Of all the returning shows, ABC's "Castle" with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, was the one to which I most looked forward. It was the one my wife and I watched live (while taping CSI: Miami; watched that one at 10pm CST, and that one was quite good, too). For my money, last night's season premiere didn't disappoint.
"Deep in Death" picks up the story of Richard Castle (Fillion) at an indeterminate amount of time since last season's finale. Castle is holding a photo shoot in the NY police station and an annoying fangirl of a reporter interviews Katic's Detective Beckett about Castle's invaluable contribution to solving cases. Beckett, of course, rolls her eyes, but is put back in line by her CO, who wants all the good press the NYPD can get.
Cut to the murder-of-the-week: a dead man in a tree with signs of strangulation. Beckett and Castle both offer potential reasons and motive before Beckett all but orders Castle back to the morgue with the body. Halfway there, the ambulance is attacked and masked men steal the body. A clearly shaken Castle utters one of his patented one-liners and we're off.
What follows is an hour of television that is flat-out fun. I found myself chuckling a lot at the two supporting detectives (Javier and Kevin), especially when you see them exchanging money and laying odds on when Beckett will forgive Castle. The murder-mystery is more interesting than those cases from season one, clearly riffing off our current economic uncertainty: an unemployed man goes to desperate measures to maintain the fiction of his life. It's almost plausible...to a certain point. Having cameos by Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly is just icing on the cake. The relationship Castle has with his daughter and mother is almost enough to spin off on the Family Channel. And Castle's quip about Hollywood making a movie based on the Asteroids video game wins my Best Quip Award of the evening.
“Well, they just optioned Asteroid the video game, so my guess is yes. But Ryan Reynolds is playing the wee triangle [here, Fillion holds up his hands in a triangle shape], and he’s good.”
A write-up like mine can't do justice to the chemistry Fillion and Katic have on screen. Their witty banter, flying at light speed, brings to mind Moonlighting and (from what I've heard; never watched it) Bones. Fillion plays Castle as a man who knows he's charming and disarming, almost to a fault. Katic plays Beckett close to the vest, letting out little dribbles of back story per episode. More often than not, I'm watching this show with a big, goofy grin on my face. Ken Tucker, of Entertainment Weekly, once pronounced Castle was too cute by half. That may be so, but it's damn cute.
From more than one source (Gerald So's Twitter and the fan-based Castletv.net), it appears Castle beat The Jay Leno Show last night. Not bad, considering CSI: Miami is a ratings juggernaut. The thing I fear most is that Castle stays in this time slot and gets slaughtered by CSI: Miami, which is pretty much going to happen every week. If the ABC execs start thinking about cancelling this fun show, I sure hope they consider changing the time slot rather than cancellation. That's my plea.
I don't think that cancellation is likely in the near term, ,however. ABC commissioned a real Richard Castle book. In the show, Castle is promoting Heat Wave, the story inspired by Beckett, and featuring NY detective Nikki Heat. Well, you can actually go and purchase Heat Wave at your nearest bookstore. If you want to read a few chapters, head on over to the Castle page at ABC.com. It's a neat synergy. Speaking of synergy, Central Crime Zone posts an interview with Richard Castle (yeah, for real). It's cool reading the Q&A and hearing Fillion's voice.
The cool thing for y'all who might have missed it last night, Castle is on Hulu. You can watch last night's episode, about five episodes from season 1, and various clips and interviews. Take a look.
And watch Castle, even if you have to tape/DVR it. Then, every Tuesday, you can check back here for my take on the previous night's episode. EW.com has added Castle as part of it's TV Recap series, written by Mandy Bierly. Then you can read Marc Bernardin's hilarious confession of a man crush on Fillion, complete with video.
Whew! Is that enough homework for y'all? Hope not. You'll enjoy it.