BONES, Fox’s procedural adapted by Hart Hanson from Kathy Reichs’ novels, begins its tenth season on Thursday, September 25, at 8 PM. When last we saw our protagonists, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her husband/partner FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), they were in deep trouble. Their home was invaded and virtually destroyed by a special ops team intent on covering up a conspiracy. Brennan and Booth protected each other in the melee, but Booth not only got seriously wounded, he wound up arrested for murder.
The outlook for BONES itself is much brighter. Fox Networks president and CEO Peter Rice has told the Television Critics Association, “I hope that this year is not the last year.”
BONES show runners/executive producers Stephen Nathan and Jonathan Collier are present at a party Fox hosts later that night for the Television Critics Association at West Hollywood’s SoHo House. They’re happy to talk about Rice’s remark, BONES Season 10 and more.
STEPHEN NATHAN: Somebody asked me whether we were surprised [by Rice’s comment], and I said, “No.” [laughs] Because we’re not surprised that this show has more life in it. It feels that it has more life in it. We’re not ready to shut it down.
AX: Going into Season 10, how are you dealing with the fallout from the Season 9 finale?
NATHAN: Well, we’ll be picking the story up from where it would actually be – he almost died, she almost got shot, their lives were destroyed, he gets arrested. Four months later, we’re picking up from that point, what would happen four months later.
AX: What is Booth’s status with the FBI at this point?
NATHAN: Well, I think where we pick him up, there is no love lost with the FBI as far as Booth is concerned. He feels he’s been betrayed, he feels he’s on his own, and that’s not something he can turn off very easily. And he also has to get out into the real world.
AX: Before you decided to embark on this story, did you figure out how Booth and Brennan can still be professional partners, or did you come up with this storyline and say, “Okay, how do we get back into that groove” or are you in fact in that groove any longer?
NATHAN: Well, the groove changes by necessity, because the characters have changed so much. But we’ve always known what we were going to do with this story. And BONES will be BONES. It’s not going to change. They’re still going to ultimately be solving crimes. But it’s going to take a little while to get back to that and nothing exactly is going to be the same.
AX: Will we see some of the guest characters return?
NATHAN: We want to have everyone back we can possibly have back. We love the other characters that have come through the show and always like them to return. They’re a huge part of the show. We will be bringing back as many of the people we introduced last season as we possibly can, and also new people will be showing up. Not a lot, because we have a pretty big group of people now.
AX: You’ve had several episodes where you brought in almost all of the rotating lab assistants and arranged it so they were all working together. Will we see more of that?
NATHAN: Well, we’ve had two episodes like that and we have talked about doing another. But that would be in the second half of the season.
AX: Can you both talk about how you divide up the show-running responsibilities?
COLLIER: We literally have an upstairs and a downstairs. The upstairs is where the writers are, and that’s where we break our stories, and write a lot of them. Stephen and Hart are downstairs. Stephen usually is the one to deal with the actors, with everything on stage. Stephen takes a rewrite, a final revision, of every single draft that comes through, of every single episode that we do. How else do we divide everything up?
NATHAN: Jon really is unbelievable. He’s like a superhero. He runs the writers’ room and breaks the stories with the writers, and then I’ll come up and hear them and add whatever I can and work with them, but at the end. And that’s enormous. That’s moving mountains. And then when the outlines come in, scripts come in, Jon sends notes before it comes to me. And then while he’s doing that, a lot of times, if I’m not writing, I do the post[-production] on the shows. I don’t actually do it, but I’m in the room with the person who does it.
AX: Are you still looking for new forensic procedures and discoveries to put into the episodes?
NATHAN: That’s the bread and butter of the show. We have researchers, everybody’s up on their science, and we move ahead and try to get as many complicated but true forensic stories as we can.
COLLIER: The premise of the show is so solid, we don’t really want to ever mess with it, and that is, you have FBI investigative techniques combined with incredibly strong, world-class forensic science.
AX: Have there ever been any things that either of you felt would sound too unbelievable to an audience or were too disgusting?
NATHAN: Anything that sounds too unbelievable we make sure is actually true. So if something seems insane, it’s very, very likely to be the real deal.
AX: How about anything that’s too gross for broadcast standards?
NATHAN: I think I’ve only done that two times. And both times, it was because it was a person who had been killed. It wasn’t something decomposed – it was close to an actual person who was shot or hurt in some way, and then it became too gross. It’s not the show. We can be as revolting as we possibly can be when somebody’s decomposing, but not if you see a face. I’ve only done it twice, though, in ten years.
AX: Do you have a favorite scene or a favorite episode from Season 9?
NATHAN: I like Season 9. It’s hard to say. If I want a shoot-out, I know what scene I like; if I want to cry, there’s another scene in another show.
COLLIER: I was incredibly gratified, just because of something we don’t normally do – the huge action piece in the house in the [Season 9] finale, just the way that come off, the resources that we could devote to it, and we spent about two days shooting it. I mean, being able to be given the opportunity to do that, especially by the studio, seeing the way David [Boreanaz, who directed the episode] pulled it off, was huge. Sometimes you’re just grateful you’re doing what you’re doing, and that was one of them.
NATHAN: Yeah. And David did a phenomenal job directing it.
COLLIER: Most TV shows never get to do that.
AX: Anything else you would like to say about BONES right now?
NATHAN: I would just say sit down for Season 10. Because it’s not done yet.
COLLIER: I second what my colleague said. It starts off incredibly exciting and I think we have some of our best cases ever coming up.
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Related: Part 1 of AX’s EXCLUSIVE HART HANSON Interview
Related: Part 2 of AX’s EXCLUSIVE HART HANSON INTERVIEW
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Article: Exclusive Interview with BONES show runners Stephen Nathan and Jonathan Collier on Season 10