Castle is a procedural drama leaning towards dramedy. Its primary setting is very similar to that of The Mentalist: a female detective gets an unwanted aid in the person of a minor celebrity with good investigative skills of non-police origin; at first she’s not exactly happy about it, but the helper proves to be quite useful, plus they have some emotional tension growing between them, so eventually it becomes their new normal. The show is of mixed format, although, unlike The Mentalist, Castle‘s 1st season is only building to a story arc, but consists of separate episodes connected exclusively through the network of personal relationships.
The show does bear a lot of similarity with the Mentalist, at least in the beginning, but when it comes to the quality of writing, it obviously lags behind. There is no excuse for absence of the arc; acclimatizing with the characters and the environment is fine, but that personal connections thing is too weak of a glue to hold this all together. This is especially evident against the background of simplistic, predictive stories (it’s not a good thing when a viewer arrives at the right solution earlier than the detectives do) full of cliché situations, dubious psychological profiles for the secondary characters (victims, witnesses, etc.), and, once in a while, not very good dialogs. Of course, Fillion’s acting (and, what the heck, charisma) makes it all seem worthwhile; the humor is not so bad; the acting of other main characters is quite good, – but that’s barely enough to sit through these 10 episodes, and not enough to want to keep watching.
However, this is my second go at the show; after 1st attempt I concluded pretty much the same thing as described above; this time I’m willing to go further – not least since I’ve heard that what only started to take shape by the end of the 1st season (dead cold investigation of detective Beckett’s mother’s death) should develop into something interesting in the subsequent seasons. So, I’m going to see how the 2nd season would pan out, and decide what to do next from there.
Created by: Andrew W. Marlowe
Directed by: Rob Bowman, John Terlesky, Bryan Spicer, Jamie Babbit, Dean White
Written by: Andrew W. Marlowe, Barry Schindel, David Grae, Charles Murray, Gabrielle Stanton, Harry Werksman, Will Beall, Moira Kirland, Elizabeth Davis
Performed by: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Tamala Jones, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Dan Castellaneta, Joseph C. Phillips, Bailey Chase, Scott Paulin
Time: 7h6m (a. 10 episodes)
Entertaining quality: 4 out of 5
Art quality: 3 out of 5
Links: (website) | (wiki ~show) | (wiki ~season)