Saturday, February 13, 2016

When TV Shows Disappoint

by
Scott D. Parker

Man, I hate to write this piece.

I have been a fan of the TV show “Castle” literally since the first moments of the show back in 2009. I remember seeing the trailers for the show, thinking that it looked fun—it had Nathan Fillion!—and that I’d check it out. Truth be told, I was probably in Castle’s bag before the show even aired. That it proved to be the charming show it is was all the better.

Fillion it utterly charming as Rick Castle, novelist with writer’s block, who uses Kate Beckett, NY detective, as inspiration for a new character in a new book series. Stana Katic’s Beckett is a perfect combination of street-tough brawn and elegant beauty. Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever as Detectives Esposito and Ryan are some of the best co-stars a detective show ever had, what with their bromace that has only blossomed over the years. Molly Quinn is a gem as Castle’s daughter while Susan Sullivan as Castle’s diva mom is always good for a laugh.

The mysteries have always been quirky and light, full of fun references to pop culture. There’s a laugh in nearly every episode. Then, when the show goes serious and dark, everyone involves turns on a dime and it’s always been excellent. The overarching mystery of Who Killed Beckett’s Mom formed the backbone for the show as well as the developing relationship between the two leads.

That ABC started publishing actual “Richard Castle” novels was the icing on this luscious cake. In these books, you had stand-ins for Castle, Beckett, Ryan, Esposito, and all the characters in the show, all mimicking the actual show, but different enough to be fresh. Heck, you had Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook (“Castle” and “Beckett”) hook up years before the ‘real’ Castle and Beckett did.

Castle will end up being one of my all-time favorite TV shows. And I’m in it until the end.

But…

During the tail end of season seven, the original showrunners—including creator Andrew Marlowe—weren’t sure the show would be renewed for this current eighth season. So, instead of giving viewers a cliffhanger that might not ever resolve, they summed up all that Castle was in an graceful last episode and last scene. It was wonderful. I grew misty.

And then the call for the eighth season. Great! More Castle!

But…

This season is lacking. Beckett’s drive to find her mother’s killer was an underlying structure that gave her character a place to strive for. Once she found the killer, her life, specifically that obsessive part of her nature, was unfulfilled. That would have been interesting to see where they take now Captain Beckett. Instead, we get a new conspiracy thing on which Beckett can latch onto and obsess over. And, to make matters more irritating, to keep Castle ‘safe,’ she has to keep him at a distance. Castle and Beckett even go so far as to fight in public and give everyone around them the impression that the fairy tale is over.

Which is stupid. Again, their dopplegangers in the Castle books proved you could have two characters be in love and still have some romantic tension. Because that’s what the new showrunners are trying to do: replicate the early seasons.

There are some great moments this season, but there some not-so-great moments as well. That all became crystal clear this past week. Mondays at 9pm CST is ALWAYS Castle. Don’t call me during that time because I won’t answer the phone. Tuesdays is now THE FLASH, which has basically supplanted CASTLE as my fav show. CASTLE’s still #2.

Castle’s episode on Monday was one of those Season 8 episodes where you enjoy the 60 minutes, but you know it pales in comparison to Seasons 1-4. I ended up turning off the TV on Monday with a shrug. Cut to Tuesday where THE FLASH makes the fanboy in me giddy beyond reason—Supergirl was seen by Flash!!—and it gets me grinning ear to ear. This episode also brought out the tears. If you’ve seen the episode, you know why. When THE FLASH was over, I couldn’t wait until next week. I even tell my wife—who doesn’t watch THE FLASH and has given up on CASTLE—all that made me literally hoot and cheer the events of the show.

I hate that CASTLE is lagging behind what it used to be. It was an awesome show. It’s still a fun show. But it’s not that awesome right now. Who knows? Perhaps the latter half of this season will turn things around. Perhaps not. Perhaps “Great! More CASTLE!” wasn’t the best thing to articulate. Perhaps there needs to be a shot in the arm for a potential season 9.

Don’t worry, I’ll be there every step of the way until the end. I’ll be buying every book or graphic novel published. But I might also find myself tuning in to the reruns on TNT or my DVDs and get wistful at how good the show used to be.

Have y’all ever become disenchanted with a show?

4 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Almost every show that has gone on past five years: THE GOOD WIFE, THE GILMORE GIRLS, JUSTIFIED, THE OFFICE, and so many more.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Scott, I liked the early seasons of CASTLE too and then got tired of the series because the excitement wore off and it wasn't really going anywhere. Beckett's past kept intruding and I found that annoying. The family pulled on a bit longer, though.

Scott Parker said...

So, no sooner do I write this post than they deliver the first of two back-to-back new episodes on Valentine's Day. This was the Castle of old: both of them--and Ryan and Esposito--working together to solve a murder. Well done episode.

Dana King said...

Have y’all ever become disenchanted with a show?

Sure. Moist recently, CASTLE. We loved Seasons 1 - 4, but it lost steam with me after that and I stopped watching after he didn't make it to the wedding and couldn't account for his time. The show just asked for too much suspension of disbelief. The Beloved Spouse soldiers on via DVD (We picked the show up a few years late after she realized Nathan Fillion was in it; she's an old FIREFLY trooper) but even her efforts are sporadic lately.

SHADES OF BLUE doesn't really count here because we only lasted three or four episodes before we tired of it. SONS OF ANARCHY killed quite a bit of my interest with the Irish sojourn, but we'll probably pick it up again someday, if only to see the guest appearances by cast members of THE SHIELD