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Castle: Flowers for Your Grave (Premiere)

Dear Nathan Fillion,

You must know how wonderful you are. You are handsome, kindly, handsome, Canadian in that way that gives your accent a subtle hint of the South, handsome, a great singer, and—O, Captain! My Captain!—look great in tight pants.

You’re spectacular at playing the self-deprecating bad boy with a heart of gold. You outsmarted the Operative. You took on that slithery thing in Slither. You drove quickly, amid many zooming cameras, in Drive. You were married to Kate (OK, you weren’t much of a bad boy there). You were in Desperate Housewives, which I haven’t seen, but I’ll bet you were great there, too. You’re a damn good singer, especially in gloves, and a very scary priest, especially when your eyes go all black. You defeated the Reavers!

We—and I speak for all fandom here, as any blogger must—love you because you seem like a genuinely nice guy. In your spare time, we assume you get kittens out of trees, help old ladies cross the street, and always get the check while never drawing attention to your inherent awesomeness. Your smile is sweetly sardonic, but we never get the sense that you are laughing at us.

And, for all those reasons, I watched Castle last night.

Your new show is charming in a Bones and Moonlighting kind of way. Your portrayal of Rick Castle, best-selling author of thrillers in the style of James Patterson (who made an awkward guest appearance) is sexy and funny. You are smart but not pretentious, and you have a rather inordinately huge knowledge of criminology and psychology. It is, of course, high improbable that any author is: A) that good looking, B) that sought after by the ladies, or C) that well-connected. But who cares? TV isn’t supposed to be real.

You’re partnered with Stana Katic, who manages to be gorgeous and smart at the same time. Your character has a drunken mother who seems to be a caricature of the drunken mother on Arrested Development. You have a smart young daughter who plays the voice of reason to your irrepressible playboy celebrity self.

Your new show is shot in that grainy, translucent style that’s been so popular since Traffic. I have nothing more to say about that.

The writing is mediocre, in more ways than one. The jokes fall a bit flat, even with your charmingly wry delivery. The plot, which was cheekily self-referential, also had a glaring hole in that the real killer who modeled his series of victims after your books seemed to not know who you were, even after you were introduced. If you get a chance, Mr. Fillion, you might want to mention to the writers that mystery fans notice weird things like that, and they do not like them.

I had hoped, Captain Tightpants, for a smallish Daylight Saving Time miracle in this show: perhaps it would rise above my expectations—and the genre—and astonish me with its wit, incisive and creepy mysteries, thrilling plots, and finely drawn characters. Perhaps you could make it better than it should be.

But instead, I simply say thank you—for trying, for being so cute—and better luck next time.
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Nathan Fillion should just forget about the major networks altogether (they don’t seem to get him) and find himself a nice little basic cable show like Burn Notice or Leverage, somewhere his charm and talents will be fully appreciated and rewarded.

    And hopefully not cancelled after three episodes.

  2. I had every intention of watching "Castle" for Nathan's sake and completely forgot. But to be honest, I sort of expected exactly what you wrote. Thanks, Josie.

    At least the Powers that Be know how great Nathan is and keep giving him leading roles. Someday something worthy of him will come along again. I hope.

  3. I think that they should just find a spot for Nathan in Dollhouse. His best work seems to be with Joss anyway.

  4. Nathan was pretty underdeveloped as a character on Desperate Housewives (blame the writers, he was fine).

    I'll give this show a chance on UK transmission. Looks kinda fun and this review's persuasive.

  5. What a fun love letter to Nathan Fillian and I totally agree with the sentiment. Although i've seen him in a few things over the years it wasn't until I recently watched Firefly that I realised just how great he is and I think I may now be well on my way to a minor obsession.

    As a UK viewer I have no idea if Castle is any good but as a Nathan fan I want it to be good just because he deserves to be the lead in something that doesn't get unfairly cancelled before its time. Fingers crossed this is it (and if its not, perhaps we could see him again in Lost)

  6. The show's not the greatest, but it's fun in a way that you don't really have to think about it very much (which could obviously be a turn-off for some). Didn't really notice the plot hole, so obviously didn't have a problem with it. My only comment on that is that the real killer was using the other guy's obsession with Castle to frame him, so maybe he just concentrated on recreating the murders and not so much on what the author looked like (yeah, that's flimsy, but slightly plausible -- the guy did mess up the details of the three murders, after all).

    Anyway, the show did enough for me to bring me back for a second week.

  7. I think you are giving the macro-writing the credit it deserves, but the micro-writing you have underrated. There were so many throwaway one liners that went by so fast I'm better most people missed them.

    Like when he gave her his 'safe' word, and then 10 minutes later used it when she grabbed his nose (Apple! Apple!)

    There are 15 other shows on TV like this, but if they keep the humor fresh and clever, they'll keep me coming back.

  8. Hi Sloth15.

    I did think the "Apple" thing was extremely funny, too, but most of the other jokes fell a bit flat for me.

    Then again, my own sense of humor is so odd that I'm willing to blame myself for that.

  9. I liked the "baby bird" line. A throwaway that just added a bit of texture to the dad-daughter relationship.

    Bring back Captain Mal!