Reviews: Castle

Season 1 (and a bit): flawed but fun escapism

Thus far, I've watched the first season of this show and a few episodes of the second. I have a somewhat critical mindset, so it was the flaws that struck me first. First, this show is one that is quite transparently going for a semi-humorous, somewhat subversive tone – as a result of which, the shopworn, somewhat cliché cop show tropes it largely plays straight (the tough lead female cop with the tragic past, the family-drama and UST subplots, cases involving spurned lovers, arrogant rich teenage sociopaths, and politicians with sleazy secrets) only stand out more. In addition, the lead character’s cocky, smartarse persona is sometimes a wee bit overdone, and it does get a bit irritating the way his writing is fawned over by every other character, from Russian mobsters to CIA agents (would it do that much harm to throw in ONE character that doesn't like it?)

That said, as a bit of light escapism, the show does a good job. The main character is likable enough when he needs to be (Nathan Fillion helps, probably), never quite reaching Patrick Jane levels of insufferability; and generally, even when utilising clichés, the show makes them work relatively well. Nothing profound or groundbreaking, maybe, but a decent choice for someone with a taste for cop show escapism who wants more of what they know they like.

Wonderful fun.

On the surface, Castle appears very lighthearted. Yet, a lot of the show is darker and more intense than it initially lets on.

First, it is a cop show. On the Sliding Scale Of Silliness Versus Seriousness, it's more serious than Psych, which isn't hard to do, but even Psych has its dark moments. Once A Season we get major action-packed two part episodes to really up the ante, like "Tick, Tick, Tick..." and "Boom!" or "Pandora" and "Linchpin."

Second, UST is the backbone of the show's earliest days, just like on Bones but with a Gender Flip. Luckily, it never gets old here, just like on NCIS.

Third, the humor. Oh, the humor. There's not a lot of places where you would get to hear stuff like, "Maybe it's a nice murder, darling. Brighten your day." Sounds wrong, but it's a formula for a show that is just right. It's almost Burtonian in its offbeatness, and that really was enough to seal the deal for me, because so far, just from the comedy alone, this is about the closest to Tim Burton Style that TV has gotten since the unfortunate cancellation of the gloriously delightful Pushing Daisies.

The presence of real-life editions of all the books "written" by Mr. Rick Castle (really an unidentified ghostwriter) helps too. The books are shorter than most typical murder mystery stories, so they can be easily read within a week or two. Or a day or two, if you are a speed reader like myself.

Long story short, Castle is just too much fun to pass over.

a crime show with something for everyone

Castle is a tough show to sum up in one word, good, bad, boring, fascinating... What it is, is a well acted show with some funny moments, some intense moments and a LOT of sexual tension. What makes the drawn out tension work in Castle is the chemistry between the actors (Stana Katic and Nathen Fillion). Another wonderful thing about the show is that the quality doesn't drop off once you move past the main characters, the secondary characters are given plenty of attention and charicterization. I love the show in its cheerful humorous moments-with plenty of Firefly shout-outs for Fillions flans- especially the verbal fist-fights between Castle and Beckett. That's not to say, however, that the show doesn't do heartwarming or sad. Every scene is treated with care, sad moments are not overly dramatic and intense moments make your heart pound without sending you into cardiac arrest. I cannot say in simple words what an enjoyable experience watching this show is. I highly recomend it to anyone who likes crime dramadies, and even to those who do not, as you may find yourself engaged in the characters if not so much the mysteries.