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Nathan Fillion Makes ABC's "Castle" a Comfy Place to Visit
March 8, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 
CASTLE-09-M09.jpg

If you're a Joss Whedon fan -- and all quality TV enthusiasts should be -- you're already sold on Nathan Fillion's roguish charms, thanks to his starring roles as the space cowboy in Firefly and the hammy hero in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. In ABC's Castle, anyone who watches should be equally enthusiastic.

 

Nathan Fillion, in this role no less than his others, is a natural-born TV star...

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He's got the easy manner of a Bruce Willis or a James Garner, with the same gift for playful comedy and arrested adolescence. In Castle, he plays a bestselling mystery author, Rick Castle, who's teamed temporarily - then more permanently -- with a beautiful, tightly wound NYPD detective named Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic.

The dynamic is a little similar to that of detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese on NBC's Life, but not as sharp. Castle creator Andrew W. Marlowe stacks the deck with his odd couple, so that Castle -- at least at the start -- is always right, and Beckett is exasperated but intrigued. Making them more equal would have made the chemistry stronger (and the show better), but Fillion is more than up to carrying most of the load.

"He is like a nine-year-old on a sugar rush," Beckett complains of the womanizing, quick-thinking author. But she's stuck with him anyway, when a series of murders point to someone who's copying the crime scenes in his novels. He's horrified of that -- but he plays poker with a bunch of fellow novelists, and he's a little thrilled to brag to them about it, too.

"In my world," Castle tells her, "that's the red badge of honor. That's the criminal Cooperstown!"

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And in the pilot, there's an extra kick: the authors around his poker table, playing themselves, include James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell, in his TV days, wrote The Rockford Files, and he'd be a natural to write for, as well as appear on, Castle.

Castle's just his type of character -- and Nathan Fillion, like James Garner, is just his type of actor.

And, by the way, Castle could USE some sharper writing, to match the sparkle of its leading man.

 

5 Comments


DaveW said:

I'll probably take a look at the show because of Fillion, mainly because of his history with Whedon. (He was also a recurring very bad guy in Whedon's Buffy.) Unfortunately the previews make it seem like the show is going to be a lot of sledgehammer wiseass cop stuff of the Bones kind, which I've seen more than enough of. But we'll see.

It's too bad Whedon didn't put Fillion in Dollhouse. He would have fit in perfectly. Oh well.

Comment posted on March 9, 2009 1:13 PM


R. Orr said:

I agree with you that Nathan Fillion is a natural born actor - he's sharp and charismatic - for that reason I tuned into Castle last night. I think Nathan will shine in this role - because he just shines. I don't think Castle has the ability to be a great show (unfortunately, I thought the writing was weak and none of the other supporting characters captured my attention) and if ABC's track record with cop shows hold...it's doomed before it even really begins. Which is unfortunate, because I'd love to see Nathan on tv in a role that would last more than a few episodes. He needs to have a director/writer like Whedon behind him.

Comment posted on March 10, 2009 9:24 AM


Ted Dawson said:

Not that keen on Castle (the show itself), but a big Nathan Fillion fan. Hope it does well for his sake.

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 3:42 PM


ali said:

Castle is the best show on TV, one show and you're hooked!

Comment posted on September 6, 2011 3:50 PM


Alana said:

I think that since this show's writing has greatly improved and the plots have certainly thickened, it would be worth your re-visiting Castle. I wasn't drawn in by the first few episodes so blew it off despite Fillion's considerable charms. But I caught the season 3 finale and was fascinated, then watched a marathon and got hooked in. Since I haven't watched many other crime series (the last regularly was Monk, and before that the X Files) ... I don't know whether the crimes are relatively original or exceptional. Flirtation is handled expertly and has matured into (so far) unrequited love; there are also some intriguing story arcs of unsolved crimes that come back to haunt the team. The ensemble cast has hit its stride, too, and surprisingly (to me) a major character was killed off. Added fun: occasionally there are nods to the actors' cult status or relationships to other productions (i.e. Firefly); it's fun to spot the in-jokes.
The only real downside: Sometimes the mix of screwball comedy and drama is uneasy, where there are sad/serious moments followed too soon by humor; and there are a couple of real dud episodes; but overall it's a very good show.

[It has gotten stronger as it's developed, agreed -- and sometimes makes the Best Bets for Monday, depending on the competition. So we're on the same page here. - DB]

Comment posted on January 26, 2012 11:27 AM
 
 
 
 
 
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