Tuesday, September 21, 2010

By God, He is Ruggedly Handsome

So, Castle is back on the air after the summer break.

Let's be clear about one thing, I would probably never watch this show if it wasn't for Nathan Fillion. The show itself is nothing special, you've seen it a hundred times. "Mismatched couple deals with their obvious, yet vehemently denied, attraction and solves murder cases." The one-line pitch is so old, it literally has mold on it.

However, Nathan Fillion is one of those "phone book" actors for me. He's just entertaining to watch. A total "anything for a laugh" goofball who can swing it around a hit a hard edge and make it credible, too.

...But the show isn't Firefly, it doesn't trade on his skills the way that show did. Castle features far too much of the former, and pretty much zilch of the latter. Even the ultra-short-lived Drive gave him a better showcase as Alex Tully. (Although, With only a couple of episodes to go on, Drive probably would've ended up with the opposite problem, too much grim avenger, not enough goofball.) I'm gonna be honest, sometimes Rick Castle starts to wear on me.

Sometimes I wanna scream, "stop being so stupid!" at the TV. I mean, Fillion plays it off well, and almost always makes Castle's most idiotic moves laugh-out-loud funny, or at least amusing. Still, come on...Andrew W. Marlowe and his team of writers, you guys are starting to lean to heavily on the "Castle does something stupid" plot element.

The rest of the cast, almost to a fault, is strong, too. I particularly love Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Ricks far-more-mature daughter, and the fantastic Susan Sullivan as his actress mother, Martha Rogers. The Castle-at-home scenes are really my favorite part of the show, and the two actresses and Fillion play off each other so, so very well.

Seamus Deaver and John Huertas as Detectives Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito (ESPO-SITO!!!) are equally good. They've developed such a great relationship between these two guys, I'd ALMOST watch a spin-off.

Then we come to Castle's foil Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic...

I really, really thought she was awful in the first season. I mean, painfully, "one step behind the rest of the cast all the time" bad. I almost had to stop watching, because the sharp repartee between Beckett and Castle, which is really what the show hangs it's hat on, just wasn't working. She got better, a lot better, as we went into the second season. Now, I can enjoy the playful bickering with the "I want to jump your bones" subtext, but that first season was a rough one.

Still, I ask...stop doing the "biting your lip" thing, it doesn't really look like you're thinking, and it's not sexy, either. Also...maybe some sensible shoes for when Beckett leads the boys on a raid? Cbyrd and I noticed you stumble on your stilettos during last night's season premiere. It elicited a laugh, but I don't think it was one you were looking for.

I will give the writing staff props for the actual Richard castle novels they've been able to churn out. Cbyrd actually read the first one, and was amused enough by it. They're not great, by any means, but it is amusing to walk into Borders and see a Richard Castle display. Not to mention having jokes on the show about things on specific pages of the "Nikki Heat" books Castle has based on Detective Beckett, and being able to go read the actual passages.

So, yeah...decent enough show. Solid, if formula, writing and winning performances. Nothing that will change your life. Totally worth a Monday evening watch.

Although, when Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly pointed out how much better a choice Fillion would've been than Dermot Mulroney for NBC's ill-conceived The Rockford Files remake, I sat up straight at the thought.

The remake is ill-concieved because I don't think Mulroney, fine actor that he is, has the stuff to make me forget James Garner. Fillion, I think, could. The original Rockford Files, much like Castle, was a fairly cookie-cutter show that traded on Garner's singular persona for it's brilliance. It's also a type of show that would allow all facets of Fillion's work to shine, as opposed to just being the comic foil for Katic.

Oh well, if wishes were horses...

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