Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Castle, "The Fifth Bullet": Face doesn't ring a bell

"Castle" is one of those shows I watch from time to time but rarely write about, in part because it usually takes me a few days to get all the way through an episode. (It's something I tend to put on for a few minutes in between other things.) But I watched all of last night's episode - which paired Nathan Fillion with fellow strapping Whedon alum Marc Blucas, and threw in Anne Dudek and the ambiguous ethnicity of Carlo Rota for good measure, as the show has become quite good at guest casting - and thought I'd take the temperature of the room on the state of the series.

The ratings have been better this season, thanks in part to Jay Leno, and it seems to me that the chemistry between Fillion and Stana Katic is stronger and less forced than at the start of the series. (Or perhaps I've just gotten used to them.) I still don't love the mysteries, but they've gotten better at coming up with the sort of hooks that would intrigue a guy like Castle - what mystery writer wouldn't want to work a case involving amnesia? - and the plotting is mostly an excuse to let Castle annoy Beckett for an hour.

If you're watching, what do you think? Any areas where you feel the show could improve itself? Or do you just like Fillion enough that the rest is window dressing?

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haven't watched it yet myself this week, but it's a staple for me. Like good comfort food, I ALWAYS know I will laugh with Castle, I ALWAYS know they will be witty naughty laughs, I ALWAYS look forward to guessing the guest cast, and the family side is toned just right to offset the character. This isn't a show about Castle "becoming a man." It's about Castle being Castle. Rock on.

-EmeraldLiz

NancySC said...

I have to admit to being a real Fillion fan, but I like the show in other ways. Mostly well-written, good balance of arc and episode, home life and crime of the day, comedy and thriller. I probably like it better for the interpersonal stuff than the crime, but think the mysteries usually work well.

Brandy said...

I like Castle. It's mindless entertainment that I usually don't get to until at least Tuesday and often times later... but it's fun mindless entertainment and really sort of what you want late on a Monday night.

Maura said...

I love Nathan Fillion. I've watched countless episodes of Two Girls and a Guy. That's how much I love him. But even with all of Fillion's charm, "Castle" doesn't do much for me. I love the stuff with his mother and his daughter, and he's perfect as Castle, but the scenes with him and Beckett bug me. I just don't think Fillion and Stanic have enough chemistry to pull off "cop with annoying partner". I wish Beckett were more likable. She's just kind of humorless. Even her crankiness isn't especially funny.

Still, I do watch every 4th episode or so, and I'm happy to see NF in a successful series.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with what everyone's saying. It's a good show, not a great one, and without Fillion it wouldn't even be that. But it's fun and relaxing and enjoyable. And this season is definitely better than last. The actors (and writers) seem to have a better handle on their characters and are more relaxed. And I like that they've increased the screen time of the ensemble. I like the other two cops.

Matt said...

The non-Katic cops are still fairly dull, and the mysteries (while improved) are a pretext for the characters, but the Castle-Beckett pairing works, and the Castle family stuff is smart and tender--in particular, they're writing a very plausible teenager in Alexis, and finding smart ways to keep her involved in the story.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of NCIS--the mysteries there are also often lame and little more than an excuse for the characters to bounce off one another.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm in the minority since I watch the show because of the chemistry between Castle and Beckett. I like their repartee and the mysteries are getting better. I also like any show that can use an "icehole" joke and pull it off.

Karen said...

We're two episodes behind at this point, but intend to catch up. Nothing has changed, as far as I'm concerned, from the beginning - I still watch it because of Fillion, would never watch it without him, and don't care much about the plots or other characters, although it's nice to see Ruben Santiago-Hudson and some cool guest stars. But for me, Fillion is enough. (Qualifier: but not sufficient, now that I think of it - never watched Desperate Housewives, despite his being in it, after having endured that show's pilot.) Like Burn Notice and White Collar (which I'm now also two episodes behind on), it's not a show I can imagine discussing or reading about - not enough there.

R.A. Porter said...

It's like mac&cheese for me. I enjoy it as comforting, empty calories that don't make me think too much and let me enjoy watching Fillion *clearly* enjoy himself.

The mysteries have been moderately unpredictable this season, at least in that the highest profile guest stars haven't always been the killers. But they're secondary to the banter anyway.

I really like Castle's home life and think it's nice to see a functional family with smart people of three generations. In some ways that side of the show reminds me (a very little) of Modern Family in that it can mine humor out of healthy relationships.

As for last night...poor Anne Dudek (or poor me, more likely.) I'm stuck. No matter how many wonderful roles she plays, no matter how many characters she fully inhabits, my first reaction to her is always the same. Hence my tweet while watching last night:

And then you got amnesia. On my birthday!

Watts said...

This is not meant as an insult AT ALL, but sometimes Castle very much reminds me of shows I like on USA (Psych, In Plain Sight, White Collar). Which means it's fun to watch, but not urgently so, and there's really not much to engender discussion.

Mike said...

I think it's a better show than anyone gives it credit for, because it seems so breezy and simple. The new eps have been tighter and funnier, and the Katic/Fillion dynamic is getting very interesting. I also like how they're making many obvious acknowledgements to fans of Fillion from the scifi world, even though it's very much not that kind of show.

Ian said...

Castle's not "great TV" in the manner of Friday Night Lights, but a show doesn't have to be in order to be eminently enjoyable (hello, Leverage).

Pretty much everything's improved since the first season. Beckett's less stiff and more natural (and sometimes she even fakes stiffness to set Castle up, which is great), and the expanded role of the ensemble cast (both Castle's family and the other cops) makes the show feel more "lived in". Some great Whedon-y guest casting of late too! D.B. Woodside was fantastic a few epsidoes ago, and Marc Blucas last night.

Sarah M said...

I love Castle, hand to God. The writing is good, the relationships are fantasic, and Nathan Fillion is epically shiny (as always). Hell, my father enjoys it and laughs along and trust me, my father is not one to laugh quickly at a tv show.

Mike said...

It's just a great hour of easy entertainment a week. And while it doesn't blow you away like Chuck or Lost would with pathos and mythology, I like to think of it as a reliable show where you know what you're going to get out of it.

If I did have one complaint, I would like to see them start to carry out a central ongoing storyline from week to week more consistently. They certainly have the will they/won't they thing going but it's a slow slow burn.

They have the whole murder backstory with Beckett's mom but we haven't heard a peep from that since the first ep of this season.

We know absolutely nothing about Espisito's or Ryans background except for I think Ryan has a girlfriend.

What about Castle? What skeleton's does he have in his closet besides Alexi's crazy mother? Why does he write? That whole scene where he told Beckett the story about his parents ended up being a joke. I know we've seen a little bit and based on some information out there (which I'll not talk about so you don't get mad at me Alan for discussing spoilers) we find out a little more coming up with a certain big name guest star, but still, like I said, I would like more central character storylines to follow week to week to go along with the procedural part of the show.

Oh, and we definitely need more scenes where Beckett interacts with Castle and his family. With Alexis and Martha kind of being the heart of the show, I just love it when they draw Beckett into that too because it really tends to open up a side of her that is so enjoyable but she keeps hidden almost all the time.

Chazz Goodtimes said...

Fillion is great and Katic's character has developed more of a unique personality this year. The back and forth between them is fun to watch and the show does a good job of using Castle's perspective of an author on each case instead of just another body in the room.

But doesn't Bones do everything Castle tries to do only a little bit better? The chemistry between the leads, the uniqueness of the investigative approach, the supporting cast, the overarching story lines, all seem to be better executed on Bones.

Castle is on my DVR list and right now its tied with Fringe as the first to be deleted when the cue fills up. I'm not giving up on Castle yet but I'm not sure there is enough to the show right now to keep me interested. I really wish they'd develop the investigation into Beckett's mom's death a little more because otherwise there is very little that connects the episodes.

David J. Loehr said...

I want it to pick one style and do it well. If it were purely Fillion doing a male "Murder, She Wrote" with his family in tow, that's something I'd watch every week.

If it were purely the more grounded--I don't dare say more realistic--police side of things, then maybe. I'm police-procedural'd out these days, and at it's best, this is not a very good one.

But as this weird blend? It hurts my brain. Every episode I've watched, Beckett has to be blind, deaf and dumb not to figure things out ahead of Castle. The chemistry is a little better than last year, but it still doesn't charm as much as they'd probably like.

I check it out every now and then--the idea of Castle's Halloween costume was good fun--but it's not a show I miss when I don't see it.

Fillion unleashed on the world, that would be much more fun.

Ian said...

Chazz: I mostly agree, except that IMO the character definition on Castle is more consistent. Bones continues to have the problem where different writers give Brennan wildly varying amounts of stiff-science-Asperger's. Some weeks she's a normal woman who happens to be smart and a little formal, and then she reverts to "tact? what's that mean?" from season 1 a week later.

By contrast, Beckett's un-stiffening is a slow burn, but it's consistent, believable, and in one direction.

Chazz Goodtimes said...

IAN: I think that's a valid point- the inconsistency in Brennan's social awkwardness (or as you more aptly put it 'stiff-science Aspergers') is annoying at times. Overall I think the Chemistry is more compelling between the leads on Bones then on Castle.

Maura said...

Chazz Goodtimes said: But doesn't Bones do everything Castle tries to do only a little bit better? The chemistry between the leads, the uniqueness of the investigative approach, the supporting cast, the overarching story lines, all seem to be better executed on Bones.

I think so, particularly when it comes to the chemistry between the two stars (and I obviously have a thing for Whedon's faves, because I would never have watched Bones if it weren't for David B.). I agree with Ian regarding Brennan's inconsistent characterization. Either way, she's the most annoying character on the show, but you never know which Brennan you're going to get. At least Beckett is consistent.

And, oops, I did an accidental mash-up of Katic's first and last names. I can never keep her name straight.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Bones (being a better form of Castle) mainly because the ancillary characters are so much more developed. Whether that's because the show has been on so much longer or due to the science needing more people to explain it per episode than a police procedural does, I don't know. Maybe both. But the supporting cast is better in Bones so far.

J.J. said...

I like the show.

It's fluffy enough that I can turn it off if an episode isn't doing it for me (and not worry I'm missing essential story arc info, since you can pick this show up any week and put it down whenever you want without getting lost story-wise).

Castle's just a fun character. Even if the series premise makes no sense, even if I'm not sure I buy any of the cops as cops, even if I'm not sure I buy Castle as a writer, and even if Castle's cutesy family completely bores me. Castle himself is fun enough to make up for it most episodes. Probably just because the actor is very playful and likeable.

Interestingly, I only got sucked into watching this show in the first place because I was bombarded with ads for it about a year ago when I watched the entire first four seasons of "Lost" on ABC's website where they force you to watch commercials to stream their content. I know a lot of these networks are dragging their feet on online content, because I guess it's too unconventional for them to be able to demand serious advertising money for it... but watching "Lost" on ABC's website is honestly the first time in a long time that any non-NFL programming has sucked me into sitting still while somebody gave me their sales pitch.

Hannah Lee said...

I’m enjoying Castle. It’s not a show that I rush to watch, but I always enjoy it when I catch up on it.

While the mysteries aren’t usually that tricky or deep and dark, the characters are smart and interesting, plus as you mention, Alan, the guest stars have been pretty interesting, turning in strong performances.

The show has done a pretty good job balancing a weekly mystery, the Castle-Beckett dynamic, and Castle’s home life. Most current procedurals have leads that are more emotionally unavailable, isolated and/or tragic than Castle, so his relatively stable and loving family life is a nice change for this type of show. As much as I like her, I am getting a little concerned that the show is relying too much on Alexis as a catalyst for emotional or “Ah Ha!” moments, but that for now is a minor nitpit.

Plus, the people who work on Castle seem to actually be having fun while making this show, so that gives Castle an energy that few other procedurals have.

Nicole said...

I started watching the show because I liked the chemistry between Fillion and Katic. It is reminiscent of Hepburn and Tracey.

(I also like that they are both Canucks on a prime-time US network show). I am also warming to the daughter, who at first seemed a little too Mary Sue, but now has a little more substance. Fillion has great chemistry with her too and it's nice to see a not so dysfunctional father daughter relationship on television.

I still forget about the other detectives more often than not, but that could be a function of the show's focus on the Fillion/Katic dynamic more than the fault of the actors. They could improve and be a bit more memorable, kinda like the non Simon Baker cops on the Mentalist, who all have more distinguishing personalities.

Karl Ruben said...

What Mike said above about the completely non-existent character development regarding Esposito and Ryan became such an irritant to me that I quit watching a couple of episodes ago. I recognise the need to turn off parts of the brain for procedurals like this, and not to expect much when it comes to continuing storylines, but Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas are regulars on the show! 18 episodes, and when they still hadn't been fleshed out beyond "bland, stereotypical male Irish or Latino detectives", I was gone. (The same goes for Tamala Jones and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, but they're not in every episode)

shara says said...

I definitely agree with the class that this is a very watchable, enjoyable show. I look forward to it every week, because I know that I have an hour of guaranteed smiles and giggles.

I started watching because of Nathan Fillion - he's the reason I gave it a chance, because I thought that the previews looked horrible back before the show premiered. He's the primary reason I continue to watch - although all the characters are likable and the family dynamics are wonderful, and I do think that he has great chemistry with Stana Katic.

To improve:
1) Some sort of ongoing storyline - the mystery of her mother was a great start, but it just got dropped. Right now its too straight-procedural. I like it, so I'll watch whether or not it takes any more steps toward increasing its quality and compelling-ness. But I think it has a LOT of potential to build on itself and become something really interesting and special. They could start small, introducing little bits of ongoing story, and just expand from there. Maybe give them a few cases that take more than one week to solve, maybe pick back up the mystery of her mother, etc.

2) Fillion CAN carry the show but wouldn't it be great if he didn't have to? Give the other actors something more to do - without fleshing out the supporting characters (the cops especially) more, the show is kind of at a standstill in terms of quality. They should improve the quality of the interaction of the supporting cast at the police station so that it matches the brilliant level of the interaction among Castle's family members. Give the other cops some backstory and ongoing progressions in their personal lives. Show us more of Beckett and Lanie's friendship outside of work.

3) More of Castle's daughter! I have really liked the increase of her interactions with Beckett. Their growing bond is something that I really like about the show.

Basically, the show has lots of potential. I won't stop watching if it doesn't improve, because it has the Guaranteed Enjoyment Factor as is. However, if it doesn't build on what its got and take the show to another level, it will be a major missed opportunity.

word verification - dibilyo

kimshum said...

This ep was one of the weaker attempts from a season that's been quite solid so far. I take issue with the lack of urgency of the storyline - no one seemed to care very much that someone was dead, not even Marc Blucas' character who was almost killed...not that you'd know it from his blase attitude. So, too, with his amnesia - he just didn't seem all that worried about the fact that he couldn't remember anything about himself. I appreciate that it was a less melodramatic way of doing the amnesia story, but come on. The man's arrested for murder and he doesn't even protest? Isn't he a little bitter that he's facing life in jail for a crime he can't remember? That strained believability.

It also slowed the middle of the episode way down. Because if he didn't care about any of it, why should we?

Still, while I didn't love this episode, I love the show. It's one of the few shows that I'll watch in real-time, commercials and all. I never 'got' Nathan Fillion before this role...but now I see what people have been talking about.

I also think it's a better show, on the whole, than people give it credit for. I see a lot of adjectives like 'light' and 'breezey,' when in reality the show has some pretty complex messages hidden under that facade of lightness.

The role of women, for one. It's so refreshing to see a show that doesn't define every single woman by her love life. Girls can be heroes, too, and they don't have to angst over a man to make them likeable.

But it offers the same subtlety in so many other areas: aging, wealth, immigrants...the 5th episode of this season, "When the Bough Breaks," was an especially good example of the latter. That episode was about an immigrant from eastern Europe who worked for a rich NY family. In the course of the episode it never once stereotyped the immigrants or the white wealthy family. Everyone's allowed to be a character, not a representative of a whole group.

And for all the lightness of the Halloween episode, none of the cops (often portrayed as less than tolerant) even blinked at the male bisexuality, polyamory, or alternative lifestyle of their victim. Not to mention, toward the end of the episode, Castle managed to condemn date-rape in a single line without ever using the term.

Its messages have a bit more depth than a lot of viewers seem to realize. That's fine - I actually think it's a little bit subversive for these kinds of familiar procedurals to slip in such messages. And to do it in the guise of a fun, entertaining show is kind of impressive.

Ingrid said...

I like this show a lot. I care about these characters. The show may not be as ambitious in its themes or messaging as Mad Men, but it's always fun to watch.

LoopyChew said...

I actually only got into Castle a couple of weeks ago (someone posted the opening to "Vampire Weekend," and what can I say? I'm a sucker for shout-outs like that), but I am loving it. I'm a sucker for chemistry, and Fillion/Katic have it in spades, and it's only grown. It's nice having people who are more or less well-adjusted in the main roles, and the expanded cast (family and precinct) fill their niches quite nicely.

There are some things I wouldn't want to change--Alexis is Castle's little girl, and if they actually give her a proper problem I'll probably consider it a shark-jumping, for example--but I've liked the fact that, case after case, Beckett's been more considering of accepting Castle's offer to figure out the mystery that is her mother's murder. (I can't point out specific examples offhand, but marathon watching gives me that impression.) I don't know if that's going to be something done in this season--maybe she'll accept at the end of it--but I was happy to see that kind of progression throughout this season.

Then there's the episode where Castle stays in the car and starts singing some corny, dramatic cop-movie music when the perp lands on the hood, and every moment of that scene is pure comedy gold.

I see it more or less the same way I see Leverage, but even lighter than that--popcorn fare that's meant to be watched and enjoyed, and you talk about specific scenes you loved instead of going into the kind of analysis we'd get from Mad Men or even Chuck around here. It doesn't try to be preachy and moralizing the way Dollhouse does, it doesn't have crazy twisted plotting that HIMYM has, it's just there.

And while I love my Mad Men, my Dexter, and my little brother FINALLY convinced me to give FNL a watch, I can't help but buy into the popcorn once in a while. So be it.

Brandy said...

Bones is better, but I'm not sure it was better 18 episodes in. I don't remember when Bones turned the corner to a show I looked forward to but I know for me it was in constant threat of leaving the season pass until the first season Christmas episode. But even then I think it improved with age until the Zach debacle and has been mostly up and down ever since.

Hatfield said...

I've only seen this show a few times, and while I love Fillion, it's just not strong enough to push its way into my rotation. Perhaps now that Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy and Lie to Me are all going away I'll give it more time.

In other ABC news, did you see that Kelsey Grammer is claiming he pulled the plug on Hank?

meopta said...

Total comfort food. Spouse calls it "Murder She Wrote for women that already have men"

But it's fun. It doesn't insult me, it's got a nice pace, it's amusing, it's reliable, it's one of the few shows I watch live. I adore this show.

And a large part of it is Fillion, but without Stanic it would fall apart. She's completely consistent and utterly true to life. This is a woman you can believe in and relate to. In a way, it's more of a Nora Roberts tribute than anything of Robert's that's been filmed.

mjryan said...

I wondered how long it would take someone to mention Bones. No matter the website, someone always has to compare the two and they, inevitably, find Castle lacking. Which is a shame, because I find Castle much more enjoyable than Bones.

Yes, Nathan Fillion is great - he is the show - but his chemistry with Katic is what really moves the show forward. I love that they haven't shied away from their obvious attraction, like so many shows do. They aren't putting road block after road block in front of them, like an ex-wife, brother, brain tumor, to name a few, just to lead the audience on. The question with these two has never been if they will get together, it's when. I hope that they are brave enough to do it sooner rather than later (read, when the series is on the verge of cancellation and/or ending) and deal with the challenges of juggling a relationship with work and family.

While there could be a much greater focus on the secondary characters, if you pay attention to the banter you can glean information about the other detectives. The whole cast has a very rapid fire delivery that is similar to fast-talking screwball comedies of the 30's. They're not quite in the league of His Girl Friday, but I'd compare them to The Thin Man series with a fair amount of confidence.

The one thing that I would love to see is the return to Beckett's mother's murder. While I don't want it to become like the Red John case in The Mentalist, I do think it would be a great season long arc.

Matt said...

FWIW, 9 of the first 10 Castle scripts are on the Internet. The pilot is interesting just in the little changes--"Nick Castle" is our hero, described as wearing "jeans, leather, and three days growth," some solid Martha material that got cut, and cameos from Stephen King and Sue Gradton.

alex s. said...

FWIW, I thought this was one of the weakest cases they've had on Castle. (I recognized that dog from too many shows to believe that he had just a bit part.)

But after watching how slightly things are put together on White Collar (FBI files are available on Google docs, right?), maybe I should learn not to complain.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that so many people who profess to be fans of the show are getting Stana Katic's name wrong. Maybe that's an example of how light the show is, though.

Jennifer said...

I have fun watching this show. Fillion is awesome, having a darned good time all the way through. As are the two other cops whose names I tend to forget. And his family is adorable.

Beckett is playing the straight man, there's only so much leeway one can get there, but I think she works with it as best she can.

I actually appreciate the twists they've been throwing into the cases here and there as well, like last week's where a bigamy story was really corporate espionage. Wasn't expecting that!

Henry said...

I like the show. It's a bit of breezy fun, due to the Castle character and the charisma of Nathan Fillion. And I like the hetero male eye candy that is Stana Katic.

The procedural stuff can be hit-or-miss (sometimes I don't even pay attention to the details of the investigative stuff), but cases like last night's episode were interesting. I always find myself screaming at the TV now, "It's never the first suspect!" And it usually isn't...

Henry said...

Oh, and could they please have Alexis more involved in the show?

Anonymous said...

Agreed that the series is comfort food - I've always found it very watchable if never very exceptional.

The amnesia storyline (sans gallery crime) was actually borrowed from an alleged true story that was made into a doc called "Unknown White Male" that's worth looking up.

Liz said...

It may take me a couple days to get around to watching Castle, but that's because I save it for that 45 minutes during the week when I want to kick back and just be entertained. Nathan Fillion is very engaging, the characters are appealing, the writing is clever, and I enjoy the humor.

As much as I have enjoyed shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica, it's often just fun to watch a series that doesn't require me to keep track of complex timelines or worry about whether a beloved character is about to get killed off. Escapism is a good thing.

WWWeaves said...

I keep coming for Fillion, but all of the cast makes it look effortless. There is some serious talent in that ensemble. Now if the same could be said of the leadership in the writers room. The individual writers seem good, but there are continuity and arc issues that I think (if I understand how TV works) are the show runner's issues. But even Burn Notice had that strange Miami detective arc.

I am beginning to wonder if, in general, 13 is the proper number of episodes to a season. I will watch Castle all the way through. There was a moment when Beckett told Castle he was staying behind and Castle said, "no, I'm not". That was his Mal Reynolds voice, and it still sends shivers into me. So as long as it stays painless, and the amazing supporting cast gets good stuff, I'm in.

Walt Spader said...

I enjoy the series...it isn't a deep mystery, it is enjoyable...and it has excellent writing for the characters. It's on at 10, but the series isn't so bad that it becomes "adult". It's just a fun hour, and has been the show this season that I MUST watch on the night it is on.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the show for what it is - it's entertaining, and for a procedural, it's not usually that heavy. Plus, I'm always a sucker for the kind of fast talking crime solving relationship show - I think an article I read before the show started compared it to Remington Steele, Moonlighting, Bones and the X-files (all except for Bones are shows that I was pretty obsessed with back in the day), and I knew this show was right up my alley.

Anonymous said...

Here's a fun question - who's a more implausibly skinny, drop-dead gorgeous female homicide detective - Kate Beckett or Lilly Rush?

Personally, I find both Stana Katic and Kathryn Morris beautiful. But sometimes, with those skinny arms and tiny waists, I have trouble buying them as homicide cops.

Karrin Murphy, they're not.

/geek

Wordcheck: swore

Really? If you insist. F*ck!

CathiefromCanada said...

We're enjoying Castle more and more -- each week there's something particularly funny, it seems.
And I like the relationship between Castle and his daughter and his mother -- so many shows have such annoying or nutty relatives (Shark, NCIS, 24, Bones, Lie to Me) but Castle's family likes him and each other. I agree with the comments above about the lightweight characterizations of the other detectives but week by week they're being better written too. All in all, enjoyable.

annie said...

I'm glad to see Castle having a bit of a love-fest here in the comments.

I can probably count on one hand the crime show I've tried and quit (monk, ncis:la, csi:miami, probably a couple more I've blocked), and I don't watch the rest for quality writing. (Crime shows I watch-- or rather listen to-- while doing other things.)

Starting out I thought Castle would be too cute in the Monk kind of way, but the writing is a bit more grounded in a way I appreciate. That, Nathan Fillion, and Castle's healthy home life (and the fact that he's a writer) cover a lot of ills.

Anonymous said...

Fun show. Nuff said about that!

DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE SEAN FROM BOY MEETS WORLD?

Jeeze, I hadn't seen kid in a long time. Kind of looked liked Frodo

Anonymous said...

One more comment.

Bones takes itself serious. I'm not so sure Castle really does. It knows it's fluff with a good heart and works from there. Bones tries hard to be a drama and fails.

asklouise said...

I love Nathan Fillion and I echo the positive comments in this thread. It's eye candy both with its cast and the overall look. It's fun.

But no specific comment love for Susan Sullivan? Really? I adore her in this role, especially when they pull out the Falcon Crest-era head shots. She was over the top then, she's over the top now, and hallelujah for it.

Beth said...

I too watch it for NF, and the writer namedropping and cameos. They were really milking the Stephen King references the other night. Alan, maybe you could comment on what looks to me like a trend since Veronica Mars: shows with single fathers raising a teenage daughter. Castle, Shark, Lie to Me. There maybe more, but I don't see any equivalent with father/son or mother/son relationships padding a lead character in a procedural.

meopta said...

Anon said "I find it interesting that so many people who profess to be fans of the show are getting Stana Katic's name wrong."

I confess to being one of those people. However, I also get my kid's names wrong and I am a fan of theirs as well.

Maura said...

But no specific comment love for Susan Sullivan? Really? I adore her in this role, especially when they pull out the Falcon Crest-era head shots. She was over the top then, she's over the top now, and hallelujah for it.

I can never decide if Sullivan or Holland Taylor is queen of the flamboyant mother role, but Sullivan is fabulous. I think she was the real star of Dharma and Greg. And she's so great on Castle. She brings a lot of love and breeziness to a role that, when done differently, turns into Lucille Bluth (also hilarious, but not what I want to see on Castle).

Kathy said...

I love Castle! I don't mind at all that it is character driven and the crime takes a back seat to the witty repartee and family interaction.

Daniel said...

I enjoy Castle a lot,Fillion and Katic are great, the daughter and the mother are wonderful, BUT the stories have got to get better. The mysteries themselves, as many have pointed out, could be more interesting, but they also have to be more intense. The show works best when the light-hearted banter among the main characters is a reprieve from the seriousness of what's going on in the plot. This week's episode didn't work for me because the plot itself was too sappy, too funny at times, too much like the reprieve.

Kent said...

Haven't watched this week's yet, but I've really been enjoying it. The character is fantastic and would fit right into USA's stable of fun crime-solvers.

Fortunately, while Fillion is still the meat of the show and worth watching it for, Katic has grown to be a great leading lady, his daughter has become a great character to root for (great move making her the responsible one) and Ryan and Espisito have definitely grown as characters. (I didn't even used to know their names.) I actually think splitting the M.E.s has worked to flesh out the world. The mysteries have varied this season, but when they've been good, they've been very good. I loved the Halloween episode and used it to hook a friend onto the series.

Anonymous said...

What's with needing more Alexis? This season we've had a death centered around her musical group passion, a serious plotline around her school friend and going to an adult party, and she was IN the station for a few days and she got to solve her own little mini case. She's becoming buddies with Beckett independent of Castle.

-EmeraldLiz

Anonymous said...

I love watching the joy Fillion seems to have on this show. The supporting cast is fabulous as well. I agree that the cases are weak, but the two pluses above override that.

I've been having a hard time this season liking Kate. Maybe because it is due to her model-like hair.

Meredith said...

Count me in as one who loves Castle. As others have said, it is nice to have a light, fun show to watch to balance out shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica.

The main thing I like, though, is that it is really non-stereotypical. Yeah, Beckett does sometimes wear revealing outfits, but it is usually for a purpose. She doesn't go to crime scenes with cleavage showing way far down. Plus there are the three great generations of Castle's family. And they are so accepting of alternative lifestyles rather than treating it as something that is really strange and/or something to be studied.

Hannah Lee said...

That episode was about an immigrant from eastern Europe who worked for a rich NY family. .... Everyone's allowed to be a character, not a representative of a whole group.

@kimshum, you're right about that.

That episode also a great example of the use of strong guest stars to play those complex characters. There were days of chatter on TWOP about the immigrant father in that episode, how he wasn't a stock character and Ivo Nandi's captivating performance in a very small role.

Pamela Jaye said...

just from your first paragraph it sounds good (I checked in cause you don't write about it)
but I'm still somwhere early in season 1 (though I plan to get back to it sooner than Medium (i'm in season 2) cause it feels like Spenser (for hire? or just the novels?) with a touch of Captain Hammer thrown in. (or at least, such is my view from ep 1.05)

kimshum said...

@Hannah Lee

There were days of chatter on TWOP about the immigrant father in that episode, how he wasn't a stock character and Ivo Nandi's captivating performance in a very small role.

And he deserved all that chatter given his amazing performance. Those are the kinds of turns that I wish got Emmy nods - as opposed to the Big Name stunt casting for Very Special Episodes - but that's another issue entirely.

Getting back to Alan's original question, Castle has consistently great guest actors. Not just for sweeps episodes or Emmy-bait episodes, but every week. They're used to great effect, often playing more nuanced characters than your typical procedural. While the core cast is fantastic and a big draw, I appreciate that the writers take the time to do something with one-off actors, too.

Anonymous said...

It's a fun show. The one thing I would suggest is that Castle could focus a little less on the gore, since other than that it's a fun little family mystery show driven by Fillion's charisma and how fun his character is.

Anonymous said...

Castle is s show that just makes me smile.It has great characters and I love Nathan Fillion, he's so enjoyable to watch. I really love the scenes with Martha and the very beautiful and wise Alexis. I don't need to compare it with other shows, it's just an fun hour of television.

Anonymous said...

It's become one of my favorites. It started with just enjoying Fillion, but it's progressed. I think the writers do a nice job creating Life/Pushing Daisies-esque crime scenes, relying on some beautiful imagery to enhance the funny dialogue and sometimes easy mysteries.

And, hey, Firefly shoutout!

Ariadne said...

I think Castle gets dismissed as fluff or a Nathan Fillion vehicle but I think it's got more strengths than that.

The writing is solid and knows how to play both to the humorous and the mystery.

The supporting cast is pitch perfect, there's not a badly cast member among them. Beckett is surrounded by men who appreciate her as a capable detective, Castle is surrounded by women who bring out his deeper side. I've read comments that the sexiest thing about Castle is his relationships with his daughter and mother and I agree. This is a guy who immediately morphs from air guitar playing clown to solid daddy when his daughter needs him. With the plethora of self-centered man-children on TV today, this is a welcome change.

The writing for the relationship of Castle and Beckett is very well done. You don't just see two people who are attracted to each other, you see how they learn to appreciate each other and are falling in love. If any show can break the Moonlighting curse, this is the one.
The pop culture references are a lot of fun to work out (and leave House in the dust). If I want intellectual challenge, I'll watch PBS or go to a Tom Stoppard play. If I want something I know I'll enjoy, I'll watch Castle or NCIS.

I see it as a sleeper series like NCIS, not noticed by the critics because it's not edgy or off the wall, but appreciated by fans who just want some dependable entertainment after a hard day.

I find Castle is much better written than White Collar which has a habit of stealing what Castle did earlier and doing it less well. More fun and more subtle than Bones (Fox has a tendency to carry out relationship teases till they go bad or ridiculous) and I don't have to bang my head against the wall at the stupidity of the plots as I do with House, The Good Wife or The Mentalist, or cringe as I do with Cougar Town.

Basically, it's my favourite new show.

Anonymous said...

@ Matt:

Thanks for the link to the scripts on the internet. I love reading the scripts and comparing them to what I see on the screen.

Karen said...

I was surprised to see a "Castle" post, because it doesn't really seem like the kind of show you'd review, Alan, even if you loved it. As you say, procedurals don't give you much to sink your critical teeth into on a weekly basis.

I don't completely understand the "Bones" comparisons that are getting made, because I've watched that show a couple of times and been left completely cold by it. I've said it's because it's so awkwardly written, but I could say the same about "Castle"--the writing is often sloppy, both in plotting and in getting the NY details right (I cringed when Castle once referred to a "4th storey walkup" instead of a "4th floor walkup"). But basically, Boreanaz doesn't do a thing for me, while Fillion just charms the pants off me. So I would watch anything with him.

Stana Katic has improved exponentially from the first season. Beckett is much more playful now than her original, boring character. So it's nice to watch the interplay between Beckett and Castle.

I also really like the daughter, although the mother is a bit of an embarrassing cliche.

They also need to round out Ryan and Esposito some more (at least as much as "The Mentalist" has with Rigsby, Van Pelt, and Cho [who is my favorite after the star himself]). They've gotten a tiny bit better--the first season, I never even knew their names--but they're still too generic.

But any show that brings back Riley Finn--er, Marc Blucas, will forever be in my good graces. And Fillion and Blucas together? That's early Christmas, that's what that is.