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.
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?