While I've said on a few occasions in the past that the crime drama genre is an overcrowded one on TV, occasionally one offers enough positives to let it stand above the pack to some degree. On the surface, "Castle" didn’t seem like another run-of-the-mill cop show, in fact, it had potential to be a lot more. Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) isn’t a cop at all, he’s a crime novelist who’s rather successful at what he does. He’s unfortunately so successful that a copycat emerges and begins to copy Castle’s written crime series. Once the NYPD gathers that the murders are linked to Rick’s novels, they bring him in to help shed any light into catching the copycat, as well as to try and stay a few steps ahead.
While this sounds interesting enough: writer’s stories are copied, he joins the NYPD to help them catch the murderer. However, I worried that it would loose steam as the main case was quickly resolved. Thankfully, “Castle” took another twist that ultimately turned out to be pretty entertaining. Now that Castle has finished his crime series, he’s looking for a new idea. After working with the NYPD and more specifically, Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), Castle has a new inspiration for his next novel series. He gets permission to join the NYPD as a shadow, to gain further insight into their jobs, the crimes they solve and the life of Detective Beckett. Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well with Kate, who’s not as open to the idea as Castle.
Castle and Beckett are your classic pairing of two people who couldn’t be more different, but somehow mange to make a charming duo. Beckett is constantly making orders and reminding Castle that he’s there to observe, and Castle is consistently disregarding her warnings. And really, Katic and Fillion do play well off of each other and create a believable chemistry that’s certainly necessary to carry this kind of show. Their dialogue is snappy and their impending romance is without question foreseeable, but still it’s harmless fun watching them come closer and closer to that inevitable episode.
Turns out, “Castle” isn’t a cop show after all, in fact it’s more of a mystery-drama with a hint of humor. And while the show does mainly focus on the crime scenes, it manages to find balance between the crime and Castle’s life at home. There are some memorable supporting characters that help flesh out the series, such as Castle’s daughter Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) and his mother Martha (Susan Sullivan) who’s got a flair for drama. Also part of the crime solving team are Captain Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas), Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever), and Dr. Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones). While “Castle” isn’t the best whodunit show out there, it’s worth watching and memorable enough thanks to the performances. If you’re in the mood for a quickly paced, fun, and mysterious show, give “Castle” a try. While there’s only ten episodes in the first season, fans will be happy to know it was picked up for a second season on ABC.
1. 1- 1 9 Mar 09 Flowers for Your Grave
2. 1- 2 16 Mar 09 Nanny McDead
3. 1- 3 23 Mar 09 Hedge Fund Homeboys
4. 1- 4 30 Mar 09 Hell Hath No Fury
5. 1- 5 6 Apr 09 A Chill Goes Through Her Veins
6. 1- 6 13 Apr 09 Always Buy Retail
7. 1- 7 20 Apr 09 Home Is Where the Heart Stops
8. 1- 8 27 Apr 09 Ghosts
9. 1- 9 4 May 09 Little Girl Lost
10. 1-10 11 May 09 A Death in the Family
VIDEO: "Castle" is presented by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is quite good, as the image remained crisp and well-defined for the majority, with only a couple of slightly softer moments seen here-and-there.
Some minor edge enhancement and a couple of slight artifacts were visible, but the image was almost entirely free of issues. Colors appeared natural and accurate, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "Castle" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The presentation generally remains forward-oriented, as one would expect from a drama like this. Still, surrounds occasionally offer some ambience and other tidbits - especially on the outdoor street sequences. Audio quality was certainly satisfactory, with crisp dialogue, music and sound effects.
“Misdemeanors: Bloopers & Outtakes” A brief reel of the cast goofing off and flubbing lines. Worth a look for fans.
“Whodunit: The Genesis of Castle” - A look with the creators of “Castle” at how and why the series was created. They go on to talk about the character development, the desire to make memorable, well written characters, as well as the importance of believable dialogue. With a look at the cast playing the characters and interviews with the actors, this feature is nice for fans.
“Write-along with Nathan Fillion” a humorous feature that has Nathan Fillion shadowing mystery writer Stephen J. Cannell (and Executive Producer for “The Rockford Files”, “A-Team” and “Stingray”) to better prepare for his role as Rick Castle.
“Castle’s Godfather” This is a closer look at writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell who also guest appears on the series. Sitting with him in the interview is Castle creator/Executive Producer Andrew Marlowe and Executive Producer/Director Rob Bowman. Bowman and Cannell talk about Cannell helped get Rob a job while Marlowe talks about Cannell’s influence on him.
Audio Commentaries for “Flowers For Your Grave” - creator/Executive Producer Andrew Marlowe, Executive Producer Rob Bowman, actors Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas. “A Chill Goes Through Her Veins” - includes the above commentators as well as Molly Quinn. “A Death in the Family” includes the above commentators. There’s another commentary for “A Death in the Family” with Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever. All of the commentaries are enjoyable and manage to stay on track. There are some moments that lag a bit here and there, but with so many people offering commentary, there’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
SNEAK PEEKS “Ugly Betty: The Complete Third Season”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Lost: The Complete Fifth Season”, “Old Dogs”, “Life on Mars”, “10 Things I hate About You: 10th Anniversary Edition”, and Disney Blu-ray.
Final Thoughts: While “Castle” isn’t the best whodunit show out there, it’s worth watching and memorable enough thanks to the performances. If you’re in the mood for a quickly paced, fun, and mysterious show, give “Castle” a try.