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Castle - The Complete First Season - television series DVD / drama DVD / suspense DVD / comedy DVD review
Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Molly C. Quinn
Creator: Andrew W. Marlowe   Studio: ABC Studios
DVD release: 22 September 2009   Runtime: 430 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, DVD, NTSC
Features:Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), Misdemeanors: Bloopers & Outtakes, Whodunit: The Genesis of Castle, Castle's Godfather, Exclusive commentaries (w/ producers and actors)

Who would guess that a gory murder mystery could be so successfully crossed with a comedy? Adding Nathan Fillion's goofball antics to the mix makes it like a Just-Add-Water solution for the next best mystery show on television today. The first season of Castle is a happy mix of extremes and contradictions.

Richard Castle is a bestselling novelist with twenty-six books to his record, and he'll be the first to let you know it. Detective Kate Beckett is the tough, anguished passionate cop saddled with him. Castle (Fillion) is granted a no-holds-barred access pass to her crime scenes when they discover a series of victims laid out like victims in his mysteries. He is brought on for that case as a consultant in hopes that he may see something the rest of them don't. Beckett 's superior, Captain Montgomery, agrees to then allow Castle to shadow her indefinitely for writing fodder for the next Castle mystery.

Each show begins with corny upbeat music while they stumble upon whoever the unfortunate victim is (whistling is a much-underused talent these days). From the girl covered in flower petals to the woman frozen for five years to a drowning in motor oil, Castle seems to cover the strangest cases. Interestingly enough, no matter how oddball their job starts off, the writers seem able to infuse a certain degree of reality that keeps the scales from tipping entirely into comedy. The romantic tension between Detective Beckett and writer boy adds a bit of interest and spice without taking over as a main theme. It's just enough to make the corners of the mouth twitch with amusement every so often. Their verbal sparring makes for a better show than some others of its ilk.

Stana Katic stars opposite Fillion as the detective he follows around like a puppy dog. In her world, the captain is played by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and the pair of partners she works most closely with tend to play off Castle to bring yet more amusement to the show. Detectives Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) do a lot of the legwork, when they aren't goofing off. In his world, mother (played to the fullest by Susan Sullivan) and daughter Alexis help round out Castle's character, to show that he really is more than just an egomaniacal writer boy. Through the relationships with the girls in his life, Richard develops over the course of the season. Much of his poignant depth is reflected through short, random conversations with his daughter, played by Molly C. Quinn.

Beyond the bloopers, the extras are nothing to get excited about. The show itself, in all ten episodes worth, is the highlight. There are commentaries, a couple of themed 'making-of' spots, and deleted scenes.

Castle is a promising new show that fills a less serious crime-fighting need. Law & Order, C.S.I., Monk and the like will all still be there, but sometimes a good laugh is just what's needed to lighten the mood.
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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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