By Paul F. Montgomery
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 4 | Posted Mar. 24, 2009

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Mondays, 10pm, ABC

The cops of film and television have a storied history of solving crimes with partners who aren’t cops. They’ve patrolled the beat with mathematicians (Numb3rs), dogs (Turner and Hooch), kids (Cop and a 1/2), anthropologists (Bones) and animated bobcats (Bonkers).

On paper, at least, there’s nothing terribly special about Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) tagging along on a case. He’s a crime novelist who writes the kind of guilty pleasures you read on the beach. He’s a likable, if smarmy, jerk.

Castle also has a deranged and constantly tipsy mother (Susan Sullivan) who bears more than a passing resemblance to Arrested Development matriarch Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter). His teen daughter is of the too-sensible-for-her-years Rory Gilmore variety, probably the only one to check the batteries in the smoke detectors. His no-nonsense partner, Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), is cast from the same (undeniably lovely) mold as Mariska Hargitay.

There’s no escaping it; Castle is cookie-cutter. But don’t wrap it up in police tape just yet, because here’s the thing about cookie cutters: More often than not, they result in cookies. Which are often delicious.

Castle is just such a confection. It’s pulp, but it’s not mindless. In fact, its only real crime is that it’s familiar. There’s no real shame in reveling in its charm. And so much of that charm is due to Fillion, who hemorrhages charisma. The actor has been wooing audiences for years with swashbuckling turns in Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog. And though his most recent star vehicle (Drive) crashed and burned, it never played to his strengths as a true rogue.

Castle is Fillion at his brash and hammy best as an unapologetically entertaining entertainer. Turn up your nose if you want, but keep your eyes on the screen.

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Comments 1 - 4 of 4
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1. JM Stump said... on Mar 24, 2009 at 09:30PM

“Agreed, more people need to watch this show that Fillion can finally have some good luck for once.”

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2. Dave Carr said... on Mar 24, 2009 at 09:38PM

“There isn't a weak link in this cast. The obvious eye candy factor in both Fillion and Stana Katic reminds so much of the situation that existed between David James Elliot and Catherine Bell in the oft overlooked JAG. There is a similar interplay between the rakish rookie Elliot and the veteran no nonsense Bell.

The wonderful thing about CASTLE is the ample opportunity for dramatic maturation/ Plot lines could range from Castle as a single parent to Castle as a disillusioned son or even Beckett's past- obviously she has a broken heart or two in her past. Fundamentally, she and Castle.are both broken pieces that interlock just so.

Overall the series has been flawlessly executed. One can only hope that the potential for a long form narrative with dramatic underpinnings is realized - even if this narrative is loosely constructed with a natural ebb and flow.”

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3. Caroline said... on Mar 26, 2009 at 09:03AM

“Great review, and right on. I love the cookie metaphor -- cookies ARE yummy.”

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4. Barry said... on Mar 26, 2009 at 10:52PM

“I really am liking this show. It's like Moonlighting only good. The review nails it.”


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