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Things You Only Notice About Bones After Watching It More Than Once

At first glance, "Bones" seems like just another police procedural in the style of "CSI." Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) examines the remains of murder victims whose bodies are unidentifiable by traditional methods. Together with her partner, FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), they solve murders and eventually do some smooching. Over 12 seasons, the pair foil multiple serial killers, solve the mystery of Brennan's parents' disappearance, and maybe confirm the existence of a second gunman at the JFK assassination.

"Bones" is a show that merits rewatching. For a show about murder, it's surprising TV comfort food. But on top of its plotting and character pleasures, "Bones" has many details that only come through on a rewatch. Character arcs are foreshadowed in ways you wouldn't expect, certain cameos become funnier, and you get a sense of the cosmology of the "Bones" universe. Here are things you only notice about "Bones" on that second watch. Or third. Or fourth. We won't judge.

The number 447

"Bones" came out in 2005, one year after "Lost" debuted. On the surface, the two shows couldn't be more different. "Bones" was mostly a mystery-of-the-week show, while "Lost" was serialized to the point of being nearly soap-operatic. "Bones" stayed grounded in forensic science, while "Lost" had smoke monsters and time travel. But one thing the two shows had in common was their use of arc numbers. The numbers were a huge deal on "Lost," and we eventually found out they represented the different candidates for Island Protector. "Bones" only had one arc number, 447, but it started popping up after Season 4 and ran all the way to the series finale.

The first time 447 shows up on "Bones," it's during a dream sequence. The Season 4 finale takes place in Booth's coma dream, where he and Brennan are married. They first have sex in the dream at 4:47 am, as clearly displayed on the clock. From then on, 447 pops up whenever Booth and Bones are about to take a big relationship step. It's 4:47 when they hook up for the first time, their daughter Christine is born at 4:47, and the bomb that destroys the Jeffersonian goes off at 4:47. "The way '447' worked for us was in more of a supernatural way," "Bones" Season 12 showrunner Michael Peterson told TV Line, "a harbinger or omen, signaling a redefining moment for Booth and Brennan." It was the universe's way of telling them that things were changing in an irreversible way.

Cameos from Homer Simpson and Universal Studios

Some of the hidden details in "Bones" were much less momentous than 447. Two Easter eggs pay homage to TV history. Season 5's "The Dwarf in the Dirt" guest stars Dan Castellaneta as a wisecracking police officer. Castellaneta is probably most well known for voicing Homer Simpson for more than 30 years. Shortly after Castellaneta's scene, we go to the Jeffersonian where Mr. Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright) walks in front of an X-ray of Homer Simpson's skull. We can see that Homer's brain is significantly smaller than his cranium, though the X-ray does not show evidence of the crayon that's been lodged in there since Season 12's "HOMR." The "Simpsons" references were part of a network-wide Simpsons Scavenger Hunt, where other Fox shows had "Simpsons" Easter eggs embedded to honor the cartoon family's 20th anniversary. According to the New York Times, other shows that participated included "Fringe."

Another piece of entertainment history that made a "Bones" cameo was Universal Studios' World Famous Studio Tour. Also known as the Tram Tour, it has been running at Universal Studios Hollywood since the '60s, as shown and referenced in movies like "Animal House" and "The Nude Bomb." On "Bones," the section of the tour called "Earthquake: the Big One" appears in Season 5. It plays the D.C. Metro in "The Bones on the Blue Line." Sweets (John Francis Daley) is on a subway car that derails, killing the woman sitting next to him.

Bones foreshadowed Angela's bisexuality

After Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) break up, her first rebound relationship is with an ex-girlfriend. Roxie comes back into Angela's life during, what else, a murder investigation. Until this point, "Bones" viewers had no indication that Angela was queer. Or did they? Hints of Angela's bisexuality bubbled up as early as Season 1.

Hodgins and Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) vie for a delivery girl's affection in Season 1's "The Man in the Bear." In the first episode where Bones and Booth have to work remotely, the two travel to Washington State to examine a human arm found inside a bear. The arm had evidence of cannibalism on it. Brennan sends samples back to the Jeffersonian for analysis, which brings delivery worker Toni to the attention of the squints. Zack and Hodgins both flirt with her but eventually make her choose which one she's into. She winds up choosing Angela, who is extremely flattered. Maybe they went out for drinks.

Buffy crossovers

Before "Bones," David Boreanaz was known best for his work on "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," where he played the vampire with a soul. There are only so many actors in the world, and three long-running shows that all feature mystery/monster-of-the-week plotting are going to go through their share of character actors. T.J. Thyne played a Wolfram & Hart lawyer on "Angel" before becoming Boreanaz's regular co-star. Nevertheless, there were a significant number of "Buffy" and "Angel" alums who popped up on "Bones." It was always interesting seeing them interact with Boreanaz under very different circumstances.

Harry Groener, who played the evil Mayor of Sunnydale, shows up as a shady plastic surgeon in Season 1. Bianca Lawson, who played Kendra the vampire slayer, plays the mistress of a gambling den in Season 4's "Fire in the Ice." Toni, the delivery girl, also played a vampire slayer on Buffy, but one who shared no scenes with Angel. Adam Baldwin, who starred on "Firefly" before playing a Wolfram & Hart baddie on "Angel" appears as an FBI agent on "Bones." And Baldwin's "Firefly" co-star, Gina Torres, played a goddess on "Angel" before playing a doctor guilty of insider trading on "Bones."

Ghosts in limbo

Bones is a self-professed atheist and skeptic, yet "Bones" has dipped its toes in the spiritual and supernatural more than once. Part of the show's appeal is the tension between uber rational Brennan and deeply Catholic Booth. From psychics to spirit guides, the show has managed to remain agnostic about what happens after you die. It's only after watching the show more than once that you notice how many times the gang has encountered something supernatural.

Many moments of contact with the great beyond come from Avalon, Angela's psychic. Played by Cyndi Lauper, Avalon first comes into the Jeffersonian fold in Season 5's opener, "Harbingers in a Fountain." Avalon helps solve the murder of her twin sister using her psychic powers. Avalon is also involved in what fans have called the worst episode of the show, "The Ghost in the Machine." That episode is told entirely from the perspective of the ghost of a victim. 

Ghosts show up more than once on "Bones." In "Hero in the Hold," Booth is aided by the ghost of his soldier buddy, though that ghost might have been a hallucination from his brain tumor. The ghost of a witch might have influenced a Season 2 episode, when Temperance spent one episode stuck in limbo between life and death, with the spirit of her mother guiding her. And after his death, Sweets may have babysat Booth and Bones' daughter. "Bones” also had a crossover episode with "Sleepy Hollow," a show where ghosts and ghoulies definitely do exist. If the two shows share a world, doesn't that mean witches and books that could cause Armageddon exist just outside the Jeffersonian's doors? We'd better ask Avalon.