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September 5, 2015

Castle -- An early look

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Mar 9th 2009 10:27AM
Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion deserves a break. Sure, he's had a successful career with memorable guest turns in recent hits such as Lost and Desperate Housewives. And sure, he's got cult hits like Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog under his belt, too. However, as of late, the well has run dry for Fillion (Drive, anyone?), and let's be honest - a man cannot live off of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place residuals alone. So I'll say it again - the man deserves a break. Castle, unfortunately, is not that break.

Fillion stars as Rick Castle, a hugely popular crime novelist whose latest novel is the last in his best-selling series. Why the last? He killed off his lead character, Derek Storm. Like Storm, Castle also appears to be ready to drift off into oblivion as his angry ex-wife publisher demands new material despite Rick's recent inability to put pen to paper.

After screening the first two episodes ("Flowers For Your Grave," "Nanny McDead"), I'm starting to wish that Castle's writer's block was harder to crack. Just when it seemed as though his career was headed for trouble, a serial killer pops up, offing his victims based on murders in some of Castle's novels. If it sounds gimmicky, well, that's because it is. The novelty wears off fast as the case is solved and the series premiere ends. Once the second episode hits, it's just another cop show with a couple of romantically challenged, comically mismatched partners.

The other half of that team is Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, recently seen in Quantum of Solace), your standard, no-nonsense, "ain't gonna take no crap from this womanizing author," type of gal. However, Castle sees his next series of novels through her eyes and after consulting with her on the copy-cat murder case, he uses his pull with the Mayor (the man is a big fan) to become Kate's defacto partner. For "research" naturally - gotta know what makes a savvy female detective tic.

Katic plays the role perfectly, dealing with her conflicting emotions as a fan of Castle's work and as his new NYPD liaison. Fillion does well living up to Kate's description of Castle: "like a nine-year-old on a sugar rush."

While the first two hours do provide a decent amount of laughs, the endless supply of sexual innuendos and coy retorts that Castle has in his repertoire get old fast. The supporting cast helps to make up for some of this, though. Susan Sullivan plays Rick's hilarious, boozy, big-mouth mother Martha perfectly, and Jon Huertas (phenomenal as Sgt. Espera in HBO's Generation Kill) stands out as one of Kate's co-workers, Det. Javier Esposito.

Beyond that, the entire premise of the series is something we've seen used time and again - this is just another twist on the same old classic. But Rick Castle is an author. So he should know all about that.

premieres tonight at 10PM ET on ABC.

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This show is great! Hope is does well--the best of the new shows so far!

April 23 2009 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm actually fallin slowly in love with this show. It reminds me slightly of Psych and Eureka in the style. If it had been longer, and the background characters better fleshed out, I would have said a bit of Bones. (I hinted to my sister who cannot stand the blood and gore on Bones that Castle might be an interesting substitute for her.)

It's amusing and I adore his family in the background. I sort of wish the other detectives would be a bit more prominent as I do feel they wash into the background, but I suppose one can't have everything.

March 31 2009 at 6:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I absolutely never watch any of the police shows with all the blood and gore but Castle is a refreshing, good show with snappy writing without all the blood. Even though it's yet another show solving another murder, it has a great cast of characters. The banter between Castle and Beckett is fun and hopefully will lead to some romance down the road. His mom, well, what can you say about Susan Sullivan, histerical. And for a change they actually have a good actress playing his daughter. She is adorable. Castle is endearing, not to mention good looking. We hope the show is successful and we have told everyone to tune in. Good Luck, Castle!

March 25 2009 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've seen the first two episodes and am looking forward to tonight's show as well. I originally wanted to give Castle a shot because Nathan Fillion is an actor I've always rooted for. I even watched all the episodes of Drive for him. But now, I'm watching Castle because I think its a really good show and has great potential.

March 23 2009 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought more Remington Steele meets Murder She wrote. But all I have to say is "Apples, Apples, Apples!" this show have very witty writers and it is intentionally so to play out a bit like a novel. Also Castles "What if scenario?" of how the Nanny died does set the show apart. It is formulaic, but very funny and enjoyable. I love the family dynamic too, already well fleshed out series. The only characters that seem stiff in this show are the other cops.
Besides who doesn't love watching Captain Tightpants!

March 18 2009 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've watched two episodes so far, and I'm kinda liking it. Yes, it has a Moonlighting kind of vibe to it, but a bit nicer as the woman is the more competent of the two, or rather, she's the professional, he's the talented amateur. I know there are a few awkward places, but having rewatched Moonlighting on DVD from stem to stern recently, I will admit that it took a few weeks for even Bruce and Cybill to find the rhythms that worked so well for them back then. Give Nathan and Stana a chance to find theirs.

March 16 2009 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was pleasantly suprised... thought it was entertaining enough and reminded me of Moonlighting. Fillion is easy on the eyes... I will be watching!

March 10 2009 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nillaroo's comment

I have to agree. It was much better than I expected. Fillion was hilarious and his counterpart, while still flawed, is more interesting than I expected.

I'll stay tuned.

March 10 2009 at 11:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so castle won't be reviewed weekly?

March 10 2009 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Johnzo's comment
Jonathan Toomey


Since this is a mid-season replacement, it's likely that we won't cover it weekly since the traffic won't justify it. However, should it do well, get renewed, and build an audience, it's certainly possible that we might cover it in the Fall.

March 10 2009 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Murder He Wrote - I give it 5 episodes before the ax falls..

Nathan Fillion is still as charming as ever though.

March 10 2009 at 1:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stana Katic, yes please.

March 09 2009 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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