Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion

Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion

I rarely watch television anymore. I just can’t seem to relate positively to most of the popular shows. Having been through a few medical procedures and operations, I don’t care to watch hospital dramas, and frankly, House just plain old scares me. The same for the CSI’s after the one hold up at a 7-11 at 9 at night that I was in.

But I do watch Castle. As a writer and reader, I enjoy watching the interplay between mystery writer Richard Castle and NYPD detective Kate Beckett. Having met quite a few detectives through the years, I recognize Beckett’s no-nonsense approach to crime, and knowing quite a few mystery writers, I understand Castle’s outside-the-box-thinking about why people do what they do.

More important to me, however, is the family dynamic in the program. Castle with his actress mother and brainiac daughter becomes more than a caricature, and the on-going subplot of Beckett’s mother’s murder adds a humanity to her that is missing in other police procedurals I’ve watched.

When I watch Castle, I’m reminded of Numb3rs which also added the family dynamic to FBI procedural. By doing so, both series let viewers peek into the personal nuances of their lead characters more realistically than dramas that just focus solely on the crime investigation.

Another part of Castle that I enjoy is how it mixes reality and fiction by having Castle (and Beckett) mingle with real authors. The appearances of Steven J. Cannell, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson together with the plotting advice they discuss give Castle a hall of mirrors feel. These are real fiction writers talking to a fictional author about plot which is a real-life element necessary for the TV show.

The addition of the Castle books is a by-product of the show that I find amusing. Can’t say as I enjoy reading the books as much as watching the program, which is totally the opposite of how I usually feel about book/television marriages.

Finally, the Castle tv show’s biggest attraction for me is that cast is superb. Nathan Fillon, with the twinkle in his eye, adds just the right amount of boyish exuberance to the character of Castle to make him loveable and not doltish. His interaction with Susan Sullivan as his mother and Molly Quinn as his daughter is delightful.

The same dynamic is present with Beckett and her two main detectives, Ryan and Esposito. Lovely Stana Katic’s mixture of exasperation and dedication becomes almost motherly as she interacts with Jon Huertas’ doggedly serious portrayal of Esposito and Seamus Dever’s wide-eyed disillusionment as Ryan.

All in all, the show is exactly what I need in between episodes of Top Shot, Eureka, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, and Jeopardy!, which I watch regularly during their seasons.

Unfortunately, it’s off season for most of my favorites, so I need help. What television drama is your favorite and why? I’d like to know. You’d be doing a public service!

– Pat AAR