This upcoming season of the hit Fox series Bones will be its 10th, which is a milestone most shows will never achieve, let alone do so while still feeling fresh and like there’s still so much further to go. After the events of Season 9, there will be huge ramifications that everyone will be dealing with, testing Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) more than ever before.
While at Comic-Con, showrunner Stephen Nathan talked to press at a roundtable interview about what to expect from Season 10, where they’ll be picking back up, where things are at with the team at the Jeffersonian, that Hodgins (TJ Thyne) will feature more prominently, that there will still be some humor, keeping things fresh after a decade, and that, even though they haven’t been renewed for further seasons yet, everyone wants to return. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
STEPHEN NATHAN: Well, we’re going into a decade now. We’re really going to be picking up where we left off. What happened at the end of Season 9 was probably the biggest finale we’ve ever had. There are huge ramifications from that, not only practically, with where they’re going to live and what’s going to happen, but emotionally. Here are two characters that have spent the previous seven or eight years coming together as a couple, and now they’ve been torn apart again. So, it’s really yet another test of the strength of this relationship. Also, it’s probably the greatest test they’ve had. Booth has never been in a situation like this. Even though he’s been in war zones and people have tried to kill him in the course of investigations, he has never been betrayed an institution that he not only trusted, but has risked his life for. So, the betrayal that he’s contending with now is far greater than anything he’s had to deal with, as a sniper, as somebody in the military, or as somebody in the FBI. He doesn’t know what the next move is. He doesn’t know who to trust. He doesn’t know what’s in store for him, when he gets out. Also, there is a huge conspiracy, for lack of a better word, that is ongoing and that wants him gone and that wants this investigation terminated. Brennan has to deal with all of that. She’s been working tirelessly for the four months that Booth has been in prison.
Where exactly are you picking up?
NATHAN: We will pick the show up at a point where there has finally been a break. Brennan and the squints, with Caroline’s help and with Sweets’ help, and all of the information that they’ve uncovered off of the chip that they got, at the end of last season, has led them to a break in the case and, of course because it’s Bones, a dead body. It’s a delightfully decomposed deceased person that has the potential to unravel what has been going on for decades. That’s where we pick it up. Brennan and the squints are diving into this. All of the information has been compiled by Angela, and we will now see the results of that. How do we get Booth out? How can Booth help? Where is Booth at? Is he able to help? How much damage has been done? There’s a lot to put back together, and far more than just a house.
NATHAN: I think there’s no real dispute about who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. Although they don’t know who the bad guys are, they know that there’s an entity which they must rid themselves of. I wouldn’t say it’s a conflict, but we’ve known Hodgins for going on 10 years, and for a conspiracy theorist who has been dismissed for the past nine years, to start Season 10 with a confirmation that there’s a conspiracy, it’s Christmas morning for Hodgins. To resolve this is a mission, not only for Hodgins, but for everybody.
Will Hodgins feature more prominently, this season?
NATHAN: His character will be pretty paramount in these first few episodes. Bones will always be Bones. We will go back to the show that everybody wants. We’re still going to be solving murders every week. But, we have to get passed a huge hurdle here. Hodgins’ help is going to be invaluable for that.
Will there still be some humor, even with all of the seriousness?
NATHAN: We ended the last season a little darker than we usually do, but we’ve done that before. What happens when you go for 10 years is that the show becomes more mature and more real, in a sense. No one’s life is all dark, or all funny. We go through this being taken into a dark place, but there is always humor, no matter how dark it is. And then, we’ll come out of it. What we’re planning this year is going to have a lot of humor and a lot of things that the audience expects and wants. They’ll be going undercover. They’ll be in situations that are truly bizarre. There will be fake psychics and real psychics.
We hope to see Cyndi Lauper again. Cyndi is a little busy, but we’re trying to work out that schedule. We want to bring back all of those members of the family, including Billy Gibbons. We’re also adding a recurring character in the FBI this year. The Jeffersonian has been well-serviced by our revolving interns, so we’re adding a little bit more to the FBI, who’s someone for Booth and Sweets and Caroline to deal with there. It’s someone who is far more confident than anyone we’ve seen in that situation. Whether the confidence is all well-placed or not, we’ll find out, but it’s someone great to give to Booth. It will give us a little more humor there.
Will Booth wonder if the FBI is the right place for him?
NATHAN: Booth will go back to work, but how he goes back to work, when he goes back to work and the circumstances with which he goes back to work are all up for grabs, when we start. It’s going to take awhile for that part of the Bones world to become comfortable with itself again. But, that’s not to say that there’s isn’t humor. There’s enough absurdity in their circumstance to keep that alive, as well.
As a producer, how hard it is to keep the show fresh after nine seasons, going into the tenth season?
NATHAN: If you had asked me that nine or 10 years ago, I would say that it’s impossible and that there’s no way to keep a show going for 10 years. The only thing I can say now is that the show still feels fresh and the characters are fresh. We’re not bored with it. As long as we’re not bored, those characters take us in directions that hopefully will surprise us. As long as we’re surprised and as long as we don’t sit there and say, “The show has to be this, and we can’t veer from this trajectory or ever entertain this kind of situation for them,” then the show won’t die. We’ve been following these characters for the past nine years now, going on 10 years. As long as we’re open to where they lead us, I’m still enjoying this world. It’s new. We’re far more traditional than many shows now, but within that, the show keeps growing. So, whether it ends this season or not – and personally, I don’t think it will, and I don’t think the network has any intention of it ending, at this point – we’re following these characters, at this point in their lives. Assuming they’ll live normal, healthy lives, and live until they’re 80 or longer, this show stays alive. As long as their lives stay interesting and as long as we keep killing people, and I have no intention of stopping murdering people, I think the show stays fresh.
Do you feel any pressure to top yourself?
NATHAN: We put that pressure on ourselves. I won’t lie to you, it’s very difficult, after almost 200 episodes now, to find a new way to discover a set of remains, to find a new way to discover a killer, and to find new worlds in which to investigate these killings. It’s always shocking when those worlds appear. We have an astonishing writers’ room, headed by Jonathan Collier, who has been with this show for four years now. When I’m called to go upstairs, I’m always like, “What?! Really?! Oh, god, this is great!” It’s always another world that we never would have thought of. Of course, the mission and the desire is to never repeat ourselves. We’re gonna have to repeat ourselves, to a certain extent, but hopefully it’s all cloaked in another way, or we acknowledge that. It’s difficult, but it’s the characters that keep it fresh. We’ve been really blessed with the interns. We’ve expanded our focus and used the lives of the interns to freshen the show up, as well, so that we don’t have to just do the same people and the same concerns, over and over again. If we focus on the lives of the interns, or the lives of the supporting characters or other people in our family, that affects Booth and Brennan in very surprising ways.
How challenging will it be to get David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel to continue to do the show, with their contracts ending this season?
NATHAN: To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what their deals are. The initial contract for the actors goes either five or seven years, and everybody signs those because nothing goes five or seven years. But the bottom line is that we’re blessed because everybody wants to continue doing this show, and they want to continue doing this show. It’s a process of renegotiation for them, and that is always a difficult and challenging process between the actors and the agents and the studios. Unfortunately, I have nothing to do with that. But, it always seem to work out. It’s rare when you get a show that you enjoy doing for that long a period of time. So, while it’s a challenge, it’s one that always seems to be overcome.