Television Review: “Castle” Series Premiere

The World Needs More Nathan Fillion...

The World Needs More Nathan Fillion...

Hello! Welcome to the official return of Kyle’s opinions towards episodes of television. It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything related to reviews. There have been several reasons for my hiatus:

* New episodes of television have been spotty.

* I haven’t been keeping up on a large portion of my television.

* I’ve been trying to watch the following TV shows on DVD: Kyle XY, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

* No one else ever posts here, so why should I?

* I’m eternally lazy.

Television is going to finally start picking up again soon, and I figure what a better way to work myself into the groove of reviewing than to tackle a brand new series.

ABC is jumping into the ever-so-popular detective crime procedural series and delivers “Castle”. Now I’ll admit that I’m a whore when it comes to crime shows, but there is really no reason not to be interested in this show. Two words: Nathan Fillion.

Nathan Fillion has had quite a track record with television shows, most of them ending quickly before their time (Drive?) and I expect “Castle” to be no different. Nathan Fillion happens to be a personal favorite of mine and really deserves to finally land a successful gig in the world of movies or television. Needless to say I was very excited for the premiere of “Castle”, so let’s find out what I thought.


A generic cop drama scene

A generic cop drama scene

First thing’s first: You can’t have a cop drama without a gimmick. For some reason you can’t expect people to tune in just because cops are solving crimes, even if that’s what the series boils down to anyway. So whether you’re a detective who used to be a fake psychic, you only investigate decomposed corpses, you only investigate old and unsolved cases, or you’re an immortal detective (really Fox!?!?), there’s gotta be some hook to the procedural. So what hook does Castle offer us?

Castle is about a successful crime novelist (name Richard Castle) who, after encountering writer’s block, winds up working with his local police department to get ideas for a new string of novels. Castle gets paired up with a sassy, tough-as-nails female detective (Stana Katic playing Detective Kate Beckett) and presto… sexy banter and wacky shenanigans ensue! Needless to say, I’m not sure I’m completely thrilled with this “gimmick”. It’s a mildly new scenario, but teaming up a cop with a civilian isn’t exactly new material. However, this setup does provide for a more light hearted crime procedural, and if there’s anything Nathan Fillion can shine in… it’s light hearted dramas.

As for the actual pilot of this show goes, it is pretty straight forward. You get a basic introduction to the main characters, they set up the first teaming of Castle and Beckett, and you get a nice generic crime to move the episode from beginning to end.

Nathan Fillion fits right at home as Richard Castle; in fact it’s getting hard to differentiate the characters I’ve seen Nathan portray. Richard is suave, witty, a little sexist and arrogant and Fillion pulls it off without even trying. Detective Beckett is a tough and independent cop who, due to some tragedy in her past, chose to be a cop despite all of her available options. Don’t bother rolling your eyes with these character shells, because they are just there to give the show a reason to exist and the show knows it. The show will have plenty of opportunities to actually flesh out the characters in the future to make them remotely intesting, so for now I’m willing to just roll with what they have. Every other character in the police department pretty much meets the generic police department stereotype, so I’m not going to bother with those. The characters in Castle’s life, however, could prove to be interesting. In the first episode alone, we met his crazy, sex-driven Mother, his smart 15-year old daughter with more maturity than him, his ex-wife, he’s good friends with the mayor of the city (which will be a lazy plot device to excuse anything we see him do throughout the show), and we met a group of authors that Castle hangs out with.

The real reason to watch this show, would be for the comedic banter and wacky antics of our main character. Castle proves himself to be a very brilliant detective (unbelievably so) and even borrows from the man (Columbo) himself in one of his interviews with a suspect/victim. As expected, there is plenty of banter, sexual tension, and distrust to go around between our two lead characters. Fortunately, this is one of those male/female pairings where they don’t dance around the subject, with Castle making countless inappropriate advances on Beckett in the span of the episode. One of my favorite moments of the show is where Castle uses a card playing game with his author friends to figure out the case he was working on. The other authors were duped into using typical writing strategies to help him figure out what was going on. Scene’s like this made it actually feel refreshing and entertaining.

As for the future of the show:


* There is definately plenty of comedic potential for Nathan Fillion to steal the show with.

* The on-screen chemisty between Fillion and Katic will surely make for some interesting television.

* Castle’s crazy side characters could definately help freshen up the show, especially his group of author friends.

* I will probably never bore watching a show starring Nathan Fillion, who can expertly handle balancing drama and comedy flawlessly.


* Seems to be a pretty generic cop drama from where I stand, however this doesn’t necessarily stop the quality of other shows (That’s right Psych, your cases do suck).

* Main characters aren’t very original.

* Writing: Both dialogue and storywise, the pilot wasn’t top of the line on either. One of these will definately have to improve for the show to really find its ground.

* Gimmick: It’s flimsy and they’ll have a hard time justifying a long running series with this setup. Here’s hoping they have plans to evolve if they get that far.

I’m definatley not going anywhere on this one. Here’s hoping we’ve finally found a show that can continue to flourish and let Nathan Fillion be as awesome as everyone knows he is.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10


~ by axknel on March 11, 2009.

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