‘Bones’: Let’s go back to the lab

PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for questions has now passed. I’m sorting through them and sending them on to Hart. All questions will be considered. (Only the 50 most recent show up here.) Check back soon for the answers. Thanks.

Our next Q&A is with the “Bones” creative team — creator-showrunner Hart Hanson and executive producer Stephen Nathan, who just happen to be two of the funniest guys I know.

Bones With its smart characters, witty banter and playful take on solving the most gruesome of crimes, Fox’s “Bones” has become a must-see on Thursday nights, or any other night the network airs it. Over the course of four seasons, the “will they or won’t they” vibe that surrounds main characters Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan has been deftly handled — walking the line between interesting verbal foreplay and the audience’s demands to get on with it already — without losing any of the red-hot chemistry. With its eclectic cast of supporting characters, Bones is more complex and engaging than the average crime scene procedural — it’s proof that as the series has grown and matured, its payoffs are more satisfying.

The Season 4 finale is Thursday so it’s the perfect time to submit your questions.

Here are the guidelines:

1)    Hit the comment button below and ask your question by May 19.
2)    Please keep the questions about the creative process and don’t ask questions about future plotlines, which would never be revealed anyway.
3)    You may ask more than one question but we are looking for quality, not quantity. Asking more will not guarantee that you’ll get an answer. In the spirit of fairness, we try to give plenty of folks a chance.
4)    Read through the other comments to make sure you’re not repeating something that’s already been asked.
5)    Be clever and have fun.
6)    The person who asks the best question will receive a special prize to be determined.

— Posted by Kathy Lyford and Sara Farr

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  11. Brian says:

    Mr. Nathan you have experience as an actor. Would you act in one of the episodes you write?
    Mr. Hanson would you want to see Mr. Nathan in front of the camera? Now be honest…
    You guys are a great team!

  12. Jen says:

    1. I’m curious about the writing process as you put together the cases for the episodes. Do you create the method of death/body condition first (possibly based on an interesting/unique forensic technique in a forensic journal that you can then use to solve the case) or do you build the case first and then backtrack to create a body to match your desired scenario?
    2. Some the science lately has been incorrect or sometimes quite far off the mark (granted, most of your viewers would not catch the complexities of this, but you do tend to attract a science oriented crowd and we do catch the errors…). Do you use a scientific consultant on a regular basis and if so, what are the qualifications of your consultant?

  13. TV Watcher says:

    I have always enjoyed the cultural,ethnic and social diversity featured on Bones in both its cast and the plots of some episodes. How do you think this diversity adds to the show?

  14. penguin_from_pedro says:

    I’d just like to ask how the writers decided to have Zach become Gormogon’s assistant, and was that a hard decision to make?

  15. Jen says:

    It seems there’ve been changes in the characters this season,esp. Brennan and Booth.You’ve portrayed her as oblivious,sucking at interrogations,lacking empathy,unable to recognise basic facial expressions..when we most definitely know,from various examples from S1 and S2,mostly,but also S3,that she isn’t that way.It seems as though the woman in Woman in Limbo,Boy in a Bush,Stargazer,Secret it Soil and so on was just..somebody else.She used to be so multi-faceted and special-to quote B.Josephson from S1 DVD “a unique,special character that does not exist on television”.Where did that go?The goofiness you added in Booth hasn’t gone unnoticed either-and his cringe-worthy comments of victims as potato-chips(!) and other things.We were wondering where the great interrogator,compassionate,ready to kick ass to protect Brennan, and so on,Booth,had gone-until we discovered him back in Girl it Mask.All this has frustrated many fans,especially the older,loyal fans you say you respect so much…Was it done on purpose,for some reason we haven’t seen yet?Is there any chance we’ll get our beloved characters back,the way we got to know and love them?

  16. AngelBuffMel says:

    One thing I have really enjoyed about season four is how the crimes are used to spur character development. How do you develop murder cases to mirror the character issues? Which do you plan first?
    There has been some fan backlash in the past due to continuity discrepancies in some episodes. What kind of “fact checking” process do you use? Do you sometimes just choose to change the facts of the series for purposes of the story?
    What kind of input do the actors add to storylines and dialogue?

  17. CantBelieveI SaidThat says:

    1. Will the writers for Season 5 be the same as in season 4 or are some of them leaving or new ones coming on board? E.g. Are Chrsitopher Ambrose and Janet Tamaro still part of the writing team?
    2. This question has alreadey been asked but to show that people are really interested in that: will the tone of the show shift back a little towards drama (more like S 1 and S2)? I really like the comedy but I would also appreciate more serious episodes again.
    BTW: Thanks for the show!

  18. Quratulain says:

    Oh, minor correction to my post earlier today, putting the entire question again – with corrections:
    Hart/Stephen, Thank you for the last 2 great episodes of this season. I loved them. However I think the writing has changed a lot this year leading away from Drama/Comedy towards Comedy where it is hard for the audience to feel anything for the victims or the case. Any plans to address it so each case is humanized for the audience?
    Oh, nice work with the alarm clocks! You were right on all accounts, the ep is only for long time fans, fans will either hate it or love it and it was not a hallucination or a dream. Thank you for not lying or as Brennan would say mis representing the truth!

  19. Miraya Cantu says:

    Will the writers approach the writing process differently now that BONES has been picked up for 2 seasons instead of 1?

  20. Amber says:

    Would it be too much to ask to let Booth do his job properly? He doesn’t need any help to do so, let from alone Sweets.
    Remember Booth is the guy who reads people, can tell when people are lying, uses his gut. Remember the essence of the character that you created? You are doing a real disservice to Booth by letting other people do his job i.e Sweets and Brennan, interrogating suspects and figuring out the murderer.

  21. Quratulain says:

    Attention Admin: Why were my questions removed? They were not a repeat since they were among the first 10 posted here. Anyway, rephrasing my questions:
    Hart/Stephen, Thank you for 2 great episodes of this season. I loved them. However I think the writing has changed a lot this year leading away from Drama/Comedy towards Comedy where it is hard for the audience to feel anything for the victims or the case. Any plans to address it so each case is humanized for the audience?
    Oh, nice work with the alarm clocks! You were right on all accounts, the ep is only for long time fans, fans will either hate it or love it and it was not a hallucination or a dream. Thank you for not lying or as Brennan would say mis representing the truth!

  22. Lisa says:

    ‘Bones’ has some pretty enthusiastic fans. Do either of you “nerd out” for any show or movie?

  23. Lisa says:

    1) In a universe-bending turn of economic events, you are both forced to take jobs at the Jeffersonian. Which jobs are you actually qualified to do? Which would be your ideal? And who would you eat lunch with every day? (Plus, who would you run through Limbo to avoid?)
    2) TV production requires a fast turnaround, which can be constricting. If you could design your fantasy Bones production, what might you have added or subtracted from the past 4 years?
    3) From what we’ve seen of on-set footage, things seem pretty laid back behind the scenes. Can you share some examples of any frantic moments? And, are there any notorious pranksters or running gags on the set?
    Thank you!

  24. Deb says:

    This is the first show that I can remember that started out as one genre and developed into something completely opposite. When was it decided that the show would forego the drama in favor of goofball/wacky comedy? You still put forth a dramatic episode on occasion, but 90% of the shows this season and last were definitely more comedic in nature. And did you worry that fans who signed on to the show as a drama wouldn’t stick around for the change?

  25. Shrikha says:

    I HATE YOU.bones is life,you’d better rectify this.the last episode was WRONG.bones writers are always a surprise and better than possible,so do something fast

  26. holly says:

    i just really want to know if the whole alternate reality was booths dream or brennan’s story??
    i need to know

  27. SHAZ says:

    Like Stewie said I think you two ”need to grow a set” LOL. Either get Booth and Brennan together or don’t. Make a descision. But don’t mislead the fans into thinking they hooking up, it was just too cruel. Disappointing the B&B shippers isn’t a good move
    B&B are in their 30’s. They are adults. 4 years is long enough for two mature people to know that they like each other or not. Even teenagers do, scratch that, they act on their feelings. Lets bring a bit of realism into the B&B relationship.

  28. Tara says:

    Did you get cold feet? Fans want B&B naked in bed (FYI Emily wearing a black bra isn’t naked) not Mr.B&Bren. David & Emily on the cover of TVG,what a con. Hart you said ”no dream sequence,no undercover assignment,not even alcohol, they’re actually in bed having sex, they won’t be able to just walk away from what happened.It will have serious ramifications’ TVG. Hart E! solemn promise it’s not hallcination ‘we found out that sex is very closely related to having children’
    Can you see why the fans are mad?

  29. Petra says:

    Hmm, I was just wondering, where did Brennan meet Angela – and is Angela ACTUALLY aware of B&B love, or is just guessing? By the way, where did Parker disappear to? Isn’t he like going to school now, what did Booth decide at the end – public school or the private one?

  30. mary says:

    Are you taken a back the uproar of the S4 finale? Two finales in a row that the fans, the hardcore, loyal fans haven’t liked. Having the cast and crew promoting Booth and Brennan hooking up, telling the fans that they are hooking up, that there will be serious ramifications from it, saying to fans that it isn’t a dream, a hallucination, only for fans to discover it was-don’t expect positive feedback. Fans analyze your interviews and remember what they are told. Don’t use semantics to justify yourselves.

  31. Anja says:

    How long will the amnesia last?

  32. Zee says:

    I was wondering now that Booth last his memory about Bones if maybe he could have his smarts back. It would also be great to show some of Booths training as a FBI agent and sniper. I also always wondered if you really thought the FBI would handle a case the way you write them. Do you really think the FBI would set back and watch and let anyone in the field just for laughs. How and Why would the FBI give the information they have to a lab at a museum?

  33. Jacey Martinez says:

    How much research do you do for each episode about the forensics involved with each murder? have you ever had any experience in forensics or any affiliation with the FBI or military? How much of booths ideals about america and patriotism paralell your own? In dealing with Brennans past how much of her personality have you based on the psychological information gathered from actual foster children?

  34. Greekie says:

    1)Have you determined yet how you will end the series or your plans are not that far ahead?
    2)Do you ever read viewers opinions in the official forum and/or in other websites? If the answer is yes, those opinions affect upcoming plots even in the slightest way?

  35. Jolene Aguilar says:

    Thank you so much for this last episode! I want to thank everyone involved! I love this show and cannot wait for it to start up again in the fall.
    Hart Hanson: As your position as writer, what were you trying to portray in the season 4 finale? I know what I saw, what were you trying to say?
    Everyone wants to know is Zach coming back?

  36. Tracy Mc. says:

    How involved is Kathy Reichs in the story lines and plot development? Is she involved in any character development, particularly the characters of Booth and Bones?
    I’m hoping for a season 5 and hoping that B & B will finally admit and give in to their feelings for one another rather than dance around the issue. They have great chemistry and I don’t think letting them have a love relationship would ruin anything, in fact it could enhance the show in many ways and add to the plot from a compleletly different angle.

  37. chubbybadass says:

    When you get together with your writers to create each episode do you create them one by one or have them framed into a timeline (so that you know the gist of where you want the characters to go?)
    Do the actors interact with the writers to attain more of a “true” character so they can become more believable? Or do writers take the reigns and the actors just go with what they get?
    As the creator do you fear a relationship betwen Booth & Brennan? Others have mentioned shows that have gotten their leads together as detrimental or great. But personally, as the creator of the show do you yourself fear your leads getting together? Or would you like to eventually see them end up together?
    (I personally loved the season finale so congratulations. I can’t wait till the show starts back up again in September.)

  38. Maggie says:

    How do you deal with the constant leaks of spoilers? Does that encourage you to change things last minute or keep more details to yourself until later in the scriptwriting process? Do your fans reactions to those spoilers affect your thought process?

  39. Shereen says:

    Will there be any attempts to pit Daisy and Sweets against Bones and Booth soon, in a “couples” sense?

  40. MaryMc says:

    I love Angela and I love Sweets, and I love finding out more about their individual histories. Can we expect to learn any more in season five about the new facts about their pasts we discovered in season four?
    And will B&B be doing any more globetrotting in the near future?
    Mary, Ireland.

  41. T.A. says:

    I was wondering if there is any possible way that Eric Millegan (Zac) will be returning as a regular…If I am not mistaken in the finale his name was not mentioned with the guest stars but with the regulars.

  42. Alexa Quinn says:

    My question is more of a comment: Please dont make the i-dont-remember-anything line on booth for more than 5 episode because this show mainly relies on booth and brennan’s chemistry. If you ride the wave too long it eventually crashes. Bones is my favorite show and i dont want to see it go down in flame. Please take my advice into consideration.

  43. Cristina B says:

    Greetings from Italy! (please pardon my English).
    Now that we saw the season finale, it seems that Booth’s condition and Brennan’s inner acknowledgment of her feelings for him, rather than the “naked in bed togehter” thing, will be the key elements leading to a change in the relationship between the two characters. How long are you going to exploit these HUGE elements delivered in the finale during next season? Should we expect a whole new kind of chemistry?

  44. Mary says:

    Dr. Tmperance Brennan aka Joy Keenan has so many names I feel it only feeds into her identity issues. I understand that every facet of her life she has a different persona, but when she is alone dealing with her own inner momologue how does she think of herself? Is she Bren, Brennan, Tempe, Temperance, Doctor, Bones, or for that matter Joy?

  45. Maria says:

    As the series progresses, do you find it difficult to find new and interesting ways to involve the scientific part of Bones into the episode’s plot? What are some of your sources and how do they play a part in the writing process?
    Are there some lines that you feel cannot be crossed through the development and growth of the show, and if so, what are they?
    Because the characters of Bones are so lifelike, do you sometimes find it difficult to keep within the character’s frame, and how has their development as a character throughout the seasons helped or hindered the writing process?
    How much of the writing is limited by the actors’ schedules, particularly those of guest and recurring roles?
    Bones fans are known for being very vocal and dedicated. How does their input influence the direction of the show?
    In what way has the network made a significant impact on the show, in an episode by episode basis as well as an the show as a whole?

  46. Hannah says:

    What does the title of the last episode (The End in the Beginning) mean? What significance does it have?

  47. Mariana Reys says:

    Like others, I agree that this season was weird, with only, maybe, 5 really great episodes, maximum. Characters were out of character, a lot of episodes without B&B moments. I also agree that it’s not cool to tell people that something it’s gonna to happened but it doesn’t. It’s seems that the writers were lost this season. I don’t understand this fear to put B&B in a relationship, you guys have great characters and great actors that have this incredible chemistry that I never saw, they can make everithing works. Have faith in your people, and respect the audience…. my question: in the beginning of a season, you guys already know what it’s gonna happen in the entire season? the audience opinion makes diference??, like, you guys make some change because of the audience opinion??

  48. Robert Modean says:

    Question for Hart Hanson. What was the thought process that got us the season finale script? The alternate universe part of the story re: Brennan’s creationg, was wonderfully done and provided us with a great deal of insight into her character and how she feels about Booth, love, etc. That was all well and good, but after doing all that why go with amnesia? It’s the possibly one of the most overused and least original plot devices out there (leaving him in a coma would have been number one).
    I guess I’m asking why amnesia? There are a dozen different things I can think of that would have given us a Season Five filled with angst, drama, and steamy lovin’, and none of them involved Booth having amnesia.

  49. Marissa says:

    A question for Hart Hanson: From a writer’s perspective, I’m curious as to how you approach character development when writing an episode. Unlike a novel, each episode is just a snapshot of sorts, so we as an audience have to assume that the characters’ lives progress beyond what we see onscreen. For example, in the four days that Booth was in a coma, Brennan was likely faced with deep emotional trauma at the prospect of his never waking up. Thus, in general, how do you handle communicating to the audience how a character may have developed due to the passage of time or something the audience did not get to witness?

  50. Jennifer says:

    Just wondering what Hart must be feeling in response to the strong emotions he has sent the fans into…they seem to be very good or very negative. I’m imagining him like the supreme justice in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, who sits quietly amused while everyone goes crazy and won’t stop to listen to the cries for order.

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