Friday, February 10, 2012

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MONTH: CASTLE

This time around my recommendation of the month is not a book, but in keeping with our theme of literature, one of my favourite television shows. To my surprise and befuddlement, not many people I know watch this show. If you are one of them, I would like to tell you a little bit more about Castle.



Castle is a comedy-drama series produced by ABC Studios and Beacon Pictures, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. At the start of the series renowned mystery writer Richard Castle (Fillion) kills off his main character in his most popular book series. Suffering from writer’s block, Castle mentions to his daughter that he wishes something new and exciting would come across his path. Enter NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (Katic). Crashing Castle’s book launch party she walks up to Castle, flashes her badge, saying something along the lines of “I’d like to ask you a few questions”. Castle is questioned as copy-cat murders are taking place, a serial killer imitating murders from several of his novels.


Acting in an advisory capacity, Castle assists the NYPD in solving the case. Fascinated by the cops he got to work with, Castle finds his muse for his next book series in Beckett. Using his friendship with the Mayor, Castle gets permission to act as a consultant for the NYPD homicide investigation team, for research purposes, using Beckett as a model for his new heroine, Nikki Heat.


Initially reluctant to co-operate and uncomfortable with the idea of having an author in their midst, Beckett and her team (Kevin Ryan, Javier Esposito and Lanie Parish) soon realize that Castle’s years of writing crime novels have honed his skill as a criminal profiler, and Castle turns out to become a valuable member of their team, helping the NYPD solve murder cases.



Every episode has subplots concerning the characters’ private lives, mostly Castle’s relationship with his precocious teenage daughter and eccentric mother. Another important storyline throughout the series is Beckett’s reason for becoming a cop: solving her mother’s cold case murder. Adding a theme of romance for us hopeless romantics, the show also explores the obvious chemistry between Castle and Beckett and the question of whether or not they will ever admit their feelings for one another.


Castle has been running for three years, and has recently entered its fourth season. Just this year Castle won the People’s Choice Awards for Favourite TV Crime Drama and Favourite TV Drama Actor (Fillion).


The studio has also very cleverly released tie-in works. The three novels Castle has written based on Beckett and the NYPD, namely Heat Wave, Naked Heat and Heat Rises, have actually been written by a ghost writer, listing “Richard Castle” as the author. All three books landed on the coveted New York Times Bestseller List, Heat Rises debuting at the number 1 spot.


The books' covers and content are also in keeping with the show, true to the images shown on the show and plot lines Castle weaves.

A scene from the series where Beckett supports Castle at a launch party for Heat Wave.

Castle also introduced a graphic novel based on Derrick Storm (the character he killed off in Season 1) in the final episode of Season 3.  This graphic novel Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm was published by Marvel Comics(!) and also landed a spot on the New York Times Bestseller List.


Richard Castle even has his own page on the FantasticFiction website!

Lovers of literature will appreciate the way the show handles Castle's career as an author.  The brainstorming, the drafts, the deadlines, the interviews, the launch parties.  The cast will also win you over, and you will undoubtedly come to love them and their quirks.  I can't say a single bad thing about this show.



Bottom line: Castle is awesome.  Watch it!


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