Castle: Nikki Heat

It has been a long time since I’ve written recaps for specific episodes, but this week, with the return of a bunch of shows, there have been a number of fantastic episodes and I feel compelled to write about them.

I will always have a soft spot for Castle because of Nathan Fillion (Firefly/Serenity/Dr. Horrible), but this week’s episode really cemented why this show is so clever.

The premise of Castle, if you have been living under a rock and somehow missed it, is that Rick Castle is a popular crime novelist who shadows Kate Beckett and her team as they solve murders for inspiration of his newest book series. In this week’s episode, they are making Castle’s book Nikki Heat into a movie and the actress playing Nikki has come to study Beckett so she can get the character just right.

When books are made into movies-
Among other things, the show points out how little input the original author has when it comes to the movie. For one thing, he completely hated the actress who was chosen to play his title character, but ultimately it wasn’t up to him. (Granted, he changed his mind later, but at the time you could understand why he didn’t want her.) The script itself is not up to his standards. The rush of solving a crime doesn’t come across in the script, but should. Some of the writing seems a bit corny (though again, ultimately worked). Ultimately, it begs the question: is the movie version better or worse off with minimal author involvement?

Character studies-
One of the best parts of this episode was the dissection of Beckett’s character: She tucks her hair behind her ear to give herself a moment to think. She wears heels to establish her feminine authority in a male-dominated workplace. Her stance changes when they have a suspect. She has a tense-sexual relationship with Castle that they both can’t seem to accept or know how to act on. And of course, the moment she puts on the wig, clothes, and starts talking like Beckett…it’s fantastic.

Laura Prepon did an excellent job here and I truly hope she will show up again at some point in the future. Maybe the movie’s opening? On set?

We also got to see a bit more of one of Beckett’s partners. I would love to learn even more about them, since they are more than a little underused. I did miss Alexis this week, but otherwise, no complaints about this week.

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General Recaps

Dexter– Not much has changed since the last time I wrote about this show. Some people are disliking Julia Stiles’s character, but personally I love it. The relationship that she and Dexter have is fascinating because on the one hand he’s training a protege and on the other he’s trying to shield her. The way he acts with her is some of the most human we’ve ever seen him, even more so than when he was with Rita where a lot of it was about guessing what the right thing to say was. He’s been more honest and open with Lumen than he ever was with Rita (for good reason). Meanwhile, I love the little twist that Deb’s story line has taken. Fired because Laguerta’s trying to save herself! The cop who idolized her turning on her! Can’t wait to see Deb strike back. And with Angel on her side, that should do wonders for the already irritating (and troubled) marriage. I’m still waiting to see how everything comes together between Deb’s story and Dexter/Lumen’s but I’m not seeing how it would. Unless it’s just Deb’s being out of work and her relationship that makes them intersect. Finally, there’s “Quinn’s” investigation and the pictures of Lumen and Dexter dumping bodies. So that’s one more person to kill. Personally, I’m really liking this season though I’m not sure they can really beat the shocker that was the end of last season.

Brothers and Sisters– This week was the first time where Luc’s presence on the show felt like it had a point. Maybe it’s just me, but until now his only point was for Sara to have issues and basically ignore him. For the first time we had an opportunity to learn a little about him and see him have an actual storyline. Justin as sex God was a lamer thing, didn’t he change at all over this series? And what happened to the girl from the hospital? I liked her much better than Scott’s staff members. Kitty’s absence this episode was a definite plus though, I did not miss her at all. I did miss Saul though. Has anyone else noticed that he’s been getting more and more absent as the show continues? Bring him back! Let him have a relationship for once. Meanwhile, I would really like Scotty to get more in the way of storylines. We got a little with the cheating on Scotty and with his parents, but I want more. Also, we get it that Paige is a bratty teenager, but what is Cooper’s story? We haven’t seen him in ages. Nora and her friend/love interest are cute but I’m more excited to see what happens when Sara becomes her boss (finally she’ll be back to storylines that aren’t just about her love for Luc and insecurities because he’s younger).

House– I have to be completely honest, I’m really enjoying Amber Tamblyn’s awkward new character. I’d be happy to see Thirteen return, but I kind of hope we can keep them both. Get rid of Foreman or Taub maybe. I’m sick of them. Even Chase is sort of boring at this point. Maybe it’s time for a new guy. House and Cuddy are still a strange relationship that’s sometimes endearing and sometimes a little irritating. She expects him to tell her the truth, he intends to lie…I particularly loved when Wilson’s new girlfriend/ex-wife says she sees House’s side of things. I’m hoping they do more about them (like the episode with House and Cuddy’s baby, that was great. I can’t wait till the kid is a little older and can have funny/entertaining conversations).

How I Met Your Mother
– We knew that it was only a matter of time before Robin Sparkles returned, but I never anticipated Jessica Glitter. This week had some funny stuff, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. It was one of those filler episodes where nothing really changes. Still funny, but not quite as exciting as other episodes.

90210– Is anyone else waiting in eager anticipation for the moment when Adrianna is finally outed in front of the entire world? That is all I want. When that happens I will be happy. I’ve realized that the main reason I dislike Naveed is because he LOOKS dirty. Like he hasn’t washed his hair or anything. Silver has been a non-character all season so I guess they’ve decided it’s time to give her a relationship with Naveed which will also bring drama into the girl group. I do wish we’d seen more of Ivy hanging out with the girls (do you think they will get her to be more girly?) but all we got was the precursor. Teddie’s story is one of the most interesting. I like how they’ve finally said that him being gay isn’t just a sudden plot twist (though perhaps some more subtle hints throughout would have been nice) but something from before. On the upside, there was none of Liam’s annoying “girlfriend,” on the downside there was very little of Naomi. No surprise that Aunt Becky and the teacher slept together, it was only a matter of time.

Chuck– There were a few particularly fascinating and excellent things in this week’s episode. For one thing, YAY SUMMER GLAU! Her storyline was pretty hysterical, though I was kind of hoping for a little more. Meanwhile, Chuck was trying to learn how to re-access his intersect and they brought in a specialist who thought fear would be the way to go. He also thought Sarah prevented him from full fear because he could always fall back on her. Why didn’t they simulate a situation that Chuck thought was real rather than actually bring him into a real one? And why didn’t they “threaten” Sarah because if ever there was something to make Chuck afraid, it would be the possibility of losing her. It bothered me that Chuck was insulted about Sarah saying he wasn’t an agent without the intersect. If he can’t fight and defend himself, he can’t be an agent. It’s as simple as that. Maybe there was a better way for her to say it, but still.

The Event– The show has taken a turn for the interesting (aged little girls, man morphing from young to old, the vice president as evil) but it’s still on the slow side. I want Layla and Sean to do something more interesting. Enough running away and crying. Let us see Layla as a three dimensional character. What skills does she bring to the story? (No, abducting a doctor doesn’t really count.) I hate to say it but the president is pretty lame. He doesn’t compare to any of the 24 presidents. He’s involved in things where it doesn’t make sense and yet doesn’t seem to be doing anything. I mean, does he actually run the country? We need more pieces to the puzzle (or even just more things to make us say “what?”). Think of Lost. In the first season, we saw polar bears, the smoke monster, a hatch, a mysterious distress signal, Locke healed, visions of Jack’s dead father, a cable running through the forest/beach, the others, the mysterious numbers, and some other things. So far in the Event we’ve got…stranded aliens with advanced technology, aged girls, and a creepy man. Not enough. Give us more!

Lie to Me– this show is missing the personal interactions and storylines. Think of Bones. Each week there is a unique case, but we also have a ton of relationships going on as well. Cam and her sort of daughter, Bones and Booth, Booth and Hannah, Sweets and Daphne, Hodges and Angela, and the random techs. In every episode something happens with a couple of these relationships so that it feels like someone has moved forward in some way. In Lie to Me, it is that progression in character that I feel like we are missing. Yes, we have Lightman and Foster flirting and Loker and Torres have their moments, and of course Lightman and Emily, but that’s about it. And we don’t really progress much (at all) with any of them in each episode. Get into the interpersonal relationships more.

Gossip Girl– As much as I hate Chuck, I do like him and Blaire together. This decision of hers to remain apart is interesting (and unlikely to stay this way permanently). Dan and Nate act less like bros and more like a couple. Vanessa is a little bit delusional. While it’s true that Serena gets away with things and her friends help, Vanessa has yet to actually be a victim of this. Her friends have always stepped in for her when Vanessa was trying to screw Serena for no good reason. Still not clear on how Ben got in jail. Even if he and Serena had an affair while she was in school. (Is that the real reason she left? This seems like a really delayed address of the issue.) If he’s in jail for statutory rape then Serena’s mother would know about it. I’m okay with a bit of Jenny here and there just to help with the sabotage (since Vanessa and Juliet are clearly awful at it) but I hope she’s not making an official comeback. What I really can’t wait for is when everyone realizes they’ve been scammed. What do we think they’ll do then? And what will happen when Serena wakes up in Juliet’s place?

Castle– After those excellent episodes where Beckett was being targeted, the show has slowed down a bit. I get it, Alexis has a boyfriend and it’s cute, but we need more. Is anyone else expecting Alexis to get kidnapped at some point? It feels like it’s only a matter of time.

Weeds– This show is not what it used to be. The only interesting thing happening is that Nancy has just fallen into the clutches of Guillermo and Esteban and then turns herself into the police to get away from them. It sounds like there is one season left to this show. We’ll see what happens then, but I miss Aggrestic and the other characters that they’ve eliminated.

Glee– Gwyneth Paltrow! She may not be the best singer ever, but I think she was excellent as Holly Holliday and I hope they bring her in more now that they’ve left the door open for it. I’m fine with Teri not coming back and I notice Emma has been a bit absent of late. Fine by me, the EW recapper may not agree, but I don’t care for the adult storylines (except for Sue vs Will which took an interesting turn this week as Sue realized he was better than the alternative). I like Kurt and the idea of him having a boyfriend (and I particularly love the secretly gay football player) but I’m not the biggest fan of Blaine. I’m not sure why, something about him just rubs me the wrong way, talent and all. It feels like the Glee kids for the most part have fallen in the background (Brittany, Tina, Quinn, Puck, Santana) and I would like more episodes to focus on them. Some people are probably thrilled to hear that Mike the Other Asian has been upgraded in cast status. I don’t particularly care, just because we already have so many characters to explore that I’m not sure we need another at this point. Otherwise, the music is still excellent and I am completely happy with the show.

No Ordinary Family– watch this show people! It needs to build more of the mythology (more hints about who the mom’s boss is for example and bring in some more supervillains), but I think this week’s episode with the parents and JJ were excellent. Daphne’s powers have got to become more dynamic (mind control!) to give her some more active storylines. Somehow they’ve made JJ’s super brain more interesting than mind reading. Maybe Daphne mind reads someone who wants to kill themselves or get revenge by shooting up the school and intervenes somehow? Something. Save this show! (tvbythenumbers.com say this is a bubble show so let’s push it back to renewal!)

Life Unexpected– Well, we know this show is done for. Unfortunate since it just got back to a particularly interesting plot (an abusive foster family). Anyone else wonder what the deal with the recent obsession with student-teacher relations is? Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Life Unexpected, 90210 (though it is obviously different in this case because he’s a rapist)…enough already. The question is, will Lux ever come clean to get Tasha out of trouble? What will happen when they find out.

Parenthood– another show to save. How are people not watching this? Everything about it is compelling. The best story this week was definitely about Christina trying to get Max invited to a birthday party (though I enjoyed the Sarah-Amber college story too). Never has a TV show addressed Aspbergers as in depth as this (well, I can’t say never for sure, but from what I know of) and how it affects the rest of the family is so compelling. Haddie could stand being a little more interesting (maybe it’s time for her to go through a rebellious stage, just as Amber is bettering herself because then who better to help her back?), but otherwise, I’m thrilled. It seems Parenthood is moving nights. Let’s hope this isn’t a too little too late measure to save the show. If you haven’t been watching yet, it’s time to start. This is one of the better family dramas on TV.

The Good Wife– this week was a particularly fantastic episode. Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) guest starred as a pop icon trying to shed her Disney image by over-partying. But the interesting thing was how clearly it was actually an act and not the reality of who she was. And when does it become a reality rather than an act simply because of how long she’s been doing it. Cosgrove in real life seems to be one of the teen stars (though Nickelodeon not Disney which might be part of what’s helping her) who has not gone crazy, but she did a great job of acting the part. I’m hoping the show will further explore Kalinda as well as Peter and Alicia’s relationship (which has been pushed to the background), but otherwise I just can’t believe it took me so long to start watching this show. If you haven’t, this is yet another show that should be saved from cancellation.

Survivor– This season has been a weak one (seriously Producers, Old vs Young is 9 out of 10 times going to be lame, why risk it?), but this week’s did take an exciting turn as Holly instigated a push to get Brenda out. I am surprised that Naonka is still around just because she’s so awful. I would think that Fabio would have tried to make a push to get rid of her (though I guess he has not really made any moves on his own). But the odds of Naonka winning are so slim that I guess everyone is hoping she’s the next Russel.

Bones– I’ve already mentioned some of the things I like about the show, but I am hoping that they kick things up a notch. I loved the gravedigger episodes because there was a bigger picture to decipher. I’m hoping they bring in a new big picture villain sometime soon.

The Big Bang Theory– I’m glad Penny is back. She seems to be walking normally (or normally enough). Not everyone is happy about Mayim Bialick’s promotion to series regular, but as long as the show actually explores her character rather than just use her for comic relief, she will be a good addition. (Though Bernadette has yet to be more than a prop so we’ll see.)

The Office– The show hasn’t been garnering the laughs and compelling storylines of former seasons. I’m still watching but I’m a little ambivalent about it of late. Hopefully it’ll find itself again soon.

30 Rock– I want them to give Jenna a new, bigger story. She’s been comic relief but I think it’s time to explore her background more. We got a little about her mother, but I’d like to see more. Kenneth too, would be nice. The show has still be pretty funny, but not quite as strong as it was in past seasons. I do appreciate the way they dealt with Jack needing to move on (though it wasn’t quite as awesome as the episode where Jack was supposed to walk away from his mentorship with Liz).

Outsourced– The show has definitely gotten better since the premiere. I particularly appreciated getting a sense of Tod’s family, which we haven’t really gotten to see until now. It’s still not the best show out there, but it has some interesting things (especially when it comes to Tod and Asha) that make it enjoyable.

Grey’s Anatomy– I am glad Christina’s bartending stint was only a one episode deal. It’s funny, but not the kind of thing I’d want to go on for a long period of time. I particularly like how Teddy’s taking Christina’s issues so personally. It shows there really was a bond and they’d gotten beyond Hunt. I’m more annoyed with the way Derrick is dealing with these things since it doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything to help but rather is keeping her from being able to deal with things. Avery’s also become more interesting now that he has his own survivor’s guilt issues to work out. Bailey drunk though, was awesome. I love Bailey and really hope she gets more air time.

Private Practice– this show has just reached some of its best point since it started. Charlotte dealing with the rape is intense but compelling (though Violet is really starting to bug me). I also love the little bit of Amelia that they finally gave us and hope they can find a way to make her more of a character on the show. I really liked seeing Pete deal with his family, that was probably some of the best we’ve seen of him.

Burn Notice– this was one of the stronger episodes lately. There’s something about the team being caught and forced to work with someone else while also stopping them from doing anything bad that makes it much more interesting. Plus it sort of followed the show’s general procedure while also disrupting it, which makes it interesting. It’s time for more unexpected things to happen. Take the control away from the players for a bit.

Smallville– I love that Tess is finally a good guy with a past to explore. I was over her self-righteous evil. It would be nice if Louis could start being more of a solution to some problems than the damsel in distress since she’s supposed to be so strong. I was happy to see Supergirl back and really hope we haven’t seen the last of her. (Though she was a little too “perfect” this time around, which is never fun.)

Well, that’s pretty much everything in one of my longest posts ever. Thoughts?

Monday Night

Well, this week wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as some other Monday nights, but there were still a number of things on and I haven’t caught up on them all (namely the shows that I intend to recap in full). In the meantime, I do have some thoughts about the other shows out because I think we got some great episodes this week.

Life Unexpected– This week’s episode reminded me of the premiere which made me instantly love the show. While the other episodes have been interesting, they were mostly filled with teen angst (and adult angst) and had less of what drew me to the show, which was this unique look into the life of a kid put up for adoption but never adopted. It’s not that the story has never been told in any way, shape or form, but the way it’s been handled is more subtle (and less woe-is-me) than most portrayals. We find out why Lux is really so angry at Cate, among other things.

Chuck– This episode was so sad in so many ways. They’ve really made me feel for Sarah this season, in part because now she’s the one who is sort of secretly in love instead of Chuck being the pining nerd. Obviously she will find out eventually about Casey’s role in the test, but until then, how will Chuck and Sarah avoid being separated for good? And what about Ellie? Wouldn’t it be super suspicious for him to just disappear? Don’t they think Ellie would make a huge deal about it? Poor planning NSA and CIA.

Trauma– There were a handful of things I disliked about this episode. Largely it was the handling of Nancy and Diana, which was so anti-climactic and abrupt. On the other hand, it was interesting to learn about Rabbit’s past (though too much of a “I figured out the key to explain every bit of your behavior”). I like Rabbit and Marissa’s dynamic. I’d also like to learn more about her.

Big Bang Theory– I know that Leonard is technically the main character of the show but let’s be honest, you can’t really go wrong with an episode about Sheldon. Alcohol may make Raj comfortable talking in front of women but Sheldon and alcohol…not as good a combination. Even my sister, who does not love this show (the characters are a little too much for her) was laughing out loud throughout.

How I Met Your Mother– Probably the best part of this episode was the Barney can’t take a bad picture bit. But there were other details I loved. Lily’s obsession with her birthday reminds me of a friend of mine who has a similar excitement: she has Cindystock, which extends her birthday to a full week. Or month. Now I can’t remember.

24– Well, some exciting and surprising information and some things that I didn’t particularly care for. I really dislike Jack and Rene’s relationship (which seems to be more than close from working in craziness together but is as of yet slightly undefined) so I didn’t care for her charge to save him. Though she did kick butt doing it so I will give her that. Chloe was once again right and did what she needed to (in this case pulling a gun on someone) to make them see it her way. She also stood up for herself which was nice to see. It was sad to see her floundering and weak when last season she was always showing Jeanine how much more awesome she was. And then there’s Dana. Go figure. But still a good surprise.

Castle– I saved the best for last. My sister and I agree that this is the best episode of the season, if not the show as a whole. Everything about it was spot on: Castle and Beckett’s relationship which was made more interesting by introducing the FBI agent Jordan Shaw (the FBI version of Beckett), the super creepy but awesome serial killer who was obsessed with Beckett as Nikki Heat, Beckett and Castle vs Shaw/Shaw and Beckett vs Castle dynamic. The suspense, the humor, and of course the happy ending. (yes, that’s sarcastic for now, but you know it will happen in the next episode) If you haven’t watched this show, you are really missing out because this was one of the best things on last night.

Large-Scale Review

Heroes– So the current season’s part two is now in swing and what do we think about it? Not a fan of this whole Claire as a lesbian thing. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind people being gay, I mind when shows make someone gay just for the sake of having a storyline. If a character is gay they should actually be gay, not just a sudden “new thing” to try out. I think the story about Hiro being slightly out of his mind was pretty funny. I’m frustrated by the Sylar storyline because he had the opportunity to find love and be with someone with Elle and then he just killed her, so it feels like this storyline has been done and over again. And the Samuel in love thing was forced. Crazy stalker!

Castle– This was a great episode, dealing with Beckett’s mom’s murder but leaving it open-ended so that we know there’s more mystery to come. Not much else to say since the show isn’t super deep or anything but though Beckett is slightly funny looking, they’re dynamic works so well. (I love Nathan Fillion!)

White Collar– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest Kate bit since it feels like such a build up for such a let down. But I get the sense that there’s more coming with that and maybe what they have us thinking about Kate now isn’t the entire truth.

Human Target– Having watched two episodes now, I am no more pleased than I was with the first episode. There just isn’t enough personality and heart in the show to make me care. (I will say that I have this suspicion that the bad guy–girl–of this last episode may not be as dead as she seems. What are the odds that she had a parachute under that jacket?)

Friday Night Lights– I don’t think this season is as good as the previous ones. The newer characters are not very interesting and Julie, as the only real carrying over high school student, remains as dull as ever. And now the racial tension stuff feels a little over the top.

Burn Notice– I’m thrilled that Fiona is still there (not that I ever expected otherwise). I felt so bad for his mom in this episode and she made some good points. How do you decide whose life you can ruin?

Bones– I didn’t like the part about Booth’s obsession about it not being JFK though I understand the reasoning, it’s naive of him to think that the US has no secrets. Not that I’m paranoid like Hodgins but I’m sure there are some things they don’t want us to know or that they keep secret for reasons of security. But it was sweet of Bones to lie (even if it isn’t logical).

Grey’s Anatomy– So…welcome back Izzy. I’m kind of proud of Alex and a little irritated at Mark for being angry at Lexi. Arizona and Calley are super-cute and even though making her gay was also a little forced, they’re a cute enough couple to make up for it.

Private Practice– Wooahh Naomi. That’s all I can really say.

Vampire Diaries– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest episode. Elena was still a whiny baby, not that I was expecting much more. Stefan was still dark and broody (though interesting to see his history with Bonnie’s family). I’m kind of glad Damon got beaten up. Sad about Gina Torres though.

Project Runway– This season is definitely proving better (and more talent-filled) than last’s. I don’t understand how Ping is still in the competition but maybe the producers told the judges to keep her as long as possible for entertainment’s sake? I guess I’m okay with that for now, as long as someone truly awesome doesn’t get booted in her place.

Legend of the Seeker– Another good episode this week. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Sister Nikki taking all of his powers since that cuts out a large portion of the book (either they’ve completely changed everything about the rest of the book series or Richard needs to get his magic back which may mean that Nikki dies). I guess they decided they had to make the han-acquirement more TV friendly because it is WAAAY more gruesome in the book, but I understand, it is syndicated TV. Don’t love Leo but I do like Cara’s interaction with him so good and bad for the new seeker. And if they are returned to Richard then what? My final question: if prophecies just appear on the walls does that mean we won’t be seeing Nathan Rahl ever? That would be a shame.

Castle

I don’t normally like police shows. Psych and Bones have managed to slip in to my tv watching list despite being procedurals thanks to their highly enjoyable casts and I suppose their unique takes on the police mystery genres. And then there’s Castle, which my sister has been telling me to try. With only ten episodes from last season, there certainly wouldn’t be all that many to catch up on so I figured, not that I’m all caught up on shows, might as well.

Castle involves a highly successful mystery novelist names Rick Castle who gets involved with the police after someone begins copying the crimes in his book. He is surprised to find the inspiration for his next book (after a considerable of writer’s block) in Kate Beckett, a detective who does things very by the book. Being famous, he pulls in a favor from the mayor and gets permission to shadow her on cases for more inspiration. He contributes to solving cases using his psychological profiling skills and crime knowledge gained from his writing experiences.

I think the reason this show works for me, like Psych and Bones, is that the cast isn’t a typical police show cast (though I suppose it is becoming more typical). The characters feel more real and fleshed out, and have more life than those of the typical show like Law and Order. Something about bringing in non-police characters to solve the crime makes the show more enjoyable for me (perhaps more relatable?). Plus it’s Nathan Fillion who is always enjoyable to watch. His character is not just the arrogant jerk and party boy, he’s also a caring father (with an eccentric mother) who is surprisingly sweet at times. So far, after two episodes, I’m liking it.

Luckily, the show just got the go ahead for a full season so season two will be much more than ten measly episodes!