Watch What We Say: Castle
By Jason Lee
March 11, 2009
Spring is here and the broadcast networks are trotting out new shows to make up for the fact that they put some real crap on the air last fall. Well, are any of these mid-season replacements worth your time? BOP gives you the inside scoop.
This week on Watch What We Say: A smarter, handsomer, cockier Stephen King.
By the late '90s, the ABC Television network had finally clawed their way to the top of the ratings. "How did they do it?" you might ask. Well, they had the help of a little reality TV show called "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" Airing three times a week, each weeknight show typically found its way onto Nielsen's weekly top ten list. Alas, the network execs committed the cardinal TV sin of overstaying the show's welcome and oversaturation eventually led to the show's departure from primetime to a syndicated daytime slot.
In the years that followed, ABC struggled to regain its form, eventually finding success in a trio of new shows - Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey's Anatomy - that cumulatively indicated a new creative direction for the network: quality dramas marked by high-production values and uber-dramatic characters. Shows like Dirty Sexy Money and Brothers & Sisters have followed from this mold.
Which brings us to Castle. Not only does Castle fulfill the aforementioned two requirements (high-production values and uber-dramatic characters), it also includes two more ingredients for success: it's a police procedural and it features an actor who seems ripe for major, break-out success (Nathan Fillion, whom most of BOP readers will know from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly).
The series premiere quickly introduces us to the main characters. Fillion plays titular character Richard Castle, an author famous for penning a series of ridiculously successful murder novels but who has recently been stricken with a serious case of writer's block. His randy mother is clearly made in the mold of Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux, a constant gossip who's always looking to get laid. His 15-year-old daughter has obviously had it "up to here" with her dad's antics, wearing a perpetual frown of disapproval even as she politely refuses her father's insistence that she get drunk at his book party so that she can "do something inappropriate." Lordy lord, what a family.
The show gets its gears in motion when police detective Kate Beckett is assigned to a case in which an apparent serial killer has begun to murder his victims using tactics found in Castle's fictional crime novels. Beckett goes to Castle to solicit his point of view and ends up getting far more than she bargained for. In short, Castle decides that solving this case (and "unraveling the story") will be a great cure for his writer's block and participates enthusiastically in the investigation - contaminating crime scenes, stealing confidential files from police headquarters...you know, all those little annoying things that makes Beckett regret ever involving him. I won't bore you (or spoil you) with any additional details on the case or the requisite plot twists that take place.