Castle premiered after the Bunny Cable Black-Out of 2008-2009. In fact, I had absolutely no idea what the show was about, other than that it starred Nathan Fillion.
Truth be told, that was all I needed to know, as I’ve been a serious fan of Fillion’s since his appearance on Buffy. I didn’t watch Firefly live, due to scheduling conflicts (and lack of DVR), so I couldn’t appreciate his Captain Tightpants until after the fact.
During the first season, I managed to watch exactly one episode, and that was during a trip to New York to visit my wonderful friend Mina. I was completely and utterly charmed by the show, which, considering the episode was about a body stuffed into a wall safe, is saying something.
I didn’t end up watching another episode “live” until the second-to-last episode of Season 2. This worked nicely, though, because watching them via the computer allowed me to make quite a few sound bytes to use as computer sounds.
I am a moderate fan of crime mystery television. I watched CSI up until Grissom left, and as previously mentioned, I do enjoy Bones. But I’m pretty particular. I didn’t watch any of the CSI spinoffs, despite Gary Sinise being in one of them. God help me if I remember which city that is.
But this is Nathan Fillion. And if there was ever an actor who deserved true celebrity status, it’s Fillion. This show is absolutely the perfect vehicle for his comedic talents. And hopefully more of his sad weepy face, which was one of the best parts of his acting in Firefly.
Nathan is absolutely fabulous in this role. He gets all of the best lines. I wonder if the other actors get annoyed by that fact. His wisecracks and charm also really help Stana Katic1 shine. She really does play the straight man to him, but when she gets a good wisecrack in, and shocks Castle himself, it's a refreshing change of pace.
The two play beautifully off each other. In the first season, there was more hostility than love, but the sexual chemistry was very believable. They started moving the two together a lot faster than they did with Booth and Brennan on Bones, but because we see Castle and Beckett's relationship from Point A on, this is SO much more believable. The spark is there with these two in a way I can't ever imagine seeing it with those two. I draw comparisons because I care.
Even better than his interaction with Beckett, though, is his interaction with his family. Immediately after seeing his first scenes with his mother and daughter, I knew they would end up being favorite characters of mine, and they are. I may enjoy their interactions even more than I do his with Beckett. The love and humor (and snark) between the three of them is so believable, and fun. I want Castle to be my dad. And not in a naughty way. Well, maybe a little in the naughty way.
Molly Quinn is crazy gorgeous. In the first season, I merely coveted her beautiful red hair. But by the second season, she'd become such a lovely young woman. Her skin is ridiculous, and her eyes are so bright and sparkling. As Alexis, she is so clever and charming, the perfect anti-Castle. I'm worried that once her college experience starts we won't see nearly enough of her.
If I want Richard Castle as my father, I want Martha as my grandmother even more. Susan Sullivan is one of those actresses who has played a small role in just about everything, 3/4 of which I haven't seen. I feel I've been missing out horribly. She is fantastic on the show. Such a firecracker, with wit and snark. We get so few real moments with her, I really hope for a good emotional episode next season. I want to see her worried, if not about Castle, maybe Alexis.
On the other end of the spectrum, I am so confused as to why Stana Katic has not been in more shows and movies. The woman is breathtakingly gorgeous. Too skinny, so says the wide-hipped blog writer, but she wears it extremely well. Very...very well.
In another actress' hands, the character of Kate Beckett could really suck. I mean really. She's very much a hardass, and by the book and tightly wound, especially during Season 1. But Stana plays her with serious heart, and just the right amount of sarcastic humor. While Castle gets the best lines, Stana gets the most powerful humor, the most unexpected. It's lovely to see.
Then we have Ryan and Esposito. Sadly, there isn't enough fodder to give each of them their own blog blip. For a season and a half, we knew nothing personal about Esposito, and the only knowledge we had of Ryan was that he had a mystery girlfriend and got teased mercilessly for it. Then the writers threw us a bone, and we had an Esposito-centric storyline. This was actually wonderful. How about a little MORE attention next season, hmm, writers?
Also, I completely expected Ryan's girlfriend to show up as the dominatrix that made him untie her boot. Don't ask me why, I just really wanted it to happen.
I love Lanie for the same reasons I love Martha. She adds that element of sass and fun to the procedural part of the show. When she isn't in an episode, I feel cheated. Especially when they bring in the other forensic doc, who yells at the cops all the time. Funny, but I prefer Lanie. Plus she gets to flirt with Castle, which none of the regulars get to do. I want some serious plot development around her.
The guest stars on this show make me :-D. So many whedonverse alumni it makes my head spin, not to mention phenomenal actors such as Anne Dudek, Alyssa Milano, and Dana Delany. At a certain point, I was paying more attention to the opening credits than the opening scenes. Not to mention the recurrence of my favorite guilty pleasure writer, James Patterson. And he actually speaks, it's not just an empty cameo. That may be the best part for me.
My friend Ali pointed out not too long ago that Castle is a strictly procedural show, and she's right. There isn't a season arc. It's 24 episodes straight of this format:
1) Death introduction
2) Castle quip
3) Dead body + interviewing family and coworkers, thereby introducing the killer (we won't know until 10 minutes before the end, though)
4) Red Herring
5) Epiphany, usually experienced half by Castle, half by Beckett
6) Arrest and confession
7) Beckett and Kate quipping and/or Castle family quipping
It's a familiar format with these shows. Change the names and a couple of miniscule details and you've got Bones' format, as well.
Season 1 tried for an arc, with finding Beckett's mother's killer. But even that was very, very thin.
I'm not complaining. I absolutely adore seeing these people together, and, in the first season at least, the deaths were just fascinating. Safe. Washing machine (or was that a dryer?). Frozen stiff. Just...good times.
Season 2 seems to have forgotten that Beckett "likes the strange ones". Apparently the writers expended all of their weird ideas early, and are now just doing "normal" crime scenes. Rather disappointing, even though they do get some really original ideas. I have to give it up to them on that. Amnesia, spy game, vampires. They're working it.
Speaking of vampires. Should we discuss the fandom moment heard round the interwebs? What Fillion fan didn't squeal like a woman when they saw that belt being buckled? I don't know if it's Nathan who is talking them into making the references, or if the writers/producers/etc are actual fans of his other work, but they get a lot of Firefly/Buffy references into the show. It's surprising and also thrilling. Other than the obvious, they've managed to work in:
1) The direct Buffy reference in Vampire Weekend
2) Castle saying, "Five by Five" in Little Girl Lost
3) Hands of Blue in Fool Me Once (Pay attention to his hand motions after getting the blue latex gloves on, Nathan confirmed that on Twitter)
4) Not an actual fandom reference, but in Double Down, Nathan got to work in his now infamous catch phrase "Bam, said the lady!" He tweeted that he got to do the "Feed the birds" hand sign, but either it hasn't aired yet, or I missed it. The latter is highly probable.
I think it's very likely that Nathan becomes BFFs with everyone he works with, and they just let him get his way at all times. Anyone doubt that?
The last thing that should be mentioned. Since the first episode I watched, I've been fighting with myself over whether Beckett and Castle should get groiny. These are two seriously pretty people, and pretty people should always make out on shows. At least, that's what the networks and television viewing public seem to believe.
But I like sexual tension. I love when two characters with obvious chemistry are in a scene together, NOT a couple, not having sex, and you can just sense that at any moment, one of them could grab the other one and make out harder than a drunk high school girl at a frat party.
So, I was genuinely hoping that there would never be a relationship between the two that went further than naughty flirtations.
Then they brought Demmings in.
The original workout scenes between the two of them were so damn hot, I pretty much assumed they were going to hook them up. Then I fell for the red herring of him being the dirty cop, and was disappointed. Then immediately upon realizing they were going to be coupling, my brain went, "But...but...but what about Castle?"
I'm very very confused by my personal reactions to the pairing of Castle and Beckett. In my opinion, they get groiny, the show gains an expiration date. But after that season finale, I am deeply torn about how they are going to work around what they've just set in motion.
I look forward to seeing it play out next season.
1: I'm going to be checking the spelling on her name every single time I type it throughout this entry. Good grief. ^