The one-hour cop/murder mystery drama. Has there been a genre that has been as used as this? How is a writer/producer supposed to create something in this genre that hasn’t been done to death? Well, the creator of Castle has done a pretty good job with creating a cop/murder mystery drama that has a great mix of story, strong characters, humor and heart. My review after the jump:
Castle gets it’s name from the main character Richard Castle played by Nathan Fillion. Richard Castle is a rich and famous murder/mystery novelist who at the opening of the series is on the verge of releasing his latest book in his “Derek Storm” series. Everyone is sure to love it. The only problem is that Castle has decided to kill off his golden goose in this book because he’s lost the spark in writing for the character. So even though Castle is in for a huge payday he knows that he has no safety net, he has to start a new book with a new main character. Ahh, just his luck, someone just murdered someone and posed the body as one of the kills from a Castle book and the detective in charge Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic recognizes the scene and contacts Castle for information. This starts Castle and Beckett’s relationship. Castle soon discovers that he should design the main character for his next main book on Beckett.
Nathan Filllion is perfect for the role of Rick Castle. Castle is a guy you would love to hate (rich, good looking, smart a bit smug) but Fillion brings a playful humor to him that makes him very likeable. Must be because he’s Canadian. Something about the Great White North they just breed likeable actors. Fillion’s Castle is a wonderful match to Katic’s portrayal of detective Beckett. Beckett is structured, guarded and even though she’s a huge fan of Castle’s books (which she tries real hard to hide) she is annoyed by Castle’s bravado. Katic does a great job of showing us the facets of her character with seriousness of her back story and her ability to have fun dueling with Castle. What?!?! I just read that she’s Canadian also. I told you they just mass produce likeable actors up there. The playful sparring dusted with a light dose of sexual tension between the two of them is the heart of the series. Combine that with well-written crime mystery and you have a pretty entertaining show.
The episodes of Castle flow very well with suspense, witty humor. The supporting cast works well together. I especially like Castle’s family. His earnest teenage daughter Alexis played by Molly C. Quinn and his effervescent, over ripe, Broadway star mother played to the hilt by Susan Sullivan. The two of them allow us to see the softer side of Castle as a caring single father and harassed son.
The look of the show is top notch. The cinematography, art direction and lighting all are outstanding. This is a really well shot, crisp looking show.
Whodunit: The Genesis of Castle (6:14) – Information on the creation of the show and the characters. Mildly interesting.
Castle’s Godfather (7:15) – This is a rambling conversation between Rob Bowman (Executive Producer and Director), Andrew Marlowe (Creator and Executive Producer), and Stephen J. Cannell (Emmy award-winning writer and producer of The Rockford Files, The A-Team and many others. The many other do not include Castle) about the show and their history. No, you read correctly, Cannell doesn’t write or produce Castle. Why, you may ask is this on the DVD? Well, both Bowman and Marlowe are big fans of Stephen J. Cannell and because Bowman is a family friend they put Cannell in the show when Castle has his poker games with other mystery writers. Mildly entertaining. If you like Cannell you’ll like it.
Write-Along With Nathan Fillion (9:07) – This is a goofy skit that they put together to parody a police ride-along. Get it, WRITE-along. Sort of funny but more silly as Cannell tries to show Fillion what it takes to be a writer. An odd addition but I give them points for trying and I’m glad they put it on the DVD. Steven has a one beautiful house. The A-Team was berry, berry good to Steven.
Misdemeanors: Bloopers & Outtakes (2:37) – Disappointing. It would seem from the commentary that the cast has a lot of fun together but you don’t really get to see much of it on this.
Commentaries: The 10 episodes are spread over three discs. Each disc has at least one commentary with Marlowe, Bowman, Fillion, Katic, and actor Jon Huertas. Disc 1 has the commentary on Episode 1 “Flowers for Your Grave”, Disc 2 has commentary for Episode 5 “A Chill Goes Through Her Veins” and the addition of Molly Quinn to the bunch. Disc 3 has two commentaries on the season finale “A Death in the Family”. The first is with the previously listed bunch. The second commentary features just Huertas and fellow actor Seamus Dever. Huertas and Dever play fellow detectives Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan. The three group commentaries are a mildly interesting mix of information about the show and anecdotes. The first one is the strongest one of the three group commentaries just because they seem to be more on point with discussions about the characters, story and key acting points to notice. The second two have a lot of talking over each other and sort of just meander around with general conversations and such. The star commentary is the last one with Huertas and Dever. This one is pretty entertaining. It’s loose and funny, more of a joking around fun time. I would have liked to have heard them on more episodes.
I’m a fan of the show. Solid crime/mystery stories mixed with two strong main characters that work well together. Smart, provocative and fun. It’s worth watching even though the DVD package doesn’t really offer much punch in way of extras.