When it comes to the world of TV, few actors are lucky enough to star in multiple long-running hit series over the course of their careers. One of those blessed thespians is definitely David Boreanaz, who first burst onto the national stage via his work as troubled vampire with a soul Angel - as well as his soulless evil alter ego Angelus - on Joss Whedon's beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series in the late 1990s. So popular was Angel that the character received his own self-titled spin-off series in 1999, which ran 5 seasons and actually outlived Buffy by a year.
Following a near-decade playing Angel on both series, Boreanaz almost immediately followed Angel's end by landing the lead in FOX procedural Bones, opposite Emily Deschanel. Created by Hart Hanson and based on the writings of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, Bones' original premise concerned the cases worked by Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Deschanel) and her team at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C., and her initially somewhat antagonistic working relationship with FBI special agent Seeley Booth (Boreanaz). In the tradition of previous initially-frosty TV partnerships like The X-Files' Mulder and Scully, Bones and Booth eventually fell for each other, and are now married with a child. On TV - as in real life - a lot can change in 11 years.
For a large portion of its run, Bones getting renewed by FOX was seen as a foregone conclusion, with the series being a ratings winner from the jump and mostly maintaining its fanbase as the years have gone on. Unfortunately, the last couple of seasons have seen a steady dip in the ratings for Bones, with season 11's average in the 18-49 demographic falling below the 1.0 mark for the first time ever. At that point, it was becoming clear that Bones was reaching its end, but thankfully, FOX opted to reward long-time fans with a shortened 12th and final season instead of just canceling the series outright. That season has now been given a premiere date of Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
Unlike the 20-plus episode count of prior seasons, Bones' final season will consist of only 12 episodes, although fans of the show would no doubt agree that 12 new episodes is much better than no new episodes at all. After over a decade of success, one could argue that FOX owes Bones fans a worthy send-off, although it wouldn't be the first time that the network dropped the axe on a long-running hit show with no warning. For example, classic sitcom Married with Children - one of FOX's first success stories - aired for a whopping 11 seasons, before getting quietly canceled in 1997 without a proper series finale. Thankfully, that won't be the case for Bones.
As for what fans can expect from Bones' final run, FOX says that multiple past guest stars will return for another hurrah, as well as an old flame of one of the main team members. Fans will also be treated to what the network calls an "epic" serial killer storyline, as well as a wedding, and even a lumberjack competition. Final season or not, one can't argue that Bones' creative staff isn't going all out to try and make these last episodes memorable.
Bones season 12 premieres Tuesday, Jan 3, 2017 on FOX.