CASTLE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Nathan Fillion as RICHARD CASTLE
Stana Katic as KATE BECKETT
Seamus Dever as KEVIN RYAN
Ruben Santiago-Hudson as ROY MONTGOMERY
Molly C. Quinn as ALEXIS CASTLE
Jon Huertas as JAVIER ESPOSITO
Susan Sullivan as MARTHA RODGERS
Studio: ABC Studios
BY KEVIN CARR
Ever since he starred in the series “Firefly,” Nathan Fillion has been a favorite of genre fans the world over. Unfortunately for Fillion, outside of the sci-fi conventions, he’s never had a really big hit. That is about to change with his role on “Castle.” And although I don’t consider myself a “Firefly” fan in the least, I’m glad to see he’s getting some big-time recognition after secondary stints on everything from “Waitress” to “Desperate Housewives.”
Fillion stars as Rick Castle, a wildly popular mystery writer who has struck a deal with the NYPD to shadow Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) for a limited amount of time as research for his next book. Of course, there’s an instant sexual tension, but the relationship works out well because Castle brings his unique insight as a novelist to help solve the crimes.
As a short mid-season replacement, “Castle” was a fresh look at the detective genre. Sure, it had certain similarities with other shows (like the teenage daughter of a single parent subplot we’ve seen in “Eureka” and “Lie to Me,” the mother trying to keep her youth we’ve seen in “Two and a Half Men” and the brilliant consultant to the police we’ve seen in “The Mentalist”), but the power behind Fillion and Katic’s chemistry is what makes the show work.
The series falls into formula pretty quickly in the first season, but that’s been toned down a bit in season two, which premiered before this DVD set streeted in September. Overall, “Castle” is as lighthearted as you can make a show about murder, and Fillion leads the show very well. He has a cool nature that makes him a popular guy yet he is protective of his daughter, making him an honorable man.
The detective stories are less predictable than “The Mentalist,” but equally as enjoyable. Still, it is the tension between Castle and Beckett that provides the fuel for the series.
The first season DVD includes bloopers, audio commentaries on selected episodes and three featurettes. “Whodunit: The Genesis of Castle” shows how the creators developed the series. “Castle’s Godfather” introduced the audience to legendary writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell. But the best featurette by far is “Write-Along with Nathan Fillion,” in which Fillion takes a whimsical journey shadowing Cannell, showing his very healthy comedic side.