I stopped writing about Bones about two years ago. It had stopped being fun. The show seemed to stop being the kind of show that really benefits from tons of analysis. Instead, it seemed to fall strongly into a procedural crime drama where the characters weren’t as engaging, and the plots seemed designed just to create overly cutesy moments that Fox could use in its promos.

Then, at the end of season five, the show decided to try something a little bit risky. After pushing its central relationship, Booth and Brennan, to the breaking point, the show sent them each off to their respective safety places (amusingly, Afghanistan and a third world island). Then, for season six, it brought them both back a year later, allowing a large amount of character development to happen off screen. It also allowed the supporting characters to mature, although maybe not as much as I would have really liked. I was a little wary of this when it happened, but it turned out great. It was a development that allowed the *spoiler alert* season-ending romantic conclusion to feel truly earned. The show’s decision to effectively fast forward the Booth/Brennan romantic relationship by having Brennan get pregnant may have been motivated by Emily Deschanel’s real life pregnancy, but it felt an unbelievably appropriate way for us to avoid awkward first dates and pretend “will they break up” drama.

So, it’s appropriate then, that Season Seven of Bones feels truly like a new beginning for the show. The same old, comfortable structures are there— it’d be unfair for one to expect Bones to suddenly become a different, more adventurous and rule-pushing show – but it is remarkable how easily this major show change is going down. Honestly, Booth and Brennan have felt like a couple since Season Three, when any sort of will-they-or-wont-they tension sort of melted into constant frustration at the fact that these two clearly knew they were in love with each other. But it’s always scary when a major driver of plots is removed from a show. In the case of Bones, the showrunners clearly have enough respect for their characters to know that now that Booth and Brennan are together , it’s to stay. But that doesn’t mean they won’t seriously piss each other off along the way.

As with every other season, Bones is held afloat (and made to feel like a much better show than it actually is) by the performances and chemistry of Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. At this point, they slip so effortlessly into the depth and adoration of their relationship with all its bumps and bruises that they make you want to continue along with them. And the writers are clearly re-energized by the new story they get to play with. Color me excited for delving back into a procedural that I thought was dead two seasons ago.