Castle, a comedy/murder mystery series starring Firefly’s Nathan Fillion as the title character, a celebrity mystery writer, and Stana Katic as a New York City police detective, premiered Monday night on ABC.
Castle follows a well know television formula. Male and female characters with personalities that make them clash are thrown together to solve mysteries, usually a murder. The fun is to watch the two characters bickers and the sexual tension ebb and flow as they chase the bad guys and their relationship deepens into something-well–deeper.
Nathan Fillion plays Richard Castle, a bon vivant, narcissistic bad boy writer of mystery pot boilers who finds everything rather amusing, even the fact that someone is killing people using methods inspired by his books. Stana Katic play Kate Beckett, who is amused neither by the murders or by the fact that she has to try to provide adult supervision for Castle as he helps to solve the crimes. Susan Sullivan plays Castle’s mother, a former Broadway actress named Martha Rodgers who, like most television moms, can be difficult. Molly Quinn plays Castle’s teenage daughter who, like most television daughters, is too precocious for her own good.
The pilot episode of Castle fell a little flat, as if all the elements were there for something entertaining, but somehow failed to mesh. Nathan Fillion’s Richard Castle was a bit too shallow and Stana Katic’s Kate Beckett seemed too tightly wound to be entirely likeable. Moonlighting Castle was not, nor was it Bones, whose clashing characters are more interesting and clearly have an affection and respect for one another beneath the bickering.
The supporting characters seemed to be a little too clichéd as well. Besides the mother and the daughter, there was Police Captain Roy Montgomery, played by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, whom we have met in a thousand police procedurals. At least he did not slam his fist on the desk and yell, “Violate department procedure again and I’ll have your badge!”
Castle can, of course, improve with subsequent episodes. But one might actually wish the series to fail quickly, so that Nathan Fillion, an underutilized actor with great talent, could move on to a more worthy project-say-the sequel to Serenity. Mal Reynolds was a bad boy outlaw but, unlike Richard Castle, he has depth and heart. Failing a sequel to Serenity, how about a western directed by Clint Eastwood? Eastwood seems to be the only modern director who can pull off a western these days without inducing cringe and Nathan Fillion would look great in buckskins or, even better and more politically incorrect, cavalry blue.
Source: Castle, IMDB