Building the perfect ‘Castle’

Derek Thurber

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NOT JAMES PATTERSON: Nathan Fillion as his titular character in "Castle."

When I first saw an advertisement for the new ABC show “Castle,” I thought, “Oh, no, not another terrible cop drama.” I was still getting over the horrible failure of “Life on Mars,” and was not ready to be so unbelievably disappointed by another show again.

But I watched the pilot anyway, because what harm could that do, really? I was instantly blown away by how well the show was made. When the pilot was over I found myself having that wonderful, though not often-achieved feeling of not knowing where the last hour went.

Every week since that first episode now a month ago, I have hardly been able to wait until the next Monday, when I can watch the next episode. And as of yet, the following episodes have not disappointed me each week.

“Castle” has a compelling and unique plot. It is rare to find a truly different plot in a show these days, but “Castle” has achieved that goal.

It is also not afraid of stereotypes. Instead of uselessly trying to avoid every cliché that will inevitably come up in a cop drama, “Castle” lets those stereotypes occur in the plot and then acknowledges them in a metatheatrical moment in which the characters make some comment about the cliché plot they are in.

“‘Castle’ follows the story of two main characters: a very down-to-earth female detective, played by Stana Katic, and an eccentric but lovable murder mystery novelist, played by the cult favorite star of ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity,'” Nathan Fillion.

The plot opens in the pilot episode with Detective Kate Beckett, played by Katic, finding a murder victim that copies a murder from one of the murder mystery novels by Richard Castle, played by Fillion. When she approaches Castle about this, he is thrilled and wants to help with the investigation.

By the end of the episode, Castle has decided to use Detective Beckett as his inspiration for a new series of murder novels so he must do “original research” by shadowing Beckett at her work.
From there, the two solve murders together, with Beckett being the serious detective who solves real crimes and Castle being the flamboyant writer who finds solutions based on what murder would make the best plot line for one of his books. Together they make a compelling and interesting team that solves crimes very efficiently.

Fillion, who has appeared in very few things since “Firefly,” does not disappoint his fan base. He is a smart, funny, confident man with a good life and he knows it.

But where “Castle” really blows me away most is its pure enjoyment factor. Unlike what seems like every other show on television these days, “Castle” does not fall into the   trivial and annoying trap of having to create conflict where it is not needed.   Castle has a perfect life which is refreshingly good. It seems like every time I watch a show the main character has to be screwed up because it creates good drama.

If that is true, then I hate good drama.

This show has quickly jumped to the top of my lists of favorites and I will continue to look forward to “Castle” every week. If you watch no other show this year, check out “Castle.” You won’t be disappointed. I enthusiastically give this show five out of five stars.

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