Friday, October 16, 2009

Building a Castle: From Space Cowboy to Crime Novelist

To celebrate this blog reaching 50 posts so quickly (yeah…I have way too much free time), I’ve invited Sarah back for another guest blog. This time, she’s going to be talking about a show she just discovered, ABC’s “Castle.” Even though I’m not a crime drama person, I approve of this choice because it stars none other than the wonderful Nathan Fillion of Firefly and Dr. Horrible fame. As Joss Whedon himself once said, “nobody brings the smarm” like Nathan! Here’s another fun little tidbit: there’s even a real-life mystery novel tie-in to Castle, called Heat Wave. If you like the show, check it out.

Also, here's a fun behind the scenes vid with Nathan Fillion. I used to have the starter kit up here, but ABC seems to rotate their videos. If you're reading this post and the vid below isn't Castle-related, that's why.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Sarah’s take on Castle…


Hey again everybody. I’m back for a short dip in the TV Critic pool. I recently picked up a new show; Castle. At first glance, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I hadn’t heard much about it aside from a friend in my section liked it. Then I realized it had Nathan Fillion (of awesome Firefly fame) as a lead and I just had to check it out. It was love at first watch (caught up on all 14 episodes in 2 days). So here’s a quick summation of the premise and what I like about it.


Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is a New York Times best-selling mystery author who has just published the last book in his famed Derek Storm series, by killing off the lead. Mr. Castle ends up involved in a police investigation when someone is using his books to stage murders. It turns out that the little tag-along on the case was what Rick needed to find his inspiration again. He now shadows Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) as he does research for his next series, based on Beckett. Rick names the star of his new novel Nikki Heat. Nikki Heat is a no-nonsense cop who is "a little slutty” (Rick couldn’t help himself). Aided occasionally by his daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn), Rick helps the NYPD solve all manner of homicides. In the process, Rick is trying to help Beckett solve her mother’s murder.

What’s so special?

Nathan Fillion does a great job pulling off the sometimes-snarky-oft-times-slightly inappropriate mystery writer persona. He has evolved over the first season from a general pain in the butt to someone who actually cares about the cops he’s working with and someone you want to care about too. He’s almost a little fearful of starting to write the new book because that means his time with the NYPD will be over. And I don’t think he can handle that.

And personally, I’m rooting for Castle and Beckett to eventually hook up. Not because they’re the leads but because I think they’re both a little lonely and they kind of get each other, or are in the process of getting there. The writers have built characters that you can sympathize and laugh with. It doesn’t hurt that Nathan is gorgeous (I love his eyes) and he and Stana have real chemistry together.

The real reason I fell in love with this show is the mix of crime drama and writing. They are two of my favorite things. It is a “crime of the week” kind of show but the writers do a fairly good job at pulling the character arcs through from episode to episode and also incorporating their growing relationships into the cases themselves.

I also like how Rick’s character is able to look at things from a writer’s perspective, how he would craft the story (of a murder or the case of the week) to make it make sense. Often times his perspective is crucial how the team finds the killer. There are also many humorous scenes when Rick ends up taking down a bad guy simply by trying to follow Beckett’s orders (usually to stay in the car).

It’s got everything a crime drama junkie could want; compelling criminal drama week-to-week, strong characters with a dash of humor and real relationships.

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