23 July 2012

Television and published fiction, 2

The other TV series that became a favorite in our household in the past couple years was Bones. The series was created by Hart Hanson and based very loosley on a character created by Kathy Reichs.

Reichs is a forensic anthropologist who works in North Carolina and Canada. When she's not identifying bodies and causes of death, she writes mystery/adventure novels featuring a forensic anthropologist named Temperance (Tempe) Brennan. Brennan, coincidently, works in North Carolina and Canada. Just to complete the circle (as is done on Castle), the Brennan character on television writes mystery/adventure novels in her spare time featuring a forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.

 Convoluted enough?

Emily Deschanel (TV's Temperance Brennan) and Kathy Reichs

We sort of discovered Bones a couple years ago, and liked it well enough that we have now used our Netflix subscription to watch all the seasons we missed. That led me to Déja Dead, Kathy Reichs' first novel. Mostly I was curious about the translation from printed pages to episodic television.
  1. Any similarites between Reichs' main character and the title character of Hart's TV series (except for the name and occupation) is purely coincidental. I find the television character -- annoying know-it-all, Asperger-like robot, and all -- much more interesting.
  2. The television series is better written.
  3. There is a virtual absence of humor in Reichs' book. The humor on the tube is one of the big attractions for me.
  4. Reichs' character is a loner. She's always assuming responsibilities that are not hers and venturing out on her own to do things she believes no one else can or will do. As a result, she's frequently in danger and in trouble with her bosses and colleagues. Since I never developed any sympathies with the character, I keep thinking about how stupid she was. (She reminds me of Sara Paretsky's and Sue Grafton's heroes. I often thought they were pretty stupid too. That's the main reason I don't read those authors' books any more.)
  5. The book is full of procedural detail that seem to come right out of textbooks used by physical anthropologists or medical examiners. (Hint: it's dull.)
So, now I've seen the origin of the television series. Hart Hanson must get nearly all the credit. Kathy Reichs is still involved as a technical advisor with the title of a producer.

I won't be going back to another of Reichs' books. Will you?

Have you read Déja Dead or another of Kathy Reichs' books? How did you react? Write and tell this little bit of the world.

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