Sunday, March 15, 2009


As I'm sure you know, I am a Browncoat, an unabashed 100% lover of Firefly, and Nathan Fillion is a big part of the reason. I was very unhappy with the treatment of/result of the airing of Drive, which I thought was an awesome show. Bottom line: I really, really want Castle to be good.

It's not.

Luckily, it doesn't have to be to survive, because it has enough going for it, in the right way, that it probably will. It fits firmly in the crime drama realm, doesn't deviate from any tropes of the genre, and therefore should get enough eyeballs from the boring mainstream of America to keep it alive.

What Didn't Work

1. The writing.

The plot was dull, overused, flat, unimaginative...shall I go on? The dialogue was just...stupid. I mean, come on. The boy scout line? That was old 40 years ago. The central mystery was not interesting or intriguing or clever or all that difficult to figure out. And I don't WATCH a lot of crime dramas (except Bones and The Mentalist, and Numb3rs--but that's it).

2. The secondary characters.

Unlike those in the three crime dramas I do watch, the cast surrounding the two stars is unmemorable, unimportant, and cliché. The daughter is half an exception. The bright, responsible child is a cliché, but she's well acted and has good chemistry with Fillion. The mother is the opposite--you can't get any more cliché than her, and she added nothing to the show. Ditto the vicious ex-wife who is also his publisher. So she hates him...that doesn't explain why he has apparent custody of his daughter, and why she didn't mention or interact with her mother (unless the ex isn't the mother--never addressed).

What Did Work

1. The writing got much better in the second half.

Not stellar, but the way they had Castle and the cop working things out about the case, but separately, worked very nicely. There was some better (though not much) dialogue--"Apples! Apples! Apples!" went a long way toward keeping us through the end.

2. Fillion and the actress who plays the cop.

Castle's character isn't as one-note as one might have expected. His cockiness didn't cross too far over into obnoxiousness, and he was wrong sometimes, or could have been, which made for a nice balance.

I like the actress playing the cop. She has talent, and there was some subtle acting going on in the scene where Castle used a never-before-seen method (note the sarcasm) of putting her in her place about what kind of person she is. Even though that element has been done to death, both actors made it interesting and both their characters appealing.

I hope they make a bit of a shift into a more Brennan/Bones kind of relationship, with less antagonism and exasperation, which gets tiresome very fast, and more mutual respect.

3. The writing inside the story.

Okay, the conceit of the episode was dull. But one thing that did work was the whole "now that's a story!" factor. Of course, I'm a novelist, so the story stuff is like my geek food. But while some of the fantasy is difficult to buy (his level of celebrity), I identify with the way he thinks. I also loved the moments with Patterson and Cannell and hope they do stuff like that again.

So bottom line is that I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I will definitely keep watching and praying that others do, too, just so I can keep seeing Nathan Fillion on the job every week.

Who's with me?


MJFredrick said...

I think I liked it a lot more than you did :) I LOVED the scenes with his daughter. That alone sold me. I liked the idea that his publisher was his ex, though you raise a good question-is she the girl's mom? I loved the idea that he's killed off his main character because he's bored and now is blocked.

But the main plot, the copycat-yeah, cliche! Yeesh. Also, secondaries on the cop's team-meh.

Did you see him on The View? He was just adorable!

Tracy Madison said...

I really enjoyed it, LOL. Cliches and all. :) I'll admit, though, that most of the appeal is Nathan. So...would I have liked it as much with another actor in that role? Nope.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

A lot of people liked it more than I did! I was kind of surprised. But I'm not complaining! :)

I loved the idea that he's killed off his main character because he's bored and now is blocked.

Yes, I liked that, too. And that his block freed after working with Kate.

Tracy, I agree wholeheartedly. It's possible that another actor could be charming enough to make me watch another week, but then, I wouldn't have watched in the first place without Nathan, so...

Susan Kelley said...

I'm going to give it another chance, probably because of Nathan. I think a lot of new shows don't get all the chemistry down right away. The characters on the Mentalist are so cute together they remind me a lot of Bones. And they've created a lot of depth to Simon Baker's character that they haven't given Castle yet. And I agree how cool it was to have real authors on there.
And what do you mean about Castle not being so improbably famous? I have the mayor of Hummelstown(pop. 3,000) on my speed dial.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're right, Sue, some take a little while to get their legs. It had good ratings last week--we'll see how it does tonight.

LOL on the mayor of Hummelstown. :)

Vicky B said...

I am definitely with you. The writing was cliche and the only original character was the daughter. But I also love Nathan so will continue to watch and hope it gets better.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I knew you'd agree with me, Bix! LOL