I think I watched this because I saw a clip on Ferguson when Michael Clarke Duncan was a guest. I'm skeptical about "backdoor pilots" an d clips don't usually work for me, as they almost always seem ill-chosen or too short to really do the work intended. But being able to watch something for free on Hulu is a powerful draw when one is at a loose end, so I gave it a shot.
And after the first few episodes, I went back and found the pilot -- episode 19 from last season -- was still up on Hulu, so I've watched that now. I doubt this show will develop much in the way of thread activity, but I have a few thoughts.
+ I really dislike BONES. I'd tried watching the show early on and got bored, and I gave it another shot because a friend of mine said it was his favorite dumb television. His hots for John Francis Daley were not enough to sustain me, and I gave up a few episodes into the first season, repelled by just how dumb and clunky and artificial the whole thing was. I watched the first episode of the newest season because it came bundled with the iTunes download of FINDER, and it was awful, and I even (read: predictably) watched the episode where Zooey guest-starred as Temperance's sister, and it was unredeemable.
+ So I was fairly surprised that I liked this, especially since in the first six episodes there have been two BONES character cross-overs. I assume FOX television must be full of ads about how there are guest-stars! Come and see them translplanted! but I don't see any of that, so I get to watch the characters out of their normal habitat. I find them to be fine. Outside of the unbelievable high-tech lab and away from the relentlessly gooey corpse-of-the-week, they could just be clients and have no cross-pollination purpose at all. I like that one doesn't have to know that they're BONES characters to enjoy FINDER.
+ The tone of the show is still largely forced and artificial in the delivery. Reality is not striven for. Somehow, though, the main character of Walter works for me in terms of quirk in a way that Boreanaz and Deschanel don't. I like his uncaring manner. The seeming out-of-production order episode with the Twin Bad Guys who weren't twins with each other, but who were both twins with other, absent people was a nice bit of completely unnecessary quirk. It could have come right out of BIG TROUBLE or something with that level of unreality.
+ In the BONES episode, Walter is presented as paranoid. He's calmed down a lot to be the lead in his own show. That was a good decision. The switch from Saffron Burrows to Mercedes Masohn is also fine, if only because Burrows' cockney accent was completely unconvincing for an actual Englishwoman. I should go back and watch THE BANK JOB again and see what she did there. I will now miss her charming malapropisms, though. They were fun.
+ The inclusion of the whole Gypsy thing is actually quite interesting, and Willa has slightly more character and characteristics than the other three main characters. Which seems like an odd decision, but a good one since it has kept me intrigued enough to want more. Will Walter Not Find Something is a end-of-season cliffhanger, and so not much of a tease this early on; the FWB relationship between Walter and Mercedes is celever but adds no character tension. Nope, the only real week-to-week character stuff is the teenaged gypsy girl. How odd.
+ The opening credits are awful. The song's fine, but that montage seems actively designed to create nothing resembling favorable impressions. It mystifies me.
+ This most recent episode, episode 6, didn't a have dream sequence in it. This was a bad move. The dream sequences are fantastic. Sure, it's a mildly hackneyed way of moving the plot forward by having subconscious realizations spur conscious action. BUt they're really quite well done and sufficiently Freudianly entertaining. They need to not not have those.
I am now sufficiently intrigued as to want to read the source material books to see how much alteration has been done to the character and the supporting cast. I can see myself becoming bored with the show -- with THE MENTALIST and PERSON OF INTEREST I have more than enough Thursday evening procedurals -- but I do like the deliberate attempt to subvert the structure somewhat. To have the missing object not always be something stolen, let alone tangible, and to have crime be less of a focus makes it appealing next to the more standard murder-of-the-week procedural shows.