Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Five reasons to love ABC's "Castle"

I'm full-on smitten with this kooky little show about a successful mystery novelist and his forays into crime fighting. Here's why you should be too:

Reason #1: Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion's charm is like fly paper or the Death Star tractor beam: once you get caught in its grasp, there is simply no escape. Everyone's favorite Canadian (sorry, Lorne Greene) shines as Rick Castle, making what could be an arrogant character into someone whose confidence is mixed with just the right amount of vulnerability and kindness to keep him lovable and interesting. Fillion's great with co-star Stana Katic, who plays police detective Kate Beckett, but he's even better in the scenes that focus on Castle's family, especially his sweet, smart teenage daughter, who provides the perfect calm foil to Castle's mania. The two are so good together, I would watch the show just for their interactions. But really, Fillion's just great, period.

The best father-daughter duo on television.

Reason #2: The show keeps getting better.
While I've enjoyed "Castle" since its debut, the early going for this show was pretty rocky and sometimes made my want to hide my brain under the couch cushions. The mysteries, which are kind of important for a detective show, were beyond simplistic, forcing the characters to look like idiots in order to draw the simplistic mysteries out. Whole teams of chubby Clydesdales could have trotted through those plot holes. But then something miraculous happened toward the end of season 1: plots started to make sense. There was actual tension and suspense. I kept checking the channel guide to make sure I was watching the right show. And not only did the plots start making more sense, all of the character interactions became more natural, the action propelled the show and holy cow, by season's end, "Castle" was a real, live detective show. Judging by the first episode of the new season, the writing has gotten even stronger. Kudos to the writers and producers for not sliding by with mediocre but actually striving for good.

Reason #3: It's really funny.
And not unintentionally funny like when David Caruso squints on "CSI: Miami." Nope, "Castle" reminds me of what "The X-Files" used to do so well: toss out unexpectedly hilarious lines from left field, like Castle's whole riff on a film adaptation of the video game "Asteroids" and how he thinks it'll be okay because they've gotten Ryan Reynolds to play the little green triangle and "he's really good." Or the weird situational comedy that Fillion plays so well:



Reason #4: The supporting cast is actually pretty awesome.
In particular, Jon Huertas as Detective Esposito and Seamus Dever as Detective Ryan. They're like they're own little Greek chorus, just chiming in with funny asides or wry commentary as Castle and Beckett argue or some other absurdity takes place. The show wouldn't be the same without them.

Reason #5: The show doesn't take itself too seriously.
"Castle" is never going to be "Mad Men" or "The Sopranos" or some other pinnacle of artistic achievement, and that's a good thing. We all need a balanced TV diet of weighty stuff like "The Wire" and fun fluffy stuff like "Castle." The show is just a goofy amalgam of everything from "Moonlighting" to "Murder, She Wrote," and it knows it. It's only aim is make you forget your troubles for an hour each week and enjoy a bit of mystery, romance and humor...and Nathan Fillion looking good in suits. What more could you ask for on a Monday night?

16 comments:

Cara King said...

Castle rocks! Negatory on any negativity, and Nathan Fillion can ride in my squad car anytime. (Or he could if I had one.)

I agree with all your points... Though I confess I hadn't noticed the mystery plots getting better, probably because I remember the character interaction and always forget the plots right away...

wendy said...

Does anyone else think Castle mentioning Ryan Reynolds was going to be playing "the green triangle" in an Asteroids movie was a shout out to Ryan Reynolds playing The Green Lantern? Nathan Fillion was "cast" in a pretty widespread fan made trailer of The Green Lantern, which is probably going to end up being better than the actual studio produced film.

Linda said...

Love Nathan Fillion. So glad Castle is back for another season.

Kathe said...

I love, love, love this show and a friend and I are convinced that Nathan is sending us messages each episode to run away with him. :) Kidding, really, kind of, maybe...

So happy Castle is back!

Kelley B said...

Wendy, I was thinking the same thing! I read in an Entertainment Weekly article that Nathan improvs a lot of his comedic quips and I wondered if the Ryan Reynolds line was his own little shout-out to the awesome fan-made Green Lantern trailer starring him as Hal Jordan. I know from the same magazine that he was not only aware of the trailer but really impressed with it. God I love this man.

janey_13 said...

I love Castle too. The main reason I started watching was because of Nathan. I was so happy when it was picked up for a second season.

Anonymous said...

I am 100% onboard with everything you said in this post. "Castle" is great and it's Nathan and the rest of the cast, particularly the actress playing his daughter, that make it so.

Nightfall said...

The chemistry of the leads at the beginning seemed really off but they've brought it together splendidly.

Anjuli said...

yeah i totally agree with all your reasons. i haven't watched all the episodes, just a random one here and there, but his comedy is just perfect and catches me unaware every time. like a surprise giggle, the best kind of giggle. i love the clip you included as well! :)

Emily said...

I cannot keep it a secret any longer, I am deeply involved with Nathan Fillion. OK so it's only in my head but MAN are we connected! And I hate to dispute Kathe but I'm certain that he is sending me a message. Because we are deeply involved (in my HEAD!)

I watched the first episode of Castle specifically because he was in it and I've loved each and every second of it. He's awesome. The cast is awesome. I love it to bits and pieces. His Asteroids quip was priceless!

Lisa said...

Agreed, Castle is great and Nathan Fillion is awesome!!

CrazyCris said...

that greek chorus reference is excellent! I got quite a laugh with the duo this week when Castle and Becket were at it again and I think it was Esposito who said "just like old times, with mom and dad fighting" :p

Fillion definitely tops my list of actors I'll see in just about anything!

(although I'll be the first to admit I'm glad they're starting to fill in those plot holes...)

Professor Beej said...

I really, really want to get into Castle. I love Captain Tightpants in anything he's in, but I just can't seem to find time for this one. It makes me so sad. Maybe after the wedding planning I'll be able to pick up the DVDs and watch them with the wife, who's also a huge Fillion fan.

Sara Jo said...

I never would have watched Castle if it weren't for Nathan Fillion. And he's why I keep watching it.

I love how they keep adding in quick little odes to the Whedonverse when they have him say things like "Shiny," or "Five-by-five."

Sara said...

OK, OK, I'm convinced. I'm going to start watching. If NF could hold my interest in "Waitress", he probably can hold it in a light detective show, too. He's dreamy.

Lee S. said...

Right on! Love Nathan and Castle.