Tag Archives: Castle

Castle 3×01-3×02

relationship spoilers

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Despite their ostensible dependence on independent case-of-the-week episodes, procedurals really live or die based on the continuity provided by the main characters and the bits of each episode that exists outside of the week’s mystery. That’s what keeps you coming back, and when it works it’s great.

So far on Castle, it continues to work. Nathan Fillion’s charm, met perfectly by Stana Katic’s mildly sarcastic wit, plus some sparkling dialogue fill those spaces between the mystery plot points in a way that continues to be winning going into the ever-critical third season, the point where formula starts to wear thin and shows often teeter on the edge of losing themselves and becoming boring or ridiculous.

It’s a critical point for Castle this year because last season saw the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett get ever stronger until the finale, when Beckett came *this close* to telling Castle she had feelings for him – until he left for three months summer retreat rekindling his relationship with his ex-wife. Returning this year and reinstating the existing partner relationship between Castle and Beckett begs the question of where that will go.

And judging from the subplots of the first two episodes, which have seen Alexis dealing with her first boyfriend and Caste’s mother receiving a marriage proposal from her significant other, it’s going to come to a head sometime this season. That’s even laying aside the numerous offhand lines of dialogue suggesting that Beckett ought to go for it. I’m a little worried by this, because when procedurals link work partners romantically, it almost always dilutes the show and forces the writers to figure out how to break them up again logically because alternating sexual tension and fulfillment seem to be the only device TV writers know how to build arcs around.

But with Castle, I’m kind of on the Beckett-Castle ship. They’ve built the partnership quite well, and the romance aspect doesn’t feel forced. Plus, the mysteries themselves are usually good enough that I pay attention to them (which I often find myself not doing in procedurals). And the unique construct of allowing Castle to have sudden insights because he thinks like a storyteller is pretty interesting most of the time.

I guess all this to say that watching the first couple of episodes of Castle felt really good, like coming home and discovering that home is just as entertaining and breezy as it was last year. This is the only procedural on my schedule this year, and I’m perfectly happy with it. As far as these first two episodes individually go, both had decent cases of the week, though both quite dependent (as usual) on abundant red herrings. I don’t mind that, as I’m more along for the ride with Castle, and as long as it remains light and enjoyable (and the cases don’t get stupid, or Beckett and Castle don’t get stupid), I’m there. A few less “ha, gotcha” moments might be welcome – the opening of the premiere had Castle and Beckett pulling guns on each other and Beckett ordering Castle to get down on the ground, a scenario you won’t (and shouldn’t) believe is the whole story for a second.

Fall TV Is Upon Us Once Again

This year I’ve decided to watch less TV. I decide this every year, and somehow end up with roughly 17-20 shows I try to watch anyway. Sure enough when I added up all the ones I want to check out this year, I ended up with seventeen. But I’m pretty serious about cutting back, even if it means leaving behind some things.

Definitely Watching – Returning Shows

These are the shows that I just can’t bring myself to give up.

Fringe

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Possibly my most-anticipated returning show this year. Season Two stepped up to the place something fierce after a rocky first season, and last year’s finale had me salivating to return to the Fringe universe – or should I say universes. Fringe is probably the best sci-fi you’ll see this fall, and is starting to get enough ideas going that it may make it onto the list of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows, if it can keep up S2’s momentum.

Community

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I never would’ve guessed it going into last year, but freshman sitcom Community consistently out-classed its more established siblings on NBC’s Thursday line-up, offering a witty and satirical look at self-absorbed types going back to community college. There’s far more here than meets the eye, and if the writing stays half as strong this year as last, I’m totally in.

Castle

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Usually I start each year with several crime procedurals, because they make me happy. Generally, they fall off my schedule fairly quickly as my time runs short, though. Castle is one that hasn’t, because its combination of mystery/procedural, comedy, and character development hits that sweet spot that most procedurals can only manage for a few episodes at a time before it gets old. Thanks to the actors and snappy writing, so far Castle has stayed fresh, and I look forward to seeing much more Nathan Fillion on my TV.

Chuck

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I very nearly threw Chuck over when it spend way too long waffling on the will-they-won’t-they of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Now it seems they’ve firmly moved on from that and tied it up in a very satisfying way without letting it get boring, plus the setup for this season, with Chuck probably going rogue, looks to take the show in a whole new direction. This is one show that manages to reinvent itself almost every season and make it work. But if they do start waffling on Chuck and Sarah again? I’m probably out.

Sanctuary

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Syfy shows have been doing right by me lately, and I’ve just about caught up S2 so I can start right in on S3 when it starts (S1 and S2 are on Netflix Instant Watch). It’s not a great show, but it’s fun, geeky, B-movie-like, Nicolas Tesla and Jack the Ripper are characters, and with Warehouse 13 finishing up its season next week, I’m going to want something in this wheelhouse around.

(Also Parks & Recreation is a definitely watch when it returns in spring. I’m still a little miffed at NBC for delaying it.)

Trying Out – New Shows

The Walking Dead

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AMC does zombies? Based on a graphic novel series? Seems a little outside their wheelhouse, but so far every original AMC show has been 100% awesome, plus I gotta check out what they do with the zombies. The trailers released so far look pretty darn good.

Undercovers

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J.J. Abrams + spies = I will at least give it a try. It may be nothing more than Alias-lite, and it’s not like we haven’t seen the married spy angle in countless other shows and movies, but from the clips I’ve seen, looks like there’s a nice mix of action and humor here, with good chemistry between the leads. We’ll see how it goes, but I can’t skip a J.J. show.

Nikita

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This one has already started, and I have the episodes recorded but haven’t watched them yet. Not an auspicious beginning of keeping up with TV this year. But so far reactions from people who like TV I like are quite positive, and have increased my interest. I love spy shows, and I don’t have any nostalgic connection to the earlier series (no one seems to be mentioning the Luc Besson film, which I have seen, but didn’t love), so I’ll be coming into it fairly unbiased, aside from my general bias against CW shows.

No Ordinary Family

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Looks like a live-action The Incredibles, with a family suddenly getting superpowers and having to figure out what to do with them. This could really go either way, but with Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis as the parents, it definitely seems worth a shot. The really REALLY bland marketing so far is not encouraging me, though.

Boardwalk Empire

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Martin Scorsese producing an HBO show sounds like a winner right out of the gate, and the period Atlantic City setting is attractive to me, too. Of course, I don’t get HBO, so I may not actually be watching this right away, but if I did, I would be.

On Notice – Returning Shows

These are shows I’m going to probably start watching, but whether I keep watching them will depend greatly on how much time I have and how compelling they end up being for me this year.

Caprica

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We thought this was going to be a mid-season return, but turns out Syfy is starting it later this fall after all. Good thing, because hopefully it can get enough legs this way that they’ll renew it. And hopefully it will deserve renewing. It has been a pretty slow burn, but there’s so much percolating in there that I love that I really hope it comes into its own this year.

Stargate: Universe

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I enjoy SGU quite a bit and it filled a space-travel-sci-fi-shaped hole last year pretty well, but I’m not going to be too upset if I can’t make time for it this year. I’m going to try, but no promises, unless the writing turns really compelling. It had a couple of really good episodes last year, but tended to meander and backtrack a bit overmuch.

Survivor: Nicaragua

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I’ve had a soft spot for Survivor the last few years, even though I didn’t watch it for the first several seasons. Last season was really good, with the two all-star teams, but I’m afraid it can’t really come up to that again. Survivior is my go-to “I’m too drained to watch anything else tonight” show, but there’s so much on Instant Watch now that I’m likely not to need it for that.

30 Rock

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Oh, 30 Rock. I love you, but the last year or two have been a little lackluster. Both of the two newcomer shows to NBC’s Thursday night outshone even you, and I can’t promise that I’ll keep you if you don’t step it up.

How I Met Your Mother

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This is a comfort show for me. I love the characters, but the storylines haven’t really been grabbing me for a couple of years. These are the kind of cuts that are hard to make, but especially since this isn’t available on hulu, I’m likely to leave it behind.

Family Guy

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Family Guy is one of the few shows that I don’t care about watching in order, or if I miss an episode. So I’ll probably keep it in my hulu queue just for those times when I have 20 minutes and need some quick laughs, but it isn’t something I’ll feel the need to watch every week.

The Office

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*sigh* This one’s hard, but I haven’t really been enjoying it for a couple of years. It’s time to cut the cord. Unless Amy Ryan comes back, which it seems like may happen from last season’s finale. Those episodes I might watch, even though it seems like a rather desperate attempt to recover the one thing that was good about the show the last couple of seasons.

The Amazing Race

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I get a kick out of the whole traveling-around-the-world aspect of the show, but the last couple of years the format has been getting really stale for me, and the contestants more and more annoying. Not really worth it anymore.

Tentatively Checking Out – New Shows

Checking these out, but I’m not totally convinced they’re going to stay on my schedule.

The Event

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Heh, yeah, so this is the only one that ended up down here. I will probably check out an episode or two of this, but the marketing is sooooo earnest and sooooo “this is the next big show” that I’m pretty dubious. My guess is it’ll turn out exactly like FlashForward did last year. In other words, not good.