When last we left the happy couple they were steps away from their big day until a mysterious car forced Castle off the road in what appeared to be a fiery crash. Will Beckett and Castle make it to the alter? Stay tuned!
Castle season premiere airs Monday September 29th at 10|9c on ABC
Every season, the writers of ABC’s Castle (Mondays, 10:01/9:01C) find ways to leave us fans breathless and chewing our nails. Usually, they do it by placing one or the other (or both) of the show’s lead characters – Rick Castle and Kate Beckett – in some form of deadly danger. This season, they’ve found the perfect way to keep us hanging on even without the threat of imminent physical danger. Sometimes, the possibility of a broken heart is harder to take than a near-fatal shooting.
Blurring the line between fiction and reality is something the best books, movies and television shows do on a regular basis. Mystery writer Richard Castle moves from the TV screen into cyberspace with the launch of richardcastle.com. The website follows Castle’s two well-received Nikki Heat novels [Naked Heat and Heat Wave].
Castle [Nathan Fillion], of course, is the dashing mystery novelist/crime solver who teams with Detective Kate Beckett [Stana Katic] each Monday evening on ABC’s hit hit series of the same name.
When Castle returns from its holiday hiatus [ABC, Monday, 10/9C], Kate Beckett meets Nikki Heat – at least, she meets Natalie Rhodes, the actress who will plying Heat in a movie based on Richard Castle’s novel.
The third season premiere of Castle [ABC, Mondays, 10:01/9:01C] finds Rick Castle [Nathan Fillion] in the unlikeliest of positions – seated in the interrogation room after being charged with murder! The arrest comes after Castle is found at the scene of a murder – with a fun in hand. Beckett [Stana Katic] is not amused – and not just because she’s found him in such incriminating circumstances!
For each of its last two episodes [a two-parter guest starring Dana Delaney], ABC’s Castle [Mondays, 10/9C] has chalked up double-digit ratings increases resulting in the show being renewed for 2010-11.
The two-episode arc had Kate Beckett [Stana Katic] and Richard Castle [Nathan Fillion] being joined by FBI profiler Jordan Shaw [Delaney] when a serial killer began calling Beckett about murders he’d just committing – the twist being that he was calling Nikki Heat, the character Castle writes about in his new series of mystery novels. The first part of the story ended in a classic cliffhanger – which may have helped the second increase.
Besides having Dana Delaney guest starring, Castle has also benefited from having the new season of Dancing with the Stars as its lead-in.
When ABC’s Castle [tonight, 10/9C] premiered last season, it was a clever twist on the veteran detective/amateur sleuth kind of series. It introduced a wit and charm that felt very much like classic series like Moonlighting and Murder, She Wrote, but with a fresh twist – the detective is veteran police detective Kate Beckett; the amateur sleuth is bestselling mystery writer Richard Castle [Nathan Fillion].
That Castle has become a very sophisticated show, without in any way seeming snobbish, is exemplified by tonight’s episode, Tick, Tick, Tick… – which introduces hotshot FBI profiler, Special Agent Jordan Shaw. Shaw has all kinds of new toys [she scans a fingerprint with her cell phone [prompting Castle to inquire, There’s an app for that?] and, once she gets past the idea of a writer helping a murder investigation, almost instantly develops a rapport with Castle that mirrors his rapport with Beckett. It’s both a novel twist and a send-up of the actual series.
Castle’s [ABC, Mondays, 10/9C] Nathan Fillion is a star waiting to happen. If you don’t believe me, just re-screen any of his work on television [Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives] or movies [Serenity, Waitress] – or the incredibly funny web mini-series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog – and you’ll see what I mean.
He has the look of a young Kirk Douglas [right down to the dimpled chin]; the timing of a Groucho Marx, and the acting chops of a Bruce Willis. He has a natural charm and holds the screen like the young Cary Grant. And yet, he’s never had a hit series [though Waitress was a minor theatrical hit].
Castle may change that. The premise melds the mystery writer who solves real mysteries premise of Murder She Wrote with the banter and unresolved sexual tension of Moonlighting – then a dash of police procedural to the mix just to provide an extra layer.
Rick Castle [Fillion] is a full-of-himself mystery writer who has just killed off the main character in his bestselling series and is suffering writer’s block. When two murders are discovered to have been taken from his books, he offers to help the police with their investigation and is partnered with Kate Beckett [Stana Katic, The Closer, The Librarian: Curse of the Judas chalice]. Beckett is a gifted detective who works within the procedural lines and her immediate reaction to the less disciplined Castle is one of distrust and wariness.
When Castle arrives at certain conclusions in his own unique way – conclusions that she has reached through more ordered deductive means, she begins to be impressed and, finally, comes to accept that they make a good team [even if it had to be formed at the behest of the mayor – one of Castle’s biggest fans]. The partnership also inspires Castle to create a new mystery series – about a female police detective!
On the periphery, Castle has a superb supporting cast that includes: Susan Sullivan as Castle’s frequently divorced mother, Martha Rodgers; Molly Quinn as his daughter, Alexis – one of the few grounding influences in his life]; Jon Huertas as a detective who support Beckett, Reuben Santiago-Hudson as Captain Roy Montgomery, and Tamala Jones as the Medical Examiner, Lanie Parish, probably Beckett’s best friend.
The premiere, Flowers for Your Grave, is written by series creator Andrew W. Marlowe and directed with all kinds of Panache by Rob Bowman. In order to introduce the show’s cast, the balance between humor and drama isn’t quite right – everyone gets time enough to give us a solid idea about who they are – but the chemistry between Fillion and Katic definitely has a Willis/Shepherd slow burn to it.
In next week’s ep, Nanny McDead, the balance is better and the cast is not only more comfortable, but more engaging. With everything it’s got going for it, Castle just might become the elusive hit series for Fillion – and it couldn’t happen to a nicer Canadian guy [not to mention his nice, Canadian girl partner].
Every so often, you need a little low-budget, B-movie fun. The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice [TNT, Sunday, 8/7C] provides exactly that. This time, Flynn Carson’s [Noah Wyle] New Orleans vacation is interrupted in unique style as it comes to light that the Judas Chalice – the chalice made from the silver of the thirty coins paid to Judas Iscariot for Christ’s betrayal – has come to light. Obviously, The Library would like to add it to their private collection.
Curse of the Judas Chalice continues to mine the Indiana Jones format to good effect. The movie opens with Carson bidding on a vase from the early Ming Dynasty [circa 1411] and having to destroy it to obtain the real treasure inside. There follows swordplay – and a throw pillow is involved – all of which leads to Carson’s girlfriend breaking up with him.
From there, a serious meltdown and a strange dream lead our hero to take a vacation in New Orleans – where he encounters a statue and a woman that were in said dream. Mix in a former KGB agent and Russian government official named Kubicek [Dirkan Tulaine], who has a lead on the chalice; a decrepit history professor named Professor Lazlo [Bruce Davison], and a legend that suggests that the Judas Chalice can resurrect vampires and you’ve got a potent mix for adventure. Once Carson encounters the woman from his dream, Simone [Stana Katic], singing in a club, the action comes fast and furious.
Curse of the Judas Chalice is a bit of a comeback for the franchise. As with the Indiana Jones films, the second chapter wasn’t quite right [and Gabrielle Anwar was no Sonja Walger – whom we see in the opening credits here for some reason]. Where the second Librarian movie was too silly, Curse is just silly enough. The idea of resurrecting vampires combines well with revelations that make sense of Judson’s [Bob Newhart] appearance in New Orleans to give the series an extra layer of the epic.
Jonathan Frakes keeps things light and breezy and Marco Schnabel’s script is witty and slightly deranged. Add in genial performances and solid effects and the result is an entertaining bit of froth that will provide a cheery couple of hours – which is exactly what it sets out to do.