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DVD Review: Bonekickers

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Bonekickers is a modern day British drama series about a team of archaeologists. Bonekickers is from the creator of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. It stars Julie Graham, Hugh Bonneville, Adrian Lester, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

The series is sort of a combination of the British sci-fi series, Torchwood, and the American crime drama, CSI. It's set in the city of Bath in England and combines modern forensic science (like CSI) with mysteries from the past and has a touch of sci-fi in it as well.

Bonekickers ran for one series in 2008 and was not renewed for a second series. There were a total of six episodes, all of which are contained in this three-DVD package. DVD special features include behind-the-scenes segments for each episode.

Dr. Gillian Magwilde (Julie Graham) is the leader of the archaeology team. Professor Gregory “Dolly” Parton and Dr. Ben Ergha (Adrian Lester) work on the team with her and Vivian Davis (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is an intern. Each episode is capable of standing on its own although you’ll get a better feeling for the characters as a whole if you watch the entire season.

The archaeological finds that are unearthed are always a bit of a mystery. They don’t tend to be found where they’re supposed to be and that’s part of the interest in the series. For example, the first episode is about a blood-stained piece of wood believed to be from the cross that Jesus was crucified on. It was found in a cave in England and nicely meshes with the legend of the Knights Templar.

The starting point of some of their archaeological finds is probably not historically accurate. It’s questionable whether or not a piece of bloodstained cross would actually be found in Bath or whether or not 18th-century manacled slaves would be found in a ship off the coast of England. The mystery behind the location of the artifacts is part of the draw of the stories.

There are flashbacks in history throughout each episode that add a bit more mystery to the investigations. Dr. Gillian Magwilde (Julie Graham) has occasional psychic flashbacks as well that give the series a bit of a sci-fi twist.

Given the subject matter of historic battles and mysteries, there is some violence in the series although it’s very well done and not overly graphic. Professor Gregory “Dolly” Parton (Hugh Bonneville) has a tendency to make comments with sexual connotations which portray him as a slightly dirty old man and there is the very occasional shot containing partial nudity.

All in all, the series is highly entertaining and historically interesting. It’s an enjoyable blend of history, science, and drama with just enough action to keep your attention. Given the very occasional nudity, I’m not sure I’d recommend it for younger children but the series would easily appeal to the PG-13 market. The series is not rated at the time of my review but does contain the warning “Contains violence and graphic scenes” so use your own best judgment.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.
  • As an archaeological scientist, I can say the show’s unremittingly inaccurate, and has been generally panned across the archaeological community, but that doesn’t stop us loving it as a guilty pleasure!