I wouldn’t be lying if I said that Castle is one of the best pilots I’ve seen in a while. It was a show I largely ignored despite being a big fan of Nathan Fillion because (like Bones) the theme is not something I really care about.
I’ve never been a crime kind of a guy. The closest I’ve ever come to a crime drama before discovering Bones last year, is The X-Files and I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of that show either. So despite Nathan playing the title role I ignored the show, after all Nathan had appeared in Desperate Housewives too so I couldn’t exactly be assured of his integrity.
Then I was watching an episode of The Unit (awesome show, damn shame it was cancelled) in season 3 of the show called Binary Explosion, in which guest starred Stana Katic. Immediately I had to work out where I knew her from, turns out it might have been 24 or even Heroes but anyway, that was when I noticed she too was in Castle.
But still I ignored the show, until late one night… I was sat up at a friend’s house playing games and in the corner the Tv was set to “Dave” and in between segments of QI there would be an advertisement for Castle. Subliminally the message was implanted in my brain, over and over “Watch Castle, Watch Castle” until I could ignore it no longer.
So, what is the show about? Well, the title character Richard Castle is a crime writer, who, after killing his best selling character is looking for a new lead. Meanwhile Kate Beckett, a New York city cop, discovers a rash of killings that point to the killer being a Richard Castle fan. Hoping that he can help she turns to Castle to help her solve the mystery.
Kate gets her closure on the crime and Castle gets his new muse. Obviously there is a lot more to the pilot but as that is all part of mystery I’ll not mention it here to save any spoilers and what not. What I’m more interested in is the delivery. Castle is clever, its funny without being corny (like that dreadful CSI… urgh!), it’s pretty, it’s well written and its a nice bit of escapism.
Sure it’s unlikely that a Cop and Writer would team up and become a crimefighting duo, but who really cares…? It no less likely than two FBI agents tasked with following up on UFO sightings.
Nathan finds a happy medium in this role, he’s not quite as smarmy as his character Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (you must watch this!) and not quite as drastic as Malcolm in Firefly. In fact, if I had to compare him to another character on TV, it would be either Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) or Chuck (Zach Levy). He plays the fish out of water character, but one that is not a bumbling idiot but an intelligent, reasoning fellow, with possibly just a touch too much fame. Overall Fillion’s character is fun and believable and that’s what matters.
Stana is the John Casey to Nathan’s Chuck. She is the consummate professional obsessed with “doing the right thing” because (like Temperance Brennan in Bones) she has a history with crime. As yet we don’t know who she lost but I’m willing to bet it was a boyfriend/husband/child or possibly a sibling or a parent… have I covered all the bases there?
Stana Katic is beautiful and intelligent, she isn’t above the humour that permeates the show and that’s refreshing. She’s powerful too, which is mixed nicely with a vulnerable side. This is one thing the pilot does so well, it develops the characters in depth, showing us a kaleidoscope of each one, their likes, dislikes, strengths and weakness and even their personal failings, it’s all right there in the first episode. In fact, if this had been a simple one off episode the characters would still have been rounded out enough for me to enjoy it.
So, I doubt you need to me to say that in conclusion “I loved this show” because I’ve done nothing but rave about it. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like. I enjoyed the way that the show admits, through Castle’s need for a narrative to the crime, that it is at heart a machine for storytelling, that there will always be a twist or a mystery, that it is, in effect, a fiction. I liked the interim characters too, Castle’s goodie-twoshoed daughter who loves her daddy but frowns on his attitude to life. His mother who constantly embarrasses him… And lets not forget that in Castle’s world Homer Simpson is a county judge!
This is a fantastic show with a third season already confirmed to start in September of this year. Go, watch it, you will not be disappointed.