‘Castle,’ Season One: A New Kind of Buddy Cop Show

September 14, 2011 11 Comments

Promotional spots for this evening sitcom “sold” me on giving this ABC dramedy a chance. While it may be a bit out-of-the-ordinary of what I normally watch, I couldn’t help but be interested. Needless to say, it was one I did anticipate giving a chance.

Castle, Season One (2008) ABC TV Show Review

A woman has just been murdered. Only the circumstances aren’t under “normal” conditions. The killer leaves the victim nude in a blanket of rose petals. NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) doesn’t think this is a crime of passion: the victim knew her killer. The most interesting thing is the setup, which greatly resembles a scene straight out of mystery novelist Rick Castle’s book. Castle (Nathan Fillion) is a bestselling author, only in his last book, he kills off his lead hero and now, struggles to write. This is something his publisher and ex-wife (one and the same person) pressures him to remedy.

‘Castle,’ Season One: A New Kind of Buddy Cop Show. A review of ABC's first season TV show Castle. Text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

As it would happen, Kate is an ardent fan of Castle’s, a secret she tries to keep in check when she drags him out of a posh party for an hour or two of questioning. Unfortunately for Kate, she’s stuck with the curious Castle when he himself becomes curious, and gets permission to shadow her for the duration of the case. Eventually, the “team” of Castle and Beckett prevail, which relieves Kate, who now no longer has a curious citizen tagging along. Unfortunately for Kate, she has become Castle’s latest inspiration and becomes lucky enough to be his latest character inspiration: the fun is just beginning.

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Said to be a mix of Murder, She Wrote and the sitcom Moonlighting (it resembles both), I’ll admit I didn’t love this from the start. Sure it’s a good time, but not much else. That said, there is something about this Castle, season one that makes it irresistibly charming. By the finale, I was a fan; it’s just that fantastic. No doubt this is greatly due to the characters who, while not very complex, are an interesting study. Kate has a painful past and while, we automatically assume, Castle is an idle playboy, the more viewers see of his private life, the more you like his character. Being a father really takes the “edge” off his character. The scenes between him and daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn), are precious albeit far too rare.

‘Castle,’ Season One: A New Kind of Buddy Cop Show. A review of ABC's first season TV show Castle. Text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

Thought this isn’t always funny, humor does play a significant role. (Things like Castle sporting a protective vest proclaiming him a “WRITER” vs. police is hilarious). Then there’s the casting, which is perfection. Both Stana and Nathan play their parts convincingly well, while newcomer Molly Quinn is the scene-stealer. Kate and Castle’s interaction brims with sparks, but their “dislike” of the other is just as obvious. Eventually they form a kind of easy-going friendship-like relationship that is constantly at “odds” in a will-they-or-won’t-they crackle of tension.

As the ten-episode (all we get) arc gets goes further, so does the show get stronger. Despite its unrealistic premise, it remains a clever, engaging show that ends far too quickly with a shocking cliff-hanger. Castle is simply a fun forty plus minutes that offers mystery interspersed with fantastic comedy. The crimes are clever, the characters interesting enough to keep one curious and I enjoyed what they each brought to solving the murders. If you don’t mind overlooking misguided morals, this is one modern sitcom I’ve a thoroughly enjoyed. 

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Castle, Season One digitally on Amazon Video.

‘Castle,’ Season One: A New Kind of Buddy Cop Show. A review of ABC's first season TV show Castle. #TVShow #Castle #Caskett #NathanFillion Click To Tweet

CONTENT: There’s plenty of sexual innuendo and commonplace profanity, too. “Nanny McDead” uncovers women having affairs with their respective employers. “Hell Hath No Fury” deals with prostitution. “Always Buy Retail” opens with Castle and his wife having a brief tryst (and deals with voodoo). Victims die in a variety of ways. Some from a bullet; another is bashed in the head; and another has numerous bones broken. A mentally unwell woman thinks of committing suicide and cuts herself. Some episodes imply drugs and extra-marital affairs. There’s social drinking; and Castle urges his teenage daughter to drink.

Photos: ABC

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Ella September 15, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Was it this season where Castle made the vest that said "writer" on it? I cracked up hilariously. He is such a funny guy!

    I do love when there are mysteries and layers to the characters….there is so much more to be resolved!

  • Rissi September 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I am not sure if that scene occurs in S1 or S2… can you tell how funny I thought it was!? LOL!

    Shows like to tease us and contiue to drop "bombshells," but until "Castle" gets cancelled – and maybe not even then, I have doubts that anything will ever really be resolved (the very nerve of TV writers!). =)

  • Valerie June 4, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    Would you say the level of objectionable content on Castle is overall comparable to…maybe Bones? Or would that not be a good comparison?

    I'm looking for a new show or two, and Castle has always sounded intriguing but I've never actually tried it. Bones is one of my favorites right now (I'm in the 4th season), it obviously does have problematic issues but for the most part I can deal with it. (I've skipped 2 or 3 episodes thanks to your reviews at Charity's, they were such a huge help, I'm sad they aren't online anymore…)

    Anyway, it looks like the shows you and I have in common are Bones, Merlin, White Collar, and NCIS, but I'm guessing the content levels on Castle are probably closest to Bones…please correct me if this isn't a fair comparison.

    Thank you so much for your reviews!! There are so few places that offer full-season content insight on TV series, and I just appreciate it so so much!!!

  • Rissi June 4, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I'd say that is an accurate comparison, Valerie. I think it really wavers in this show whereas Bones is usually very consistent. Castle isn't always riddled with so much medically-correct terms like the former show is (which is due to Bones medical background).

    I actually prefer reviewing shows as full seasons. Maybe it is because that is the only way I was "taught" but it seems to work best for me. It may take me longer to get done because I have to get through 20-some episodes first but in the end I think it is worth it.

    Actually Ella reviewed Bones at Charity's but I do have seasons 1-6 posted here – should you ever need them for reference. That show is AWESOME – I loved how S6 ended even if it was… "wrong." :-) Charity is doing some different things because she was unhappy with her site so you won't find television shows there anymore. :/ It is one of the reasons I am trying to build up my collection of reviews so much! (There are a lot of new DVD sets coming this fall that I will be reviewing.)

    If you like Bones and NCIS, I think you would like this one. And anything USA Network (i.e., White Collar) is usually brilliance.

    So glad you stopped in! Thank you for reading – I appreciate knowing that readers like you find these reviews helpful.

  • Valerie June 7, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Thanks for getting back to me, Rissi! I think I may give Castle a try in the next week or so. I have a feeling I'll end up liking it.

    Oops, I didn't realize that Ella was the reviewer for Bones over at Charity's. Thanks for clearing that up… I'll have to go check out her blog as well. I'm always on the hunt for people to follow who do reviews!!

    I'll definitely be keeping an eye on your blog in anticipation of new reviews. Thank you again for your willingness to review things, it is so very appreciated!!

  • Rissi June 8, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Oooh! Great, Valerie! I hope you enjoy these. :-)

    Yes, Ella does review movies but she has a little bit of everything on her blog – and it is always great. :-)

    Thank you for reading – I appreciate it and hope you continue to find helpful, informative reviews here, as is always my goal. Thanks again, Valerie.

  • Camille January 20, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Sooo, Rissi, I watched the first 4 episodes . . .

    So far I'm really liking it (and I think my Mom is, which is important since she is my movie watcher buddy). It is like a nice blend of "who dunnit" from Law and Order, but a happy-go-lucky comedy at the same time. Somehow they mix well, and I think I'll be watching more.

    It seems to be hard for me to find television shows I like, but when I do, it is lovely. There is this comfort of having the same characters episode after episode (as opposed to a 2 hour film) and a formula for watching them interact together.

    Thanks for the heads up! I know I must be really behind, Beckett's hair is pretty short compared to what I see on TV and your blog. Ah, well, means I've got LOTS to enjoy before I catch up. We don't have cable or anything, so most of my TV watching is from the library or Netflix, which means I watch seasons at at time. :)

    Cheers to you!

    • Rissi January 22, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      YAY! So glad you are watching this now, Camille…

      Surprisingly much as I love crime dramas, L&O isn't one I've tackled. (Not that I need to add another show.) The comedy is one of the best aspects of Castle – and it balances that well against the drama. It does tend more towards the serious side of things at some point.

      Ironically, each season Kate's (Beckett) hair gets a little bit longer. I think it was season 3 (?) that I liked it best. It was just at or past shoulder length and I thought Stana looked perfectly adorable. :)

      My mom and I love week-to-week shows; watching and enjoying the same characters. Seeing their struggles, flaws and triumphs whereas my dad gets tired of it after a while – he has to really like a show to be actively engaged in it. Like you, my mom is also who I watch most everything with (it's fun to chat about whatever we've watched then) and she loves this one probably more than I do.

      Enjoy the progression of Castle – it only gets better IMO. My family has never watched shows on TV either (save for an episode here or there) so we also watch the sets. I laugh because it means we're an entire year behind but its what we prefer. Who needs commercials anyway? :)

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  • […] knowledge of book one (The Chase) will immediately find themselves in the familiar territory of Castle. Fans of the ABC crime drama should love this one in particular; everything from the main plot to […]

  • […] TV SHOW REVIEW | ‘Castle,’ Season One: A New Kind of Buddy Cop Show […]

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