Monday, March 9, 2009

Nathan Fillion Stars in ABC's "Castle" Premiering Tonight

Nathan Fillion may not be a household name, but he's darn close to it. Crazy popular among science fiction/fantasy fans for his starring role in Joss Whedon's series Firefly (and its subsequent feature film Serenity), his amusing turn in Whedon's online musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog (pictured, right), and his humorous he-man in the gloriously goopy film Slither, Fillion has been poised on the edge of ubiquitous fame for a while now. He was also delightful in the late director Adrienne Shelley's charming feature Waitress (left) -- if you haven't seen it, do. Many viewers know him from his recent role on Desperate Housewives, and now ABC has set him up in his own series called Castle, premiering tonight on ABC.

Castle has a premise that's certainly not breaking any new ground. Whether you call it "Moonlighting Meets Murder She Wrote" or something similarly waggish, it's basically a "he said-she said" romance novel-esque bickering-but-meant-for-each-other couple mashed up with a police procedural. Nathan Fillion plays Richard Castle, a successful mystery writer, a little bored, bad case of writer's block, looking for inspiration...blah blah blah. You can see this coming: somebody's doing copycat killings based on his books, he gets himself hooked up with a female detective and ends up fashioning a new character after her. Stana Katic (she was in one of the Librarian movies which played on the network which must not be named, and lots of other TV work) is Detective Kate -- and will there ever come a time when a strong female character with loads of spunk won't be named after Kate Hepburn? -- Beckett, a NYPD veteran with loads of...spunk, what else?

I haven't seen the pilot except for the first segment (which is online at ABC's Castle site), but I must admit that the promos are no great shakes. Not sure I see much chemistry between the two leads, and that's pretty distressing since that's the whole point of the series. However, any opportunity to see Nathan Fillion doing his smart-funny-masculine thing is to be cherished. Do we need another police procedural? Probably not. They basically all sound the same -- awful and lame. Could dialogue get any worse? Please, no. On the other hand, do we want to see more playful verbal foreplay between two people who are destined to end up in bed? Perhaps...

ABC is giving Castle a big send-off, positioning it behind their new season of Dancing With The Stars which also premieres tonight. DWTS begins the night at 8pm, with Castle at 10pm.

We'd say give Castle a chance. It's a break-out opportunity for Nathan Fillion who definitely has earned it and most importantly is up to it. We might have hoped for something less derivative, but this is mainstream network television, after all. The show looks great, of course. In another era Fillion might have been a Cary Grant or a Clark Gable, but even if all 2009 can manage is turning him into Jessica Fletcher with balls, what the hell...bring 'em on!

Visit ABC's Castle website for more information.


Jane said...

Another ABC detective series that I'm finding irresitable is "Life on Mars" with Harvey Keitel. It's a little bit surreal seeing how close they come to capturing NYC in the 1970's. I still get a chill everytime they cut to a real picture of the towers. Whatever they are paying the set designer for Life on Mars, it's not enough!

LAGal said...


Life on Mars will not be returning to the schedule.

Lisa said...

Yep, "LoM" bit the dust on ABC, but you can always go to the BBC original, and BBC America just started running the sequel to it called "Ashes to Ashes" where a lady cop get thrown back to the 1980s.

It's a pity that ABC's forced to be creative while NBC and CBS can both hang onto successful franchises which never seem to poop out. Though I must say, newcomers like "The Mentalist" and "Eleventh Hour" have managed to settle in. I suppose ABC has a compatibility problem. We'll see if "Castle" is able to break through!

Dean Treadway said...

If you like Nathan Fillion, keep an eye out for the movie TRUCKER with Michelle Monaghan as a female rig driver saddled with the kid she hasn't seen for 10 years. He's really good in it as her tough new boyfriend.

BTW, I liked LIFE ON MARS, but it would have been much better as a cable series. You just can't have a 70s show without some hardy cussing. Actually, the only cop show that's ever been able to convincingly do its thing without nary a bad word in sight was HOMICIDE, because THAT show let us in on the fact that cussing was BENEATH its very smart characters.

Not so with LOM. Also, though I like that art direction, does everything have to look so BROWN on LOM? And what the heck is CANNON doing playing in the daytime?

Jane said...

Actually, a cable channel like AMC or (better...more four letter words) HBO should pick up Life on Mars and make it even better. I would not be a bit surprised if the Political Correct monster killed "Life". I noticed they had a few "smoke free" episodes, even one that took place in a rock star's hotel room. You just can't do NYC in the 70's without massive smoking of all sorts of substances. If a broadcast network is too threatened to show "life" as it really was in the 70's, let it go to cable. What a shame!

Lisa said...

Leave it to Dean to notice a probably error with "Cannon" -- which did not end on primetime until the end of the 1976 season and wouldn't have been anywhere near daytime until october 1977 -- but what year did Life on Mars take place in, anyway? I'm sure you are right, Dean, though!

Watch the BBC series, at least it lasted longer!

Jane said...

Well the Twin Towers are up in NYC, and I think Life on Mars is supposed to be circa 1975-76. So it probably does predate Cannon and Dean wins the continuity error spotting prize of the week!

I just love when we go all "TV Nerd" with these conversations! :)

Dean Treadway said...

Yay! I win (and I NEVER look at continuity stuff; someone could be wearing three different shirts in a scene, and if the scene's compelling enough, I won't even notice. Now, if it's AKA PABLO, we got a whole different story.

Hey, here something geeky...anybody remember that show THE HOT L BALTIMORE? Is it me and my rosy childhood memories, or was that a decent show? I remember watching it right before BARNEY MILLER when I was a kid. Anybody got any memories as to its quality?

Jane said...

I remember the Hot L, but I think the humor was too sophisticated for me at the time. Sure has a great title though. What about "Max Headroom", does anybody remember that ABC sci-fi series? I want to do a Nosetalgia for it. It shocks me that episodes are not playing on The Sci Fi channel. It was way ahead of its time, although I supposed today Max might seem quaint as he breaks up on somebodies pitiful dial up, when broadband streaming is so smooth now.