Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Castle, "Nanny McDead": To protect and serve, and to participate and annoy

Quick spoilers for last night's "Castle" coming up just as soon as I find my recap for the "NYPD Blue" episode guest-starring Castle's mom...

This is the other episode I saw in advance, and I still don't have a lot to say about this show beyond my liking Nathan Fillion a lot, and to a lesser extent liking his interaction with Stana Katic.

The mystery wasn't as predictable as I assumed it would be (it seemed so obvious that the first husband was having an affair with the nanny, and that either he or his wife would be the killer, that I was relieved when they were eliminated as suspects 10 minutes later), but nor was the resolution that interesting. I was almost hoping that Castle's fantasy scenario of the stalker neighbor would turn out to be exactly right, but instead it was just the other nanny having an affair with her boss. Meh.

Speaking of Castle's loner fantasy, that scene, and the brief glimpse of the book he's writing based on Kate Beckett (aka Nikki Heat... sigh...) could threaten to create the "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" problem, where what we see of the great writer's work doesn't seem so great. But the advantage "Castle" has is that it really doesn't matter if Castle is a brilliant prose stylist; all that matters is that we believe he's a best-selling author. And there are plenty of mystery authors who are successful without being especially good. We have to believe that Castle has some level of insight into how crime works, or else what's the point of the show? But the fact that he names his new character Nikki Heat isn't a deal-breaker.

What did everybody else think?

31 comments:

Matt said...

Actually, isn't part of the point that Castle's not a terribly good writer, but an enjoyable pulpy one who has an innate sense of how people tick--in other words, almost exactly the kind of writer that would name a character "Nikki Heat."

Is it fluffy and silly? Absolutely. But it's the best thing on at 10 PM on Mondays by a pretty good margin, at least on the networks, though "Saving Grace" over on TNT is almost worth watching for Holly Hunter's performance alone.

marenamoo said...

Truthfully - I am just having fun. I enjoy light mystery/procedural shows so I am drawn to shows like (the superior) Burn Notice, Leverage and Chuck. I find that Bones is too shippery and goofy now. I also like Stana Katic as the female lead rather than Robin Tunney in The Mentalist - which is its major drawback for me for that show.

I also really like Nathan Fillion and I can see where beneath his playfulness is a serious responsible person. I am having a hard time with the notion that the police would let a civilian be this intrusive into real situations - come on an Interrogation? But really it is just fun. If I wanted serious I could watch Criminal Minds.

David said...

I'm not completely sold on staying with this show. I like some of the charm, but the case was meh. The big thing is the female lead. I don't buy her as a murder police. The biggest thing was how she held her weapon. I wondered if they gave here any weapons training at all. (I know that this isn't really that kind of show, but still....) I think Bonnie Somerville would have been a better fit (besides the NYPD Blue connection). But that's just me, being a backseat casting director.

jlf said...

I just loved seeing an Everwood alum on any tv show. Woot for Sarah Drew!

mjryan said...

Like you, Alan, I thought I had this solved 10 minutes in. In fact, my husband asked me who did it, assuming I would know since I've been accurately calling what's going to happen on Damages from the beginning. So, I was happy that I was wrong but dissatisfied in the resolution. The second cheating husband was so obviously a cheating husband - if his hair hadn't given it away the fact that he's a musician would have (no offense to musicians; I'm snarking about stereotypes here) - and the nanny as killer was pedestrian. I wavered between wanting the fictional loner in 8E and the grandma tiffed at waiting for the dryer to be the killer. Either one would be more satisfying.

Nikki Heat is a horrible name. Just horrible. Here's hoping that he changes it but doubting he will.

I thought the chemistry between the leads was much better but I can see their flirty, playful, sarcastic banter getting old, quick. Like another poster said, there's nothing else better on at 9 pm on Monday and until there is, Castle is it.

MCB said...

I was afraid to even watch this show because of the lame promos, but two episodes in, I'm really enjoying it! I like Stana Katic much more than I thought I would (in the promos she looked humorless and uninteresting), and Nathan Fillion is awesome as always. It's crime-show fluff, to be sure, but it's entertaining.

"Nikki Heat" is an awful name, though in keeping with what we know about Castle and his books. I like that Castle doesn't take himself or his work too seriously. One of my favorite lines in the pilot was when Castle commented that one of the books the killer was imitating was one of his "lesser works -- come on, satanic cults run amok?" (or something to that effect). I don't think the "Studio 60" problem will be much of an issue here, for the reasons Alan and Matt lined out -- he's not being passed off as a genius artist, just a very successful mystery writer, and it's OK if what we see of his work is a bit cheesy or melodramatic because we know that stuff sells.

spiderpig said...

If the producers of the show were counting on people watching just because the incredibly charming Nathan Fillion is in it, they were absolutely right about me. I would watch him in anything and this show ... well it's not the greatest, but I'll keep watching as long as he keeps makes me smile.

The premise of the show is not at all new, but seriously how many shows are there now where a civilian tags along with cops (or FBI, whatever) and helps them do their jobs? Are they not training law enforcement officers like they used to? Okay, yeah, some of those shows have civilians with a very specific skill set (i.e. a mathematical genius or forensic anthropology), but come on - oservation skills, the ability to "read" people and/or come up with creative stories? These are not things that a policman/detective/federal investigator can learn? Really?

Jennifer said...

I can see him picking "Nikki Heat" to annoy Kate. This guy's not gonna write Pulitzers, and that's fine.

Anyway, I still think it's fun. They were trying to be unpredictable with the case, which I enjoyed. Also "condoms in the bathroom." I do like how he goes from fun guy to serious guy when his family's around.

Was anyone else kinda hypnotized when Castle started going on about the "guy in 8b"? Heck, I was. NF is gooooooood.

Matt said...

Well, here, it seems that the Mayor (a fan and/or buddy of Castle) has ordered the Police Comissioner to let Castle tag along with whoever he wants (provided he signs whatever waiver they require). Plausible in the real world? Not so much. Plausible enough for TV? Sure.

bsangs said...

Anybody else think the picture Alan used with this post makes Stana Katic look like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day?

I've DVRed "Castle," but haven't watched yet. But I'll give it a go since somebody above compared it favorably to "Burn Notice" and "Leverage" - two of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the name of the actor who played the bad guy? He looked very familiar to me but I couldn't place him.

Eric said...

I had "why do I recognize that actress?" moments with two of the guest stars that I needed IMDB to track down: Sarah Drew was Bianca in Wonderfalls, and Jayne Brook was Abby Jacobs in Sports Night. For some reason, I look more kindly on shows that use guest stars from shows I've previously liked (I was inclined to like the first episode of Leverage I watched since it had Danny Strong and Sam Anderson, not to mention Christian Kane). It's a small (TV) world.

I don't know if Castle is a long-term investment, but as others have said, it's fluffy fun that is surprisingly watchable because of Nathan Fillion, so I'll keep watching.

Kelly said...

Does anyone know the name of the actor who played the bad guy? He looked very familiar to me but I couldn't place him.

If you mean the cheating musician husband than you've most likely seen him on daytime television. I know he's been on a soap opera but I couldn't tell you which one.

I like this show because Nathan is my Canadian boyfriend and I will watch anything he's in. Really. I've seen White Noise 2 people.

Did anyone else giggle when Castle threw out that line about seeing it on a soap opera, "One Life to LIve"? It's just like my Canadian boyfriend to poke fun at himself. I didn't actually watch him on that soap opera (erm, I know it sounds like I watch a lot of soaps, but I don't, my mum does) but apparently he played a guy named Joey and was very popular.

Just some random facts about my Canadian boyfriend who will someday become my Canadian husband and I will bear his Canadian children. And since I myself am Canadian, the two of us and our 2.5 children will be an awesome vortex of Canadian coolness.

Also, I sort of like the lead female character, she's cute and can hold her own against Castle. I'll keep watching this show because one - he's my boyfriend (my CANADIAN boyfriend) and two - it's way, way, way better than stupid CSI Miami and stupid David "watch me put my sunglasses on and turn sideways with a somber look on my face." Caruso.

Bob in SA said...

This show is much better than the competition. Nikki Heat--what. a. name! I agree it would have been better if it had turned out like Castle's story in the squad room; the fact he had everyone spellbound made it hilarious when he "turned it off," especially when the lieutenant said he now really wanted to know who lived in 8B (or whatever number it was).

Will they have other poker games as they had in the pilot?

jana said...

I liked the show. Didn't watch last week, so this was my first run. I think I'm in since CSI Miami is completely old, hence the previous posters response.

My only real problem was that, while I enjoyed the police stuff and the lead's interactions, every time Castle was at home interacting with mom and daughter, I was completely taken out of the story. (sorry for the run-on sentence)

MCB said...

it's way, way, way better than stupid CSI Miami and stupid David "watch me put my sunglasses on and turn sideways with a somber look on my face." Caruso

Kelly, every time I see a promo with a Caruso sunglasses shot, I half hope he'll poke himself in the eye with the earpiece. And "Horatio Caine" is an even worse name than "Nikki Heat." The problem with the CSIs is that the gorier and more ridiculous they get, the more seriously they taken themselves. "Castle" is definitely a nice break from all of that, especially since I've gotten a bit bored with "Bones."

Anonymous said...

I certainly remember Bianca in (the late, lamented) Wonderfalls*, but Abby Jacobs is slipping my memory. Which ep of Sports Night was she in?

* Speaking of which, any word on run date for the rest of Pushing Daisies?

abby said...

I quite enjoy this show, very likely because I was raised on Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back, Remington Steele, and Moonlighting.

Yes, the writing is pedestrian and the plots prosaic (thus the 80's vibe). But Nathan Fillion has enough charisma and sex appeal to more than compensate.

That said, I suspect he's a show killer. Frankly I assume his bad karma is why this show has been largely negatively reviewed while each version of bloody CSI continues to succeed. I expect this show will join the ranks of Firefly and Drive and elevate him to the Paula Marshall level. It's a pity and a mystery as his is an uncomplicated, undemanding, and lighthearted charm. I thought that was what folks are supposed to be hungry for in trying times?

When NBC can't find a way to make money on Kings I understand. When SciFi can't get women to watch BSG I understand. But when network television can't figure out a way to take such a bankable commodity as Mr. Fillion to the bank......

Matt said...

Abby Jacobs (played by Jayne Brook) was Dan's therapist off and on during the second season. Perhaps most memorably, she dealt with his inability to say "Yevgeny Kafelnikov."

Melanie said...

I'm liking this more than I thought I would from the previews - my only reason for tuning in was to see Kelly's Canadian boyfriend. I thought the story in this ep was pretty good, but how did Sarah Drew get Nanny Dead's body up from the floor and into the dryer?

I do find myself wishing that the writers would dial down the Castle character's glibness by a couple of notches. As much as I love NF, he's just a little TOO smooth here.

Stef said...

If the producers of the show were counting on people watching just because the incredibly charming Nathan Fillion is in it, they were absolutely right about me. I would watch him in anything and this show ... well it's not the greatest, but I'll keep watching as long as he keeps makes me smile.

Ditto. I too am in love with Kelly's Canadian boyfriend (his fists are NOT the hammer) and will continue watching for that reason and for the aforementioned lack of any other time slot alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else sense a real Gilmore Girls vibe from the family group? The parent and child who are best friends, where the parent is responsible but not nearly as much so as the kid, and the grandparent is separate, for a good reason. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

My vote on "Nikki Heat" is that it is lame name, but its very existence locates it and everything around it firmly in pulp mystery novel land. So, a good name after all.

Michael said...

I remember Jayne Brook mostly from "Chicago Hope" as Dr. Diane Grad.

Stana Katic was Hana "Wireless" Gitelman from season 1 of "Heroes".

Susan Sullivan was the mom in both "Dharma & Greg" and "Falcon Crest".

George Newberg, the first dad who played Jayne Brook's husband, was the voice of Superman in the Justice League cartoons.

Kelly said...

Ditto. I too am in love with Kelly's Canadian boyfriend (his fists are NOT the hammer)

Hee! The only person as awesome as my Canadian boyfriend Nathan Fillion is my gay boyfriend Neil Patrick Harris! The combination of the two in one awesome internet movie was almost more than I could handle.

MCB - The promo where there's a big hole blown out of "H's" sunglasses and you can see his body laying on the ground through them made me laugh so hard I fell out of my chair. Seriously, could it get any cheesier than that?

Jenn said...

I tuned in for Nathan Fillion but was pleasantly surprised by several things: the chemistry with his partner (so much more than Jane/Lisbon on The Mentalist), the relationships with the mother and daughter, how he's not immediately perfect at detecting, and the dream weaving about the man in 8B.

Most shows I really like get cancelled (e.g. Life on Mars) so I hope this one stays around.

Badass Badlan said...

Is Castle really going to write a novel every episode? He was clearly writing his first 'Nikki Heat' novel at the end of the pilot, having broken his writer's block, but he seemed to be penning a book based on the nanny-murdering at the end of this one. My point: Is Castle going to have two dozen finished literary works by the end of the series, thus making him as prolific as Stephen King, Jeffrey Deaver and Dean Koontz combined?

MCB said...

Badass Badlan, did the snippet we saw at the end of the episode refer to the nanny-killing specifically? I thought it was just a paragraph about how Nikki has had her heart broken, character filler based on what Castle learned about Kate during this case. I assume the novels will be spaced out around 1 or 2 per season -- 1 per episode does seem a little insane! I hope that's not what they're implying.

Karen said...

I am pretty damn fond of Kelly's Canadian boyfriend myself, and even managed to make it through Slither without gagging (too much) in order to see him. I, too, think that his charisma is more than enough to carry a show. I'm not sure that comparing his ability to carry "Castle" to his ability to carry "Drive" is valid, as Kelly's Canadian boyfriend didn't appear NEARLY often enough in the latter.

I don't love but don't hate the relationship with Castle and Beckett. I'm not crazy about Susan Sullivan as the mom, mostly because I don't like the character of the mom, not because I don't like Susan Sullivan. The daughter, alas, is the Central Casting wise child, a type of which I am sick to death, but I do like Castle's relationship with her.

I think we need more scenes of the poker game. And episodes with guests like George Newbern, Sarah Drew, and Jayne Brook.

Stef said...

I am pretty damn fond of Kelly's Canadian boyfriend myself, and even managed to make it through Slither without gagging (too much) in order to see him.

I, too, watched Slither because of him, but it really did make me gag. Could never watch it again.

Edd said...

"Is Castle really going to write a novel every episode? He was clearly writing his first 'Nikki Heat' novel at the end of the pilot, .... "


He probably is!

In the pilot, his vicious publisher/ex-wife threatened make him return the advance she'd given him on his book-in-progress which was due in three weeks. If he can junk the work he'd done on that book to do a new book based on his new heroine, Nikki Heat, and still make that deadline, then I'm sure he can pump out a new novel each week. I think we've agreed that he's a popular writer, not a particularly good one. ;-)

I was very impressed how he could spend all day investigating crime with the cops and then knock out a novel in a few minutes at home before he went to bed.

Nicole said...

It seems as though all the female leads on this show are required to have a tinge of red hair.. it doesn't suit Susan Sullivan so well and makes her look older than she actually is.

Other than that nitpick, I have really been enjoying this show and while I am reminded of Life when I watch this, it's for all the good reasons. Kelly's Canadian boyfriend is a charmer so much so that there may be a Canadian turf war for his attention when he next crosses the border.

I am not too concerned about the name "Nikki Heat", despite my personal aversion to the moniker "Nikki". It fits with his previous hero name, Derek Storm, and has porn star elements that would probably piss her off.

And Jason Brooks was on Days of our Lives, which is where I recognize him from.