TV Show Review/Recap. In which I recap in glaring snarky detail a portion of a TV show and then review the whole episode.
Call it a writing exercise, call it typing practice, call it an application to Television Without Pity (yes, I know you all aren’t hiring but your staff also isn’t reviewing this show… so I think we could work something out….)**** Correction… at the time I wrote this (last week) TWOP did not have anything on the show… they have since fixed that making my following rant pretty meaningless but since I wrote the darn thing already and because I have ulterior motives, I am going to post this anyway.
Tonight’s episode: Castle: The Pilot.
(Background information: The promos for this paint it as yet another buddy cop procedural featuring a quirky “how will they ever get along’ couple. In this case a curmudgeon boozey socially inept writer (named Castle … just like the show!!!!) played by Nathan Fillion (of Buffy, Firefly, and some really horrible movie fame) and a strict by the book totally professional cop played by Stana Katic (what a name!) who you might remember from Quantum of Solace or a whole slew of bit parts on TV shows like Heroes and ER.
In other words: not looking too great but why not give it a go?
First: The Recap of the opening scene;
We open on a ankle with a tiny river of blood and then there are rose petals falling down in what we can only call ‘the art budget” before we get into the voice over telling us all about murder and macabre as a pretty blond gives a long introduction to the “master of the macabre” Rick Castle… there are the stock footage shots of him being all superstar like, signing autographs and looking dapper in sunglasses
Cut to Stana all business like and looking at a dead body which is lying in repose covered in roses (except the sunflowers on her eyes) and looking like quite the flower platter. “Who are you/’ Stana asks but the dead girl decides not to answer… maybe because she is covered in artfully arranged flowers. Someone took a lot of time to get those just right.
Another cop tells Stana that the dead girl was named Alison, 24, grad student at NYU with a rich daddy and that there are no signs of a struggle. A mouthey (aka will be a regular) crime scene tech jokes about romance not being dead because the killer did bring flowers. (Gross) to which Stana mumbles that for her romance is in fact dead “every Saturday night” which… ok… I get that she is going to be a hard ass (the promos told us that) but this sort of fatalistic attitude bullcrap is annoying when anyone says it, but especially annoying when an attractive youngish woman who is probably picky and controlling in her personal life says it.
Moving on, Alison was shot at close range. And then thanks to the magic of exposition we learn that Stana likes the freaky cases and that this case looks familiar to her… and in case we haven’t put it together yet she says ‘Don’t you guys read?” and we cut back to Castle and the blond posing for photos. She asks him why he killed off his main character and he exposits that she is not only his publisher but his ex wife and that their relationship is a bit tense. Yay pilots! Apparently he doesn’t like his main character anymore because writing him wasn’t fun.. it was work. Oh man, I suddenly like him.
More exposition about how his latest book is late and that he hasn’t written in months… some kind of blockage. How much you wanna bet he will be writing by the end of the episode? She threatens to take away his advance if he doesn’t produce and he sulks.
We move over to the bar where Brainy Girl Child is being good and studious and Grandmother Lush Tart is being classically upper crust bratty old lady. Castle asks his mother if she told Gina (the pretty blond has a name!) about his trouble writing. She denies telling but then admits that she did. Oh… and mommy dearest lives with Castle and his daughter. But before we get any further back-story, Grandma’s “graydar” goes off and she flounces off tossing back a really creepy giggle over her shoulder. Grandma, by the way, not wearing a bra.
Castle then has an interaction with his daughter that I can only describe as ‘Hey, I’m your dad and I am a loose cannon who likes to party… why don’t you want to grow up to be just like me?” ‘Because I know better” Oh and she is fifteen but doesn’t look a day over twelve. No really… he hems and haws about how his life is boring glossing over Daughter’s statement that she minds when he autographs women’s boobs. But wait! Because here is Detective Kate (yay, another name!) who is not flashing her boobs but rather her badge and in her no nonsense way she announces that she wants to ask Castle some questions about a murder.
Castle looks stunned and Daughter looks vindicated and
Now the Review:
The opening scene did little to peak interest… a whole lot of possible recurring characters were introduced and the barest bit of actual character interaction. This isn’t really a critique because it is the dual job of a pilot episode to not only give you enough exposition that you care but also give you a simple story to follow so you can care without getting overly distracted or bogged down with all the wonderful minutia that will eventually make you love or hate the show.
In the case of this show I would have to say that the opening sequence did a fair job of giving you a sense of the show.
A few notable moments: Detective Kate using the words “bimbet” and “celebutannte’ to describe the type of women that Castle’s charms work on. Me thinks she will be eating those words later… but what yummy words they are. (And I am right… the flirting goes both ways by show’s end.)
The interaction between Kate and Castle is oddly reminiscent of Bones and
Booth… hey look, even alliteration can join the fun!
Daughter’s interactions with Castle actually rings a bit more true later on… and away from the bar she actually looks older.
Also… Kate’s not so secret fangirl attraction to Castle (err, I mean the genre that he writes –sure-) leads one cop to say in a hideously hilarious moment “Yo check it girl, you’re totally a fan.” Check it indeed.
A few issues with dialogue but the pacing is rather well done.
Perhaps the oddest scene was a meta mega melt down when Castle plays poker with Patterson and other apparently recognizable murder mystery writers and they talk shop about the “actual” case. As shticks go, this isn’t totally horrible though it sort of reads that way.
Castle seems to be a pretty darn good detective in his own right… he notices things Detective Kate misses; he has the whole mystic inductive reasoning attention to details that you expect from a trained detective. Thankfully he also blunders and doesn’t disbelieve thing like alibis which is good because otherwise we might wonder just how in the world Detective Kate is supposed to a good detective since she obviously needs the help of this random writer guy.
In the end we have a fair bit of flirting, some mighty good looking people, a bare foot Castle chasing the bad guy while carrying his shoe, a happy ending, and the promise of more fireworks to come.
My grade: B.
Will I watch again? Depends on what else I have to do… but chances are yes… I usually give shows three episodes before I make a final ruling.
If you made it through this horribly long post… please let me know if you watched Castle, why or why not, and if you did what you thought of it.