June 25, 2011

Summer TV Countdown #17: Castle

I'm a huge fan of Nathan Fillion. We're both big fans of Firefly (of course), and we also loved Dr. Horrible. So the prospect of Fillion as a wise-cracking mystery writer hanging out with some homicide police sounded like it would be fun. And it is an enjoyable show, generally.

Here's a basic rundown of the show. Castle is a best-selling mystery writer who uses his clout with the mayor's office to attach himself to Kate Beckett, a hot shot (and also hot) ace homicide detective who is to be the inspiration for a new series of mystery novels. There are a few other supporting characters on the show, who are generally pretty good. Most notable are Ryan and Esposito, two other homocide detectives who generally serve as the comic relief in the series, though thankfully not through the "incompetent cops" trope - they're both good at their jobs. Even better are Castle's family. He lives in a big apartment with his hilarious former Broadway star mother Martha and his teenage daughter Alexis, from one of his previous marriages. All three of them have fantastic chemistry - especially Castle and Alexis, who is smart and does a great job grounding him.

Most of the time it's a fun show - there's some case of the week, they solve it, Castle cracks some jokes, and a good time is had by all. The show also does a decent job with the UST between Castle and Beckett, though it's not nearly as thick as it was between Mal and Inara on Firefly. They have some good capers - my favorite might be the one where they go through secret tunnels in the sewers while investigating some Prohibition era related crime.

However, the show does have a few problems. Whenever it verges into Serious Territory (especially in any of the episodes that focus on the hunt for Beckett's mother's killer) the show is not as good - I often find myself rolling my eyes at some of the cliched Hard Boiled Cops lines in their interrogations etc. I was also extremely annoyed by the season finale (SPOILERS COMING, IF YOU CARE). It gave some resolution to the Beckett's mother storyline...by revealing that Beckett's police captain, who is a regular on the show and is a great guy and great police, has been involved in the coverup for years and is blackmailed in to protect his co-conspirators. He eventually betrays his conspirators and is killed in a firefight protecting Beckett. It pissed me off because it felt completely manufactured by the showrunners who needed to ratchet up the tension for ratings, rather than for any particular plan or character arc on their part. Even more annoyingly, they gave us a "cliffhanger" where Beckett was shot while speaking at his funeral, but where's the suspense there? They're not going to kill off the co-main character and main love interest - this show just doesn't have the kind of balls to do that.

That pretty much sums up my main problem with the show - it's a fun show from week to week when they all run around and solve mysteries. Everyone has great chemistry with everyone else (it's Nathan Fillion's gift), but whenever they try to move away from their basic formula it generally falls on its face.


lomyli said...

I really agree with you.

My husband and I watch the show and have been saying the exact same thing as you pointed out.

The show always suffers when it's too serious and out of it's funny and witty element.

The tension between Castle and Beckett has come to a point where if they don't do anything soon it will be too late and they will have missed their moment.

This season was the first time I felt they were forcing everything way too much. Even Beckett looks like a movie star now and not like a cop.

Let's hope the writers will have the guts to go back to the early season's wit. I'm still a fan, but I am a little scared now that they jumped a little too far with the last episode that was really bad and almost destroyed everything they had built till then.

My humble opinion anyway! :)

Thanks for your analysis, I really enjoyed it!!