I like to think that everyone has something—a book, a movie, a TV show, a radio drama—that they turn to when life isn’t going so super awesome, or even when they’re just tired or a little stressed.
My favorite emotional comfort food is the television show Bones, which is now in its tenth season. I’m glad there are new episodes to look forward to, but I’m equally happy watching previous seasons. Over. And over. And over (much to my husband’s consternation).
The reason for this obsession is simple: Bones features confident, intelligent women using their brains to fight bad guys.
This isn’t one of those police procedurals in which there’s a token lady or two (often a tomboy cop). From the second season on, fully half of the starring cast is composed of brilliant lady scientists, and two of them are people of color. Frequent guest stars include more awesome ladies, as well as more people of color.
The basic premise isn’t all that different from other science-based procedurals like CSI or NCIS: A team of scientists examines the evidence using advanced knowledge and technology, and the cops use their guts to hypothesize and suss out motives.
The evidence, however, consists primarily of human skeletons. Dr. Temperance Brennan, nicknamed Bones, is a forensic anthropologist who can reconstruct a person’s life and how they were murdered from the impressions and marks left on the bones.
The murders Bones and her partner FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth solve are fascinating, but the dialogue between the two of them is stimulating as well. Brennan relies on hard science to inform her worldview, and has a tendency to reduce everything from body functions to human emotions to scientific facts. Booth believes in god and his instincts, and their differences come out in frequent discussions about culture, love, children, work, and religion.
Bones isn’t perfect—in later seasons there’s a tendency to reduce female happiness to getting pregnant—but compared to most other shows, it holds up pretty well against my stringent feminist criteria.
The next new episode won’t air until March, so you have plenty of time to watch the previous nine seasons.