There is only oneBone, as proven by science. In order to find another show bold enough to castCyndi Lauper as a psychic who can also sing in a nightclub called “The Lab,” or cross over with Sleepy Hollow despite the fact that a character on Bones had previously mentioned watching Sleepy Hollow, it took some searching online. Bones-style actors are hard to come by these days. While Bones is the only show about people who solve crimes by examining human remains, procedural fans have plenty of other shows to choose from.
With Emily Deschanel as brilliant FBI forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan and David Boreanaz as her sharpshooting partner Seeley Booth, the dependable procedural aired on Fox for a total of 12 seasons. While Bones was known for its fascination with the decomposing bodies of its characters, it was also a popular show among everyone from college students to their distant aunts in the Midwest. In the event that you missed Bones and are looking for something to fill that Jeffersonian-sized void in your life, this list has something for everyone.
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Louis Vuitton bag from Tom Ellis and Lauren German
A procedural with an unlikely police consultant — in this case, the literal devil — might be your cup of tea if the characters actually make jokes about Bones. Tom Ellis plays Lucifer Morningstar, a demon who fled to Los Angeles to open a nightclub and teams up with LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crimes — stranger things have happened, maybe? — while dealing with his phantom father issues. 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 the devil, it appears that Bones is a big favorite. Check out the video below to see it for yourself.
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. 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. Viewers can catch the film on Paramount Home Media Network+.
Fringe is what would have happened if the Jeffersonian team’s bizarre experiments had gotten even stranger. 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 strange cases. While Fringe began as a procedural, it evolved into one of the best and most underappreciated dramas of its time as it embraced its destiny as a twisty serialized epic about parallel universes. Love-haters of Booth and Brennan will enjoy Olivia’s cross-universe romance with Peter, while fans of scientists solving mysteries will enjoy even more of that in season three. [View on IMDb TV (ad-supported, but free), or Amazon (ad-free, but with ads)]
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 and gifted at seeing patterns that others cannot. The series follows Walter’s journey as he learns to deal with his paranoia and his gifts. 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 (from Bones) in tropical locales is always enjoyable. View on Amazon(to buy)
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. There are many similarities between Bones and Pushing Daisies, including bizarre crimes and corpses in strange positions. It also has something Bones lacked: Kristin Chenoweth singing show tunes while holding a golden retriever. [HBO Max, CW Seed] Watch this space for updates.
6. The X-Files
Of course this list would come to an end 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. As yet unanswered, is Booth storing X-Files VHS tapes at home, or are Mulder and Scully real agents in the Bones universe? 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 learn about the Bones lore. You can see this on Hulu.
For all its “romantic crimedy” appeal, Psych’s main appeal is its focus on friendship. Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez) and his best friend Gus (Dulé Hill) are bluffing their way into work as fake psychic detectives on the USA Network’s very funny and cult favorite show. 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. Peacock and Amazon both have it available for viewing.
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. Because ABC wanted to compete with Bones, the show knew exactly what tone it wanted to strike and built Castle and Beckett’s relationship on a fun mix of mutual trust and tension, especially in the early going. This helped the show succeed. As time progressed, Castle became increasingly unfun, but the good times certainly outweighed the bad. You can see it on Hulu.
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. After graduating from high school and becoming the Slayer, Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) has a lot on her plate. She has to deal with prom, homework and really bad breakups on top of everything else. It’s a smart teen drama that uses its own dialect and features a female action hero who balances her femininity with her toughness.