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» Wednesday, March 11, 2009Castle is King
Anyone catch this new mystery series on Monday? As innovative programming goes, it ain't. The premise is as usual: pair two dissimilar characters together, add a little romantic tension. Result: clash.
Particulars on pilot episode: Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is bad-boy mystery-thriller writer of best-seller list fame (think James Patterson/John Grisham/J.D. Robb, etc, etc, etc) with flamboyant mother (played by Susan Sullivan, whom I first remember from Another World) who's an actress, practical 15-year-old daughter Alexis, and publicist who is also his ex-wife. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) is square-jawed, humorless police detective with an unsolved, personal crime in her past who comes upon a case in which the killer is emulating murders in Castle's books. Castle is questioned, but, intrigued about both the killer and Beckett, keeps butting into the investigation. (In fact, since everyone's a fan of his books, he has certain connections that help move the case more quickly.)
It definitely isn't Waking the Dead. More like "take your brain out of gear and play along." At that level, it's fun. Fillion is perfect as the bad boy with hidden underpinnings (he actually has a keen mind and good perception, and does worry about and love his teen daughter). Beckett is still a bit of a flat character; however, there's a small twist: it turns out she is a big fan of Castle's books. Sullivan plays Auntie Mame-like Mom for fun and Molly Quinn as daughter Alexis is cute.
Plus there's a great scene in the opener where fictional author Castle plays poker with real-life authors James Patterson and series creator Stephen J. Cannell. The series definitely doesn't take itself seriously.
So I enjoyed it, ABC apparently less so, as they've reduced the episodes they've ordered from thirteen to ten. Ah, well...will view while it lasts.
(Incidentally, I spent the first half of the show thinking "this guy is annoying" and the second half warming up to him. Where had that happened before? Oh, yeah, on Remember WENN. In fact, if we hadn't seen Castle's mom already and the timeline was altered, Richard could be the son of Scott Sherwood and Betty Roberts, with the writing skill from Mom and the charm and chutzpah from Dad. If he'd said "Very exciting!" with upraised eyebrows, I wouldn't have been a bit surprised.)