We enjoyed the mystery/comedy Castle, despite some problems, and it makes a good comfort rewatch when we’re in the mood for something light. Here’s our take on season 1.
- “Flowers for Your Grave” – 10
- “Nanny McDead” – 6
- “Hell Hath no Fury” – 7
- “Hedge Fund Homeboys” – 6
- “A Chill Goes through Her Veins” – 7.5
- “Always Buy Retail” – 7
- “Home is Where the Heart Stops” – 9.5
- “Ghosts” – 6
- “Little Girl Lost” – 5
- “A Death in the Family” – 5.5
The short first season is excellent, with a lot of strong episodes from the beginning. At an average rating of 7, it’s one of the best seasons of any series we have. It starts right form the beginning with “Flowers for Your Grave,” at a full 10, the best of the season, which delivers a perfect combination of the mystery and comedy we expect from Castle with well-realized characters. Even the lowest-rated episode this season is a perfectly decent 5, for “Little Girl Lost.”
A big part of what makes Castle work so well is the characters. There’s Richard Castle, mystery writer and overgrown child, who foists himself on hard-nosed detective Kate Beckett in the name of “research,” but mostly just to pull her pigtails. There’s Espo and Ryan, the secondary-character buddy cops. There’s Castle’s flamboyant actress mother Martha and his teenage daughter Alexis, who seems to have gotten all the maturity that missed her father and grandmother. Any of these characters could easily have fallen into annoying caricature, but between smart writing and strong acting, they remain alive and enjoyable. Nathan Fillion’s sweet goofiness keeps Castle from being overbearing, while Stana Katic gives Beckett a depth and canniness that makes her more than a match for Castle’s antics. Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever, as Espo and Ryan, have a brotherly bond that only grows over the seasons. Susan Sullivan makes Martha infuriating and endearing in equal measure, while Molly Quinn makes Alexis both a rock of level-headedness in the madness of the Castle household and an awkward teenager growing into self-confidence step by stumbling step. The show may be named for one character, but it is the brilliantly balanced ensemble that makes it work.
Another part of the strength of Castle is how well it balances the mystery and the comedy. The cases that the team tackles are sometimes wacky, but they revolve around real and powerful human emotions, as all good mysteries do. Castle’s off-the-wall leaps of logic are often important in solving cases, but so is the solid investigative work that Beckett and the boys do. The characters often play off each other in funny ways, but they also have real and growing emotional connections. Castle is as much a show about family, in all its weird and wonderful permutations, as it is about solving crimes.
Any other Castle fans out there? Let us know what your favorite episodes of season 1 were!
Image: Castle and Beckett at work from “A Death in the Family” via IMDb
In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.