When Castle originally started airing on Star World, I wasn’t interested in it at all. Bones had just completed one of its seasons and Castle was taking over its place in the day. As a Bones fan, my first thought was “Oh no, not another! Haven’t we had enough of these already?” And though I did find the trailers very intriguing, I didn’t watch it for the first couple of weeks out of pure stubbornness. But as anyone who has been addicted to TV will attest to, I was bored without anything to watch in the Bones time slot and got around to it eventually. Still, I have to admit that the primary reason I started viewing it was because I thought Stana Katic was very cute.
As you may have guessed, with time, viewing Castle became much more than just a reason to ogle at Katic. In the realm of TV shows, homicide whodunits have been beaten to death. In addition to Bones, you have the multiple CSI shows, Numbers and countless others. At first sight, Castle really didn’t strike me as having anything special that set it apart. It was like any other crime show where you could guess the killer’s identity after the first couple of frames, but without any gimmick that the aforementioned shows possessed. Yet I kept coming back to it week after week. And before I knew it, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. So, I decided to ask myself the question: What makes Castle so special?
When talking about rom-coms, I wrote a few weeks back: “Yet, we fall in love with these films time and again; perhaps because that warm feeling we get at the end – though oddly familiar – is so good to have and therein lies their greatest strength.” You can probably say something similar about this show as well. Castle, and its kin, is like a properly cooked romantic comedy. The primary relationship is our bait and the show’s success depends on whether we fall for it. And in case you haven’t deduced it by now, I fell for it.
The character of Richard Castle is one I’ve grown to love with each passing season. It helps that I feel like I share a kinship with him because I am similarly fun-loving by nature and hope to never lose touch with my inner child. He is the centerpiece and the success of the relationship, and thereby the show, depends on whether we like him or not. Judging from the show’s success, it is hard to argue against him. It is also a role tailor-made for Nathan Fillion’s abundant natural charisma and charm. Being dramatic isn’t one of Fillion’s strengths, but thankfully the show doesn’t have many such moments, and he does his best when asked to be serious.
Kate Beckett is the more traditional significant other. Career-driven and focused, best-in-the-business, wounded by her past, chose to become a cop and so on – These are the thoughts that first pop into our head when we think about her. Unlike Castle who has the ability to surprise us sometimes, Kate is one-dimensional and the writers’ handling of the character also tells us as much. Stana Katic, besides looking really beautiful, serves as the perfect foil to Fillion.
Like any other character-driven show, it is essential that the primary two are paired with a great bunch of supporting characters, and Castle doesn’t disappoint. TV Guide ranked Ryan and Esposito as 2nd in their list of most-wanted spinoffs, and it isn’t hard to see why. Along with Castle, they are critical to keeping the tone light-hearted throughout. Fans like me have been crying out for more screen time for these two who are played perfectly by actors Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas. Susan Sullivan as Castle’s mother Martha Rodgers portrays probably the most human character in the show. Molly Quinn as Castle’s daughter Alexis who keeps him in check and Tamala Jones as Beckett’s best friend Lanie round out the cast.
In addition to the characters, what really makes Castle worth watching is the writing. Yes, some of it is cheesy especially the ones that have Castle and Beckett trying to crack open a case. Most of the goofy theories that Castle comes up with to explain a murder are laugh-out-loud funny and credit for that should go solely to the writers. The interchanges between Castle, Ryan and Esposito have had me in splits throughout all the seasons and, surprisingly, have not gone stale. The writers also need to be given kudos for making the dramatic portions work with some great lines. Another great strength is that the secondary relationships are also interesting – Castle and Alexis, Castle and his mother, Beckett and her Captain. They maybe clichéd but they’re also really well done.
Now comes the most important question: Why the sudden love for Castle? As it happens, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a really bad mood and didn’t feel like watching a film or playing a game. I had seen the first two seasons of Castle on TV back in India and decided to view it because out of all my options, it sounded like the most fun. Like first time around, I was hooked on it again. Since then, I’ve spent the best part of the past two weeks re-watching seasons 1 and 2 and catching up with Season 3. The latter in particular has to be one of the best seasons of a TV series in recent memory. The writing was great and the directions they seemed to be taking the characters in were intriguing as well. It was all going perfectly until…
Castle Season 3 finale ranks as one of the best episodes I’ve seen of any show in a long time. Not only did it have some startling revelations, it also had the best cliffhanger ending in some time. But like others around the web have already pointed out, I also felt that it was too much change within such a short span of time. It has left me a tad confused to be honest. In shows like this, the main selling point is in the primary relationship’s “Will they or will they not” conundrum. The ending threw a knife in the works as far as that is concerned. That doesn’t change anything though as I am still really interested in seeing where the writers take the characters from here. That, more than anything else, is why I absolutely cannot wait for Season 4 which oddly enough starts in a couple of days.