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October 8, 2015

Bones Vs. the Kathy Reichs books

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Mar 26th 2007 12:42PM
BonesI'll admit it, in late July 2005, when I first watched the pilot of the FOX's series Bones, my comments about this show weren't stellar. However, I gave it another chance when it officially premiered on FOX and my opinion slowly started to change. Now, almost two years after the premiere, Bones is one of the shows I try not to miss, especially due to the "relationship" between Bones (aka Temperance Brennan), played by Emily Deschanel, and Booth, played by Angel's David Boreanaz.

Before Bones, I had never heard of Kathy Reichs or her books. Until last February, I had been afraid of reading one of her books featuring the lead character on Bones, Temperance Brennan. This fear was caused by reading countless of books later turned into movies that didn't stay true to the books. This time, I was afraid that the character I love from the show wouldn't be the same in the books (most of them were published before Bones hit the screen).

My fear was right.Last February, when I was traveling across Canada, a friend of mine gave me a copy of "Grave Secrets," the fifth book Reichs wrote featuring Brennan. At first, I didn't notice the differences between the Temperance from the book and from the TV series except for the fact that the book version is a bit more social. But soon enough, the writer gave me clues about Brennan's age, her daughter (huh? say what?), etc. I knew there would be differences between the book and the series character; for example, I knew book Temperance was working in Montréal and in the US as well, while series Temperance was working at the Jeffersonian. But besides sharing a name, a main job and a side job (writing books), the resemblances between the two Temperances stop there.

Based on the book I've read, book Temperance is older, has a daughter who is old enough to be in University, is much more socia, and is more opened to have personal relationships. As for series Temperance, well, she doesn't have any children, is not that social and is not really opened to have personal relationships (though she just had a fling with Sullivan).

I get why the series is not set in Montréal (language being the first factor here), and I can even understand why the network wanted a younger and less social character (attract more viewers and offer a challenging character à la House), but why so many differences? If they were to not use 99% of the book character, why keep the same name and make the book fans unhappy? And in return make series fans who read the books after watching Bones become lost when reading because the character they watch on TV each week is not the same as in the book.

Maybe they should just have said that Bones was inspired by Kathy Reichs' books and leave it to that, not using the Temperance Brennan name.

Which version of Temperance Brennan is the best? The book one or the series one? I, for one, prefer the series one, but that may be because I got to know her for almost two years before reading a Kathy Reichs book.

Bones airs on FOX Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.

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My professor told me that Kathy Reichs is highly disrespected in her field. We were talking about public archaeology and why there is a huge divide between archaeologists/anthropologists (especially academics) and the general public. She mentioned that many people who attempt to reach out to the public lose credibility. I asked about people who act as consultants for television shows like Kathy Reichs and the people who work on CSI. That's when she said that Kathy Reichs is extremely disrepected and that people say that she doesn't know what she's doing. My professor actually heard about a situation in which Kathy Reichs was testifying in a court case but didn't present enough important information and the case was thrown out. Now the question is, did she just not think the other information wasn't important or did she just not do her job?

Anyways, I love Bones! It's one of my favorite shows. But it was quite shocking to hear my professor flat out say that Kathy Reichs isn't very well liked in the anthropology community. Ouch!

April 18 2007 at 2:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Deborah Nicole

I've been hooked on the show for a while now and just decided to read the books a couple of weeks ago.

Being a very amateur science enthusiast, I love all all of the research that she includes in the book series. Being a 'girlly-girl' (as my boyfriend puts it) I love the Brennan-Ryan thing.

As for the distant connection between the show and the books, if they wanted to do an exact match for the book, I could see it only as a movie. I think they had to change it to adapt it for television.

I, personally, thoroughly enjoy both of the stories, separately, but thoroughly.

April 03 2007 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After watching Bones since it started on German TV, I got Reichs' first book for last christmas, and I really loved it. I expected some differences, but I was surprised to see that the book series is something completely different as the TV series.
But I love both of them, although I have to admit that I like the books and book-Tempe a bit more than TV-Tempe...
I think if you want to enjoy the books and the TV series, you have to accept that they are both a series in their own right and just happen to share the main topic and character name.

March 27 2007 at 8:10 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I read one of Kathy Reichs's books, but I knew before I picked it up that Book Temperance and TV Temperance were nothing alike. I imagine the differences would have been quite startling if I didn't know ahead of time.

March 26 2007 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reichs herself expressed that she did not want her books to exactly turn in a show. She was a huge part in the development process of the show. I read somewhere that the character wasn't even given the name Brennan until the end process of the pilot. It was to show a direct connection to Kathy Reichs. In her words, Brennan on TV is more based on her than in the books. Plus its Fox, it fox-tized it. And the producers refused to make a standard procedural.

March 26 2007 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Much like my wife and I are about to do with the Dresden files, we picked up the "Bones" books shortly after the first season started.

The differences are striking enough that we enjoy both the tv show and the books for what they are. Other than similar inspiration, they are pretty much 2 different entities.

Thinking about it, I don't mind it at all. Rather than doing a straight adaptation that would make no one happy, they took a similar idea and made it into a buddy-cop show. It works, if maybe only because of the actors, but it works. The books work for vastly different reasons.

I haven't been disappointed by either.

Todd McFarland once talked about why spawn the movie was different from the comic which was different than the showtime cartoon which was different. Each version of spawn tried to play to the strengths and audience of each medium. I keep that in mind when something like Bones comes along. I think each version of Bones plays to the strengths of the medium that its in.

Marshall McLuhan was right.

March 26 2007 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love how the main character in the books written by the television series' Temperance Brennan character in named Kathy Reichs! LOL!!!

March 26 2007 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not a big fan of the books -- I read about half of one, and stopped. I love the series, and I love those types of books, but it just wasn't interesting or well-written enough for me.

March 26 2007 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Korn

I just look at the two Temperances as two seperate characters in two seperate entertainments.

March 26 2007 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Having watched the show since it started I did get curious and went out and bought the first of the Brennan books. I adored the book, and continue to read them as well as enjoy the show.

The differences were jarring for me, I just found it to be a different side of the Brennan coin that we see. Fox probably decided, like was mentioned, that they just needed someone more youthful and since Kathy helps produce the show, I think she probably had a lot to say about the character.


March 26 2007 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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