Few shows can boast such a loyal and devoted fan base as Bones, which returns for its eighth season on Monday, September 17. The new season finds Brennan (Emily Deschanel) on the run after being accused of murder while Booth (David Boreanaz) tries to help her clear her name. In a wide-ranging telephone press conference, series exec producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan discussed what’s coming up for the new season, including this season’s story arcs, shaking things up in the show’s upcoming 150th episode and whether stars Boreanaz and Deschanel will sign on for a ninth season. Here are some highlights:
On whether Boreanaz and Deschanel will return for another season?
Hart Hanson: I think so. They are currently negotiating through season nine — well, I shouldn’t say that, because I don’t know how many years beyond that the studio is negotiating with them. Generally it comes in chunks. It might be three, it might be seven. I don’t know, and that’s part of the negotiations, is how many years it is. But they are currently in negotiations with the studio through at least next season. But I’m sure we’re pretty confident that they’ll come to an agreement.
On Boreanaz’s propensity for riling up ‘Bones’ fans with his cryptic tweets.
Hart Hanson: David is a mischievous guy. He loves lobbing hand grenades out. I think he really gets a kick out of all the stuff I would try to avoid, which is people hollering on Twitter. It’s all part of the game to him, but I don’t think there’s any serious angst or bile behind it.
Stephen Nathan: I think the undercurrent of all of David’s tweets or anything he does online or in the press is that he loves doing the show. He’s better than ever on the show, and I think he wants to come back as much as we want him back and as much as we want it to work out. There doesn’t seem to be a real issue.
On guest stars we may (or may not) see this season.
Hart Hanson: I hope [ZZ Top front man] Billy Gibbons will be back because that’s just total fun for us to play, Angela’s dad.
Stephen Nathan: Everybody always asks if we’re going to have Brennan’s cousin, Margaret, who is played by Zooey Deschanel back, but she seems very, very busy on her own show.
On how last season’s events will affect the ever tempestuous Booth-Brennan relationship.
Stephen Nathan: You know, initially you’re very happy to see somebody, but all of the three months of being abandoned essentially doesn’t go away. So that’s still kind of bubbling inside, and in the second episode we’ll see some evidence of that. There are things that they have to get past. Even though they understand what happened to each other, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to move on and to go back to what they had before. Everything will have changed a bit.
On keeping the show fresh.
Stephen Nathan: We’re probably focusing more on trying to do great murders this season than we have in the past. We just want to get the show back to the basics.
Hart Hanson: We listen to the actors, too, by the way. These people have been playing the faces of these characters for seven seasons. Every hiatus, we meet with each one of them one-on-one and say, “Who do you like being in scenes with?” and have a hanging and dreaming conversation. We get a lot of ideas from that, and we want them all connected, invested in what they’re doing. We’re very lucky to have that group of people on our show.
On their plans for the show’s upcoming 150th episode.
Hart Hanson: Our 150th episode is weird episode. It’s going to be an episode where we see everything from the point of view of the victim. It’s been very tricky. It was very tricky to shoot, because it could be claustrophobic. We needed a heart-tugging story, so that the person who we are experiencing, whose death we are solving is an actual character, and it’s a boy. We don’t usually use kids, because we can’t laugh, and it’s not a funny episode. It’s an outsider’s view of our team at work. In a way, it shows what the camera doesn’t usually show, how each of our characters interacts with a victim when no one else is looking. So it’s a little bit elegiac and melancholy. Cyndi Lauper is in it as our resident psychic, who knows that the victim is watching us and is trying to help find out what the victim needs, so that he can move on. By the way, it’s not to solve the murder; the victim needs something else before he can move on.
Season eight of BONES premieres Monday, September 17 on Global and Fox