjoyed one show and discarded the other, which was a far bigger commercial hit, with more characters becoming pop culture references.
Maybe it says something about me. A preference for logic, analysis, realism, and an impatience with melodrama, pulp, and incredulity. Maybe my conclusions are flawed.