Monday nights this past spring were chock full of shows my wife and I watch: Anthony Boudain's No Reservations, CSI: Miami, '24', Rules of Engagement, and Antiques Roadshow. The newest member of the Monday Night Club is Castle. Granted, this show breaks no new ground but it is perhaps the most entertaining and humorous hour of television we watch each week.
Nathan Fillion (of Firefly fame) is at his suave, charming best here playing a mystery novelist who gets himself inserted into the NYPD's squad room alongside Stana Katic's hard-boiled police detective. Early on in the season, my wife and I started counting the number of times Fillion smirked, raised his eyebrows, but said nothing. It could have been a drinking game in the same way as when you watch '24' and Keifer Sutherland's Jack Bauer says "Dammit".
What makes this show better than other light-hearted cop shows is the characters but not necessarily the dynamic of the two leads. You've seen this kind of thing before (Moonlight, for example). No, what really shines in this show is the relationship Castle has with his teenaged daughter and his mother, both of whom live in his lavish NY apartment. The mother, played by Susan Sullivan (of Falcon Crest fame) is an old Broadway diva who still flits around as if she were still in her twenties. She's the comic relief in some scenes but you can tell there is genuine love and repsect there.
His daughter, Alexis, played by Molly C. Quinn, is refreshingly...normal. She's not full of teen angst, she doesn't change her hair color every week, and she doesn't hate school. She's a normal teeager, smart, insightful, and well-balanced, which is saying something considering who her dad and grandmother is. Castle and Alexis love each other and you get to see the bittersweet emotions play over Fillion's face just about every episode as he realizes his little girl is growing up or, depending on the crime, how he'd react if he were in the case of the victim. As a parent, I find these intimate scenes quite touching.
I'm very happy that ABC picked up this show for a second season. If you haven't had a chance to watch any of the episodes, head on over to the Castle Episode Page at ABC.com and you can watch them online. I think you'll enjoy them.