Thursday evening certainly did not unfold quite in the way I expected. Since around the time of The Monster in the Closet, I had been anxiously (and very impatiently) awaiting the 11 season finale. We were promised a continuation of the amazing (yet completely horrifying) story. There were to be many twists and turns with this one. And it was going to be the biggest cliffhanger in Bones history. At around 7:45 pm, I turned my television to FOX. And what did I see? Not a rerun of Modern Family, as I had grown accustomed to watching a few minutes before a new episode of Bones each week. No. I saw Donald Trump.
I began to get a bit nervous. This speech would end soon, right? The east coast already saw the finale. Soon it would be our turn. It had to be. Also- I live in Los Angeles. It seemed a little far-fetched to think they would air this instead of a new Bones episode. But that’s besides the point. This was the season finale. And Bones was also one of the only shows still airing new episodes. Surely the network anticipated a lengthy RNC speech. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. But 7:59 came around, and this convention coverage showed no signs of even being close to ending. I flooded my Twitter with reasonably harmless complaints. I was really just irritated that they would delay the start show. But it happens. I understand the importance of political coverage- both from a ratings and democracy perspective. I put the television on mute (for obvious reasons), and waited. And waited. And waited some more. FINALLY, it began to wrap up. The commentator mentioned how Trump spoke longer than planned. Something about it being the longest speech in RNC history? Great. Perfect timing, for sure.
I was getting ready to let go of my annoyance. Bones was coming on. Who cares what time it started, so long as I could watch it at that moment. But, all of a sudden, I saw Booth and Aubrey walking around a dark basement of some sort. And it hit me- This was not the beginning of the episode. They had the audacity to start 37 minutes into the finale. I was livid. And that is an understatement. I immediately turned off the TV and started ranting on Twitter. I try not to be negative about too many things on social media, but this was just inexcusable. And I couldn’t contain my emotions.
Emily Deschanel is honestly one of the kindest, sweetest, most compassionate people in the business. Probably in the universe. Period. And she is also not one to tweet very often at all. But she posted four times that night. FOUR. Sometimes she goes four months without posting. She was upset, and she had every right to be. David Boreanaz also tweeted that night. They both called it a fail. And it really was.
I cannot think of a show that has had to endure even half of the ludicrous situations that Bones has. In its 11+ years, it has been on almost every night of the week, and has had approximately 12 schedule shifts in 11 seasons. The show has longer winter hiatuses than summer. It is given little to no promotion, and then expected to perform on par with other shows. And there is so much more. Any Bones fan who kept up with news last year knows to what I am referring. But I don’t even want to get into that currently. I’ll go off on a tangent. What’s done is done.
I was angry. Other west coast fans were upset as well (though some DID get the episode), And even other fans who had seen the episode already shared in our anger. Because it wasn’t even about us. Yes, of course I was furious. Anyone talking to me during that time can attest to that. I had downloaded the episode already at that point, but I couldn’t even watch it until I calmed down. Because I didn’t want this to affect the way I watched the episode. I said this the night of- an experience I truly treasure each week was taken from me. I felt robbed. Watching Bones is something I do almost all day every day. At work, at home, in the car (okay, I stream it and listen because safety first). But this was a new episode. When a new episode airs, I enjoy watching, reacting, and sharing my own feelings about what’s going on. I know live tweeting is not for everyone, but I do it for a few reasons: Because I have regularly reported on TV social performance for work, I know it matters to some degree. Maybe not for Bones as much as other shows, but it doesn’t go unnoticed. Additionally, I think it’s nice for the cast/crew to scroll through and see 1. That people are engaging with the show and 2. That there is love for the particular episode. I also love when people interact with me (on a positive level) while I’m reacting. It’s hard to really articulate why I felt so cheated. I wanted to see the finale so desperately. But I wouldn’t let myself start it until I was calm about the situation. Because that would have been one more thing that was taken from me that night. Call me dramatic, but this show is everything to me.It deserves the world. And sometimes it gets zero respect.
This anger was about the fans, yes, but I was actually far more devastated for the cast, crew, and anyone else who had a hand in making this incredible episode. Because it was just that- incredible. It was suspenseful, exciting, tragic, terrifying, and beautiful. Everyone was on their A(+++) game. And to have the network treat it as though it was just another rerun of a ho-hum show was just a slap to the face. This show has been FOX’s workhorse for 11 years. The stars were vocal in expressing their displeasure that night. This did not go unnoticed by them, of course. And I appreciated that they spoke up for their show. They love Bones. They have continued to do this show despite the less-than-stellar treatment they receive from parts of the network. They do it for them because they love the people, the characters, and the story. They do it for us, as we are a very loyal fan base, as a whole. But if not for that, I am certain they would have been out of there long ago. Because no show should have to experience this. Emily was so excited for us all to see the amazing writing, acting, directing, and producing of this episode. She was especially saddened for her friend, David. All she wanted was for the fans to see their hard work. Really, would that have been so hard?
Whether it’s a sporting event, breaking news, or a special report, networks generally just delay the start of a new episode. Not always with reruns. But with new episodes, yes. Here’s the thing: the RNC was definitely not an unplanned event. And a monkey could have predicted that Trump’s speech would be lengthy. If they had no intention of airing the finale in its entirety, why schedule it for that night? This was not a speech that ran just a few minutes past 8 pm. It was approximately 8:37 pm PT before I saw Booth’s face. As I said, I was ready to forgive and forget. All I really wanted to do was watch and enjoy. But they started it from the middle. A new episode. And a season finale, at that. How could anyone think that was right? You want to know what else? The reality competition series “Home Free” started promptly at 9, and was aired in its entirety. I think that is when I completely lost it. Season 11 began on October 1 of last year. It was 22 episodes, and it ran until July 21. I believe that is approximately 42 weeks. Was there no other week to air the finale? The show had also just come off a three week hiatus between episodes 20 and 21. Could it have been pushed another week. Honestly, there must have been a better solution. Anything would have been better. That is what gets me. Someone should have foreseen this. Or it’s plausible they did, and they just failed to care. Nothing surprises me anymore. And if you are a fan of Bones, you probably feel the same.
I am tired of being told that the show is lucky to get to 12 seasons. Yes, I know it is. Or that the network is generous to let it wrap up on its own terms. I know that as well. Most shows are not that fortunate. Most shows do not get more than an episode or two of warning. And most shows certainly do not reach 246 episodes by the end. But I think that Bones got to where it is now in spite of it all. Yes, FOX did a wonderful thing by giving them a final farewell season. And I am forever grateful. But does it erase all that came before? Historically, it was always used as a filler in the schedule because our “little show that could” is dependable. It is a good lead-in for new shows as well. Fans follow it. It may not get Empire-level ratings, but it’s consistent. Because we will always go wherever it goes. Just because the network did the right thing in one case, it doesn’t negate past mistakes.
While it may not seem like it, I have calmed down immensely since that night. At least in terms of my own emotions. I’ve seen the episode. Many many times. It’s fantastic.One of the best ever (I say that always). But I am still really upset for everyone who worked on this episode. Everyone who worked tireless to bring us this brilliance. This simply should NOT have happened. And maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I hope all of these people are treated like royalty for the duration of season 12. They deserve it. They deserve everything.
All that said- PLEASE, if you have not seen the wonderful, amazing, and terrifying season 11 finale, watch THIS FRIDAY 7/29 on FOX (8pm). Because this is one you definitely cannot miss.
After far more press than I think they or I expected, the network agreed to replay it this week. Obviously you can also find it OnDemand, Hulu, iTunes, etc. But it about broke my heart (metaphorically speaking) that the actors were so upset about this. So let’s watch it again for them!
Though, in the end, they will have the last laugh.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for SDCC news, a finale recap, and a season 11 recap!