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A Police comedy-drama that has the right amount of entertainment!

DVD Review: Castle: The Complete First Season

Castle is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered as a mid-season replacement show on March 9, 2009 on the ABC Network. The series is about Richard Castle (Nathan Fillian) who, as a famous mystery novelist is asked by the New York police department to help solve a set of copycat murders that appeared to be based on some of the scenes within his bestselling novels.

When Castle is thrust on detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) she is reluctant to use him partly because of his notoriety as a writer, and partially because he is a civilian who is not trained as a law enforcement officer. When he steps in, their personalities instantly clash but by the end of the initial show, things mellow out and other types of sparks try to ignite.

Prior to this first investigation, Castle had a string of books on the best seller list. In his last book he had killed off his main character. He had become bored with his success. His ex-wife/publisher was hounding him to come up with a new character. After his work with the NYPD, he found his inspiration: Beckett.

Castle: The Complete First Season

Because of his fame and fortune, Castle pulled in connections with the Mayor who convince the police commissioner to assign him to Beckett's division so that he could continue his research. Much to Beckett's chagrin she is now the model for the new Castle creation, "Nikki Heat."

What makes Castle such a likeable show is its quirkiness, irreverence, and phenomenal cast of characters. As with shows like Numb3rs and The Mentalist, Castle has a main character that is out of his natural element and therefore provides a view through a different set of glasses. The show is irreverent in that it does not take itself too seriously and is willing to have Castle walking around in police gear that says "Writer" on the jacket instead of "Police."

Then there is the cast. Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) work alongside with Beckett as part of her team. They both think that she is uptight and like the way that Castle can get under her skin. Dr Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones) is the medical examiner, who is a friend and confidant of Beckett. Captain Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) who is Beckett's boss and keeps things moving smoothly. These form your base of the show.

What gives Castle greater depth is the auxiliary characters. These include Alexis Castle (Molly Quinn) who is Castle's 15 year-old daughter. She is immensely likeable and gives Castle a parental responsibility which tones down his devil-may-care attitude. Then there is Martha Rogers (Susan Sullivan), a former Broadway actress who is Castle's mother who lives with him and Alexis. She is nontraditional and shows why Castle has the devil-may-care attitude.

Castle: The Complete First Season

I really like this series not only because of the characters, but because of the stories as well. Not only are they well written, but well developed. Each episode works like a murder mystery. A strange incident that is out of the ordinary such as a body is found stuffed into a wall safe or a corpse is lying in a bathtub of motor oil.

From there you have your standard police investigation which is handled primarily by Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan. Throughout all of this, Castle is observing, watching, and doing his own investigations. Because he is not one of the NYPD as well as being independently wealthy, he can work through his own set of rules even if it is going against Beckett's wishes. As with any mystery, there is always a twist, and it is up to Castle to find it.

Castle: The Complete First Season comes on three DVDs and comprise around 430 minutes (7+ hours) of running time. It contains the 10 episodes that constitute the full first season. The show preserves its 1.78:1 aspect ratio and the English sound track is mixed in Dolby 5.1. Both are excellent quality. There are Closed Captioning, French, and Spanish soundtracks as well.

Bonuses include audio commentaries across the DVDs where various members of the cast and creative crew discuss scenes and other interesting information. Disk 3 has all of the rest of the bonus material including "Whodunit: The Genesis of Castle" which talks about behind-the-scenes information. "Castle's Godfather" where it is discussed how The Rockford Files and The A-Team influenced the show. "Write-Along with Nathan Fillion" shows how the actor shadowed Stephen J. Cannell for a day to see how a writer works. And "Misdemeanors: Bloopers & Outtakes."

Castle: The Complete First Season

Oh, remember when I said that Castle was using Becket to model a new character after for his new novel? The book has been released, and it is called Heat Wave and stars the characters Nikki Heat and Rook. I wonder what the name Rook is based on?

I think that Castle: The Complete First Season is great entertainment. It has that perfect balance that makes it a drama while yet having enough comedy. It is neither too much chick-flick, nor too much shtick. It has great characters that down deep are old fashion sleuths and is worth your time.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.