By Susan JAMES
The highly anticipated annual television festival PaleyFest took place during the first two weeks of March at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
A celebration of some of television’s most popular series, PaleyFest is run by the Paley Center for Media and offers fans the unique opportunity to interact with industry stars and producers. Each night of the festival features the special screening of an upcoming episode of a favorite show, together with a panel discussion by its creators and a Q&A session with the audience. Thirteen series from seven different networks were featured this year and among the best attended panels were those for the crime-solving romantic dramedys, “Bones” and “Castle.”
Michael Ausiello of the online blog TVLine moderated the panel for the Fox hit series “Bones,” which is now in its seventh season. On hand to discuss the show were creator Hart Hanson, show runner Stephen Nathan, and actors Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, T.J. Thyne, Michaela Conlin and John Francis Daley. Screened was an upcoming episode that will air on April 2, “The Prisoner in the Pipe,” which was received with tumultuous applause by fans as it showcased the highly anticipated birth of the daughter of Dr. Temperance Brennan (Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (Boreanaz). Its mix of comedy and pathos had some fans reaching for their tissue.
Afterward the panel discussed the upcoming season. Expect the return of tech-savvy serial killer Chris Pelant, played by Andrew Leeds. According to Deschanel: “Pelant comes back and changes things very dramatically forever between Booth and Brennan and the baby.”
Hanson and Nathan were enthusiastic about four standalone episodes now being filmed that Hanson called “very weird.” One focuses on 9/11 and one on a famous Banksy-esque graffiti artist.
“They’re not normal ‘Bones’ episodes,” he said. “They’re just odd.” When these episodes will screen has yet to be determined by the studio.
William Keck of “TV Guide” moderated the “Castle” panel, ABC’s popular series now in its fourth year. Panelists included creator-producer Andrew Marlowe and actors Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn, Tamala Jones, Susan Sullivan and Penny Johnson Jerald. Marlowe screened a new episode titled, “A Dance With Death” that will air March 19. A murder mystery that riffs on the highly successful series, “Dances With The Stars,” the story sends Detective Kate Beckett (Katic) and her partner, crime writer Rick Castle (Fillion), on a hunt for the murderer of one of the contestants.
Fans of “Bones” waited six long years for the lead characters to finally seal the deal at the end of last season. “Castle” fans are now clamoring for the same resolution for Beckett and Castle. Katic agrees that now is the time, but Fillion is more cautious.
“The dance [between them] has been tastefully done, but,” he admits, “I don’t think it’s something that can be done forever.” Creator Andrew Marlowe, the magician who pulls the strings, is enigmatic.
“As you guys know,” he told the audience, “Castle and Beckett are both keeping pretty significant secrets from each other. And as we get to this last run of episodes their secrets will start to come out. Both characters and all the characters around them will have to deal with the emotional consequences. Interesting things will happen.”
For fans of both “Bones” and “Castle,” PaleyFest provides a special opportunity to preview their favorite shows and to ask questions of those who make them happen.