To the list of classical dramatic conflicts — Man vs. Self, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, etc. — this Wednesday’s (Sept. 3) two-hour Bones premiere adds a new one: Agent Seeley Booth vs. Weak British Tea.
"For my character, he’s not eating biscuits and drinking tea," David Boreanaz makes it clear. "He’s a coffee guy and if the coffee’s bad over there, what does he really have to go to?"
Actually, tea is just one of several new complications that cause problems for Booth and Brennan as Bones kicks off its fourth season with two hours shot in London. The normally capable FBI agent also has to deal with funny little cars, the in-bred aristocracy, plus that whole driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road thing and that’s before two murders get our heroes really busy (with Stateside assistance, of course, from the Squints).
"It was definitely a different environment for the two characters, which I think really enhanced the level of their relationship, because when you see them before the show and then you see them after the show and their progress and their process… especially Booth’s, because he doesn’t get what they’re doing over there and by the end of the show, he kind of not only gets it, but he loves it," Boreanaz says. "He’s that type of guy, his motivation comes from frustration, whether it be from [Brennan], or on top of the frustration from her, he’s extra-motivated by the people from England who are doing crazy things. That really drives him crazy. That’s where the essence of the comedy comes in."
Sitting on show’s Los Angeles set two months after the London sojourn, Emily Deschanel has put aside memories of the cold and jetlag that plagued her European jaunt, remembering the value to the series.
"It was wonderful to get them out of their element, I think that’s always good for characters to be in a different environment, because it can bring up new things and maybe reveal other feelings for each other, especially in a situation like Booth and Brennan with the sexual chemistry and the tension," she says. "We’re trying to make it new and different without making them all married and stuff like that, which would be even more boring, I guarantee that."
"I think we’ll really enlighten the relationship, bring the characters closer together, further apart. We tease. We bring ’em back. A little of this, little of that," he says. "I think that’s what we’re going to be doing for the next few years. You give them a little something and then you take a little something away. In order to be smart with that, you have to learn what to do with these characters at certain times and the London show really opened up a lot of good opportunities for the show and doing more of these down the line and knowing that it’s great to see these guys out of the element."
For Boreanaz, who has expanded his behind-the-scenes role on the show to include a co-producer credit and an upcoming directing stint, working with the episode’s British crew was an eye-opener.
"Here, you go out on the crew and you have 10 wardrobe trailers that you never use," he notes. "It’s an army. It’s American way, we’ve got a buffet, we’ve got everything… It’s too much. It’s a buffet production. For them, it’s very small-knitted. There’s not chairs behind the monitors. It’s pretty interesting."
He adds, "The wealth of talent is just phenomenal over there and their approach is very uplifting and it was a gift to be able to go over and work with these actors and play in their space… I loved being out of being location and the challenges of shooting on the Thames and how windy it was. I like things like that."
Deschanel, who spent time living in London as a small child, agrees that being on location in the city only enhanced the production, saying, "The city is incredible, the architecture. There’s just so much history you forget in Los Angeles, where there’s nothing built before 1972."
Amidst all the fun Across the Pond, don’t think that Bones has forgotten where we left off at the end of last season, with the heartbreaking revelation of Zack’s involvement with the Gormogon killer.
"I think it’s terrifying for someone she knew and was close to like Zack, for him to do something like that, I think it’s scary for her, because if he’s capable of falling to logic like that, is she capable of it?" Deschanel muses. "She’s kind of a mild version of his personality in a way. She admired him greatly… It makes her look at herself, her own judgment — of other people and her own judgment of her own actions — and it creates a philosophical give-and-take within her own mind and I think all of the characters experience that in different ways."
Having set a precedent for how fluidly international venues work on Bones, the two stars say they’re ready for the next trip.
"I’d like to go to Italy, or Spain," Boreanaz says. "I was there over in Italy and the cars were really funny and the space and the people. Just the whole gladiator thing would be funny with with Booth. Spain is a great spot, ruins. Mexico would be great, because of the Aztecs, I think they’d be interesting from her perspective."
Deschanel, though, has some different ideas.
"I would love to go to Morocco," she suggests. "I just want to have my vacation planned by Bones and I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco, so I figure, let’s go there. France would be nice. I haven’t been back in a long time and I have family there."
Perhaps a Hawaiian episode?
"Yeah! Maybe something in the Virgin Islands? There are bones there…"
Bones premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 3 on FOX.