Bones has more episodes than a human being has bones, so it’s easy to lose track of time while watching. And really, why not? It’s the only show on television about forensic anthropologists who use bones to solve crimes. Long-running Fox drama starring Emily Deschanel as forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, and David Boreanaz as her partner, FBI special agent Seeley Booth, has made a mark as a reliable comfort show, popular with college students as well as aunts from the middle of the U.S.. Unfortunately, there are no more Bones in the world.
Even so, there are a slew of excellent procedurals on the way to fill that Jeffersonian void in your life. There’s something on this list for everyone, whether you liked Bones for the hot romance between Booth and Brennan, the cool science, the weird science, or the banter between intelligent hot people.
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As a fan of Bones, you’ll probably enjoy Lucifer, a police procedural in which the characters joke about Bones. This time, the consultant is the literal devil. While dealing with his issues with his otherworldly father, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), a former demon turned nightclub owner in Los Angeles, teams up with L.A.PD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crimes. Not only does Lucifer have a hot will they or won’t they romance, but it also puts a unique spin on the traditional redemption story. As for Bones, it appears the devil enjoys it.
if the Jeffersonian team’s bizarre experiments got even stranger, the result would be fringe. It stars Anna Torv as FBI agent Olivia Dunham, who enlists the help of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his scientist father Walter Bishop (John Noble) to solve bizarre crimes. In the beginning, Fringe was just another procedural, but once it accepted its destiny as a twisty parallel-universe serialized epic, it blossomed into one of the best and most underappreciated dramas of the time. A multiverse romance between Olivia and Peter will delight Booth and Brennan fans, while puzzle-solving scientists will enjoy more of the same.
TV Guide named Evil the best show on TV right now because no other show is having as much fun as Evil. For the first season, the show aired on CBS and then moved to Paramount+ for Season 2. The show begins with a charming case of opposites drawing together: Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) works with the Catholic Church’s priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter) and tech expert Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) to look into claims of demonic possession that have been made against them. However, as it comes from Robert and Michelle King, two of CBS’s favorite boundary-pushers, the show is fantastically dark and full of surprises. Evil amplifies the religious debates between Booth and Brennan on Bones and adds a lot more gruesome exorcisms to the mix. Philosophical, absurd and incredibly clever, this film is a must-see.
4. The Finder
Do you recall the Bones spin-off? Back in Bones season six, Hart Hanson came up with the idea for the show The Finder about a guy who finds things, but does so really well (sure). Bones stars like Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) and Jack Hodgins appeared in the show, which was a backdoor pilot (T.J. Thyne). A traumatic brain injury in Iraq has left Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) paranoid but gifted at seeing patterns others cannot. Walter is the focus of the show. Using his bar co-owner Leo as a base, Walter searches for items for clients (the late Michael Clarke Duncan). After its first season, The Finder was abruptly axed just as it was reaching its full potential. However, reuniting with old friends (fictional characters from Bones) in tropical locales is always enjoyable.
5. Pushing Daisies
Bryan Fuller created Pushing Daisies, a far more bizarre show that also features a large number of dead bodies, before he began turning the bodies of the victims into baroque art displays for Hannibal. If you keep dead things alive for more than 60 seconds, another random person’s life will be taken. The forensic fairy tale follows pie-maker Ned (Lee Pace) who can bring the dead back to life. The two begin a touchless romance while also using Ned’s gift to solve murders when Ned decides to take a risk and bring his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel), back to life. Bones and Pushing Daisies have a lot in common, including bizarre crimes and corpses in strange positions. Bones lacked Kristin Chenoweth singing show tunes with a golden retriever, so this was a welcome addition.
6. The X-Files
You had to have known that this list would be completed at some point. No show on this list would exist without The X-Files, the classic Fox procedural in which FBI agents David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson investigate paranormal phenomena like their out-of-this world chemistry. Bones is no exception to this rule. With so many similarities to The X-Files, Booth and Brennan’s partnership on Bones had to just come out and say it: “We’re Mulder and Scully,” Booth told Brennan. “We’re the team.” As yet unanswered, is Booth storing X-Files VHS tapes at home, or are Mulder and Scully in the Bones universe real agents? Many years have passed since The X-Files first aired, but the series’ eerie blend of monsters and government paranoia is still as compelling as ever. Watch The X-Files and brush up on your Bones knowledge.
For all its “romantic crimedy” appeal, Psych’s main appeal is its focus on friendship. Following irreverent charmer Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez), who bluffs his way into an opportunity as a fake psychic detective along with his best friend Gus (Dulé Hill), the USA Network show is a cult favorite. Shawn impresses everyone at the Santa Barbara Police Department, including his love interest Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and tough chief detective Carlton Lassiter, thanks to his keen eye for detail and keen observational skills (Timothy Omundson). Psych is funnier than Bones, with more in-jokes about obscure pop culture references and pineapples, but it takes its central relationships very seriously.
Castle and Bones have frequently been compared in will they/won’t they procedurals, but just because you have a preference doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate both shows equally. When mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) decides to consult on a few real-life cases, he ends up following NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) around for research. Even though the show was clearly an homage to Bones, it had the advantage of knowing exactly what tone it wanted to set from the start, and it based Castle and Beckett’s relationship on an engaging mix of trust and tension, especially in the early years. As time progressed, Castle became increasingly unfun, but the good times certainly outweighed the bad. The video can be seen on Amazon (where you can also buy it).
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The opportunity to see a young David Boreanaz seize his throne as television’s resident brooder has passed you by. Start with Buffy, a coming-of-age story about a game-changing character, before watching the spin-off focused on Boreanaz’s vampire with a soul, Angel. It’s all part of her vocation as the Slayer, but Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) also has homework and prom and really bad breakups to contend with while battling vampires and demons in her town (which happens to be located over a Hellmouth). With its focus on an action hero who is equal parts feminine and tough, this young adult drama speaks its own language.