Philiana, Author at Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CASTLE: Famous Last Words

November 3, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

Let’s get down to business!

Rock star Hayley Blue is found dead in an abandoned alley, her neck broken and hanging upside down Spider Man-style. One of her songs, “Here Kitty Kitty” is on repeat on her blue iPod nano (the same one as mine!) – clearly a sign or clue to her murderer and what happened leading up to her demise … or so we think.

Monday’s episode is the first time Castle’s incredibly mature teenage daughter Alexis plays a large role in the case. Hayley Blue, it turns out, is like “Castle’s” version of Paramore’s frontwoman Hailey Williams. Alexis skips her first class to find out more about what Beckett, Castle and the rest of the team saw at the crime scene, obviously knowing more about the singer than the adults at the precinct.

When Ryan does a search for the song, the music video pops up and it ends up being very similar to the setting in which Hayley was found; a similar alleyway, the same position she was found in. Alexis tells the team that the song was written about an obsessive fan who was following her. Instead of following physical evidence as they usually do, they follow Alexis’ lead, listening to the lyrics and finding out that the stalker is dangerous and that Hayley had filed a restraining order (“50 feet or less”). Frankie Markie’s name pops up in the database. Ryan and Esposito, relegated to their usual sidekick/backup status, follow their only lead and find Frankie Markie headed upstate on a charter bus. Prior to that, Beckett and Castle visit with Hayley’s record producer, Bree Busch, and her husband Ian, who took her in when Hayley got out of drug rehab three months earlier – and find out that she left the previous Monday with all her things, and that her sister Sky was a drug addict.

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CASTLE: Vampire Weekend

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

No words can describe the 58 minutes of happiness that played onscreen. There were mentions of vampire and supernatural lore like the WB’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and numerous references to the space Western “Firefly” that came to such an early demise. In addition to those mentions that worked up a storm on the Internet (at one point during the night, “Castle” was the ninth most popular trending topic on Twitter), we were treated to one of the funniest and wittiest “Castle” episode to date. I wouldn’t be shocked if this ended up attracting higher viewership numbers.

Let’s talk about the opening scene. We’re kidding ourselves if the first few minutes did not make you look or think twice about what you were seeing. It’s been roughly five years since “Firefly” prematurely went off the air, and well, it took another project on another network for it to reappear — even if it was for a small portion of the episode. Castle … er, Nathan Fillion … is strapping on a space cowboy costume (a la Captain Mal; doesn’t this make you want to rewatch some classic “Firefly” and “Serenity” right about now?). His daughter Alexis asks, “What exactly are you supposed to be?” Cue in the “Firefly”-esque music, the finishing touch to an already perfect scene. Castle reponds, “Space cowboy.” His daughter replies, “A) There are no cows in space and B) didn’t you wear that like five years ago so don’t you think you should move on?” Semi-hurt and seeing sadness cloud his eyes, Castle quipped right back, “Uh, I like it!”

And Castle, you are not alone. It doesn’t matter if the lines were blurred here — well, only to those of us who have tracked Filion’s career since the space Western graced our television sets or DVD players — it was Captain Mal on television again and if it takes a Halloween episode for that to happen next year, I ain’t complainin’. Paying homage to a brilliant television show is always a good thing in my book.

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ABC Gives CASTLE a Full Season Order

October 21, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana


Unlike last season, when the fate of our beloved mystery drama did not come about until later into the year, the alphabet net has given us a gift this year. Rewarding strong, solid numbers posted each Monday night, ABC has not fallen victim to the premature cancellation hammer other networks are now known for. Instead, the net has smartly contextualized each night as its own measure of success and failure. Compared to the other broadcast nets who program at 10 p.m. on Mondays (and there aren’t many), “Castle” has fared well.

While more high-profile shows garner a lot more press and buzz, there is something to be said about being slow and steady winning the race. “Castle” is exactly that type of show. Averaging in the low to mid-2s in the coveted 18-49 demographic but steadily increasing after each episode — last night’s had a 2.4 — it’s not about the splashy numbers that a “NCIS” receives on a weekly basis.

We all knew there was a small, loyal audience for a witty (and retro, as this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly noted) mystery drama with two completely opposite personality types, but what we didn’t know was if it could sustain itself amongst the spinoffs gracing the small screen. So if modesty is what gets a show in its sophomore season (is still learning about itself, improving its storytelling each week and reimagining the crime procedural formula in its own voice) the right to remain on the air for 22 episodes, then we’ll take it.

If the last three episodes, which have improved drastically from the start of this season, have indicated, the show is finding its groove. It might not be as fast as we’d like, but it’s treading its waters carefully, fusing Castle’s personal, professional and celebrity worlds seamlessly to weave a uniquely entertaining story we’d all be crazy to give up.

Here are the ratings for Season 2’s episodes:
Ep. 2×01 – 9.26 (total viewers); 2.9 (18-49) ** includes Live+7
Ep. 2×02 – 9.15; 2.8 **
Ep. 2×03 – 9.23; 2.2
Ep. 2×04 – 9.76; 2.3
Ep. 2×05 – 9.69; 2.4

In celebration of “Castle’s” pick-up, there will be an in-depth character analyses (from Season 1 to last night’s episode) for the main characters within the week. If you have anything character-related you’d like to bring to my attention, feel free to leave a comment! Also, if you attended last night’s Heat Wave (which debuted at #26 on the New York Times Best Seller list) signing event with Nathan Fillion at The Grove, please drop a line!

Philiana Ng works at an entertainment trade publication in Los Angeles.

CASTLE: Inventing the Girl

October 6, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

Setting: It’s New York Fashion Week, and a beautiful model and her boytoy run into a fountain. Once the water stops, they discover a female body strewn atop the lights.

Cause of death: Stabbing; perhaps a botched robbery. Insert Castle’s 15-second rundown of who the victim actually is: a model since she’s thin and has way too much eye makeup. And hello, it’s the middle of Fashion Week! Come on Beckett, pay attention!

Flash forward to Beckett and Castle backstage at a (fake) high-fashion designer Teddy Farrow, questioning the designer, an older British gentleman with perfectly messy blonde hair. While the designer naively asks for the gown the model victim was wearing back — after all, in fashion one-of-a-kind pieces are worth more than a person’s life — we get a glimpse into Castle’s social life, maybe even a random hookup after one of his nights on the town. Her name? Rina, a twentysomething model who Castle met before .. and they must have shared some unforgettable memories (at least for her). But the question remains: What sort of insight will she bring to the case, if any? Beckett and Castle then question the model victim’s best friend, Sierra Goodwin, another model dressed in an expensive-looking white wedding dress, and while clearly overly distraught over her loss, she reveals that their victim was married.

Cue to one of the waiting rooms in the precinct. The husband, Travis, a young man with tossled blonde locks and clad in a plaid shirt, brown jacket and pants to give off the idea that he is an average Joe, airs his frustration to the pseudo partners. Subtly commenting on the lack of police precaution when it comes to seemingly low-level crimes, such as stalking (as it does at this point in the episode), Beckett and the team (including Ryan and Esposito) look into an overzealous fan bordering on creepy stalker as a possible suspect. Speaking to the vic’s character, she was just an innocent, simple girl who was too naive for a big, bad city like New York.

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CASTLE: The Double Down

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

The full moon really brings out the crazies.

Beckett and Castle’s case: Girl is killed but whoever murdered her left writing (using horrible grammar) all over her face. Detectives Ryan and Esposito’s case: A garden-variety robbery-homicide case that turns out to be slightly more complicated than they originally thought.

Castle, always the betting man, bets that he and Beckett can solve their case first. But things get a more interesting for both teams, as they race to be the first (as horrible as it sounds) to solve their respective crimes. And to top it all off, Beckett has no idea. A recipe for disaster.

Once Beckett and Castle finish an interrogation with their victim’s friend, Castle sees Ryan and Esposito exiting a room with their victim’s family at the police department. When he tries to pump them for information about the status of their investigation (not because he wants them to find the perpetrator, but to get a read on where they are on their case), Ryan and Esposito confidently roll off some likely suspects (gang members, they presume) who normally hang out at the park their victim was found dead. But, in a fit of desperation and the product of watching way too many detective shows, doles out well-crafted reasons as to why they probably weren’t the guilty ones. Do Ryan and Esposito buy that they’re wrong and Castle is possibly right (and is)? Not for a second, although within seconds of Castle’s not-so-mindless yammering, you can see the wheels begin to turn. And they were thisclose to winning!

Meanwhile, Castle, has 100% confidence that the second person he and Beckett question, a butcher, is indeed the suspect. While Beckett is clueless to Castle’s ulterior motive, he doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to get the answers to the questions that would put this guy in jail for good. Of course, it being only 15 minutes into the episode, Castle’s assumption doesn’t prove so right … and because his ego is on the line, puts all his money on the next guy.

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CASTLE Season Premiere: Deep in Death

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

The first season of “Castle” had its ups and downs, many of the latter occurring in the first several episodes which was to be expected for a new show trying to find its footing. By the second half of the year, however, the budding relationship between Stana Katic’s Beckett and Nathan Fillion’s Castle became much more interesting and frankly, better executed. While I will be the first to say that Beckett was one of the weaker characters on the show, along with some of the supporting members of the N.Y.P.D., Katic found her rhythm and the by-the-rules lead detective became a driving force in Castle’s otherwise juvenile lifestyle.

By season’s end, the partnership between Beckett and Castle that took much of the season to solidify and cement as a believable yet quirky friendship of sorts, took a turn for the worst when Castle revealed that he had looked into the murder of Beckett’s mother on his own, potentially damaging her trust in him forever.

So as “Castle’s” sophomore season began, the big cliffhanger was: Will Beckett and Castle solve cases together? And if you thought the answer would be a resounding no, then well, you’re a little clueless. Castle is still the same Castle, albeit a little more mature; but a little in this case amounts to only a pinch here and a pinch there. The weekly poker games with well-known authors of contemporary mystery novels – the ones Castle writes – are still weaved in seamlessly into the fold. Castle is still a hit with the police department and the mayor. Beckett is still an enigma waiting to be solved, with thin layers being peeled off by the episode. (Last night, we found out she studied abroad in Russia in the middle of junior and senior years in college and that she can pull off a mean Moscow accent.) And as usual, everyone is still enamored with the celebrity of Richard Castle.

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CASTLE: Home Is Where the Heart Stops

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

Disclaimer: I apologize if you wanted to read about last night’s murder; while it is a significant part of the show, “Castle” would be nothing without its quirky character dynamics. A discussion of this follows.

After watching the first seven episodes of “Castle,” I’ve come to realize – as many of you have – that the show is not about the weekly murder mysteries. Though the show is sold as a crime procedural a la the “CSIs” and “Law & Orders,” the one thing the show cannot live without is the different dynamics and relationships Castle plays during various points in his personal, public and professional lives. Tonight’s episode was another glimpse into Castle’s non-work environment and like any freshman series, was one of the best so far in depicting the growth of Castle and Beckett’s relationship. Earlier in the season when Stana Katic’s Beckett was still not on par with Nathan Fillion’s portrayal of Castle, I offered some concern over Katic’s abilities to go toe-to-toe with Fillion. Six weeks later, I must admit – Katic has steadily improved after each episode. She infuses a strong-willed, unfazed attitude into the character that has given viewers an opportunity to see multiple sides of what could have easily been the archetypal headstrong female detective on another throwaway crime show.

At various points in the episode while the duo worked to solve the obligatory murder case, the dynamic between Castle and Beckett retained its employee-employee relationship yet forwarded ten steps each time the two socialized. There was a moment when Beckett and Castle went shooting. Appropriately Beckett wore fire engine red (was this a subtle way of incorporating the femme fatale?) as she showed off her toughness, shooting the target right in the center of the head. Castle, pretending to be unable to shoot a gun if his life depended on it, aimed at the target’s crotch, commenting boyishly that that would hurt. (Oh yes, Castle, it most definitely would.) Of course, Castle is a man of mystery – as I have learned from watching past episodes. After allowing Beckett to wallow in her glory for being the best shooter in the room, Castle quickly put her back in her place, shooting the target right in the chest.

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CASTLE: Always Buy Retail

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

Instead of focusing on the week’s murder mystery, last night’s episode was strictly about Castle and his past relationship with his first ex-wife, Meredith. While there was an interesting spin on the Nigerian religious killings that had to do with knockoffs on Canal Street, Aldis Hodge (“Leverage”) and symbolic images from the Vudon religion that Castle somehow had knowledge of, it was like an afterthought – especially when viewers were thrust into the raunchy, R-rated action of Castle and his former significant other in the first few seconds. So even though procedurals have stand-alone storylines that often display or present different aspects of the show’s main characters, today the focus will remain solely on Castle and his family.

It has been mentioned many times before, but there is no harm in saying this again: “Castle” earns its charm and endearment through the depictions of Castle’s non-workplace encounters between his wise-beyond-her-years daughter Alexis and his former Broadway diva of a mother Martha. It is the way Castle, who can be overly cheesy and bratty at times, is brought down to a human level and seen as someone we could all somehow relate to and respect. The thing that is interesting about the Castle character is the lack of urgency or significance the writers have shown in regards to his single parenthood status. It is not everyday (especially on television) when a good-looking and successful businessman/creative type has an unconventional family life. There were several moments in the past few episodes in which I asked myself, “How did Castle get into his current situation? How was it decided that Castle would be the day-to-day parental figure to Alexis?”

Last night’s episode briefly implied that perhaps it was Alexis’ mother’s lackadaisical nature and professional career as an actress that prompted her to leave and pursue her dreams of making it on the marquee. Meredith, who can be boxed into the generic Los Angeles high-maintenance girl stereotype, draws comparisons to Castle’s wild, party-loving mother – and Castle, though in a joking way, responds to his mother’s question about why he even married her in the first place. He simply stated that she was just like his own mom. Ouch. But, knowing his mother, she would probably consider it a compliment, even though she despises Meredith like nobody’s business.

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CASTLE: Hell Hath No Fury

March 31, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

As the release date of Castle’s first Nikki Heat novel arrived, instead of breaking out the champagne bottle to celebrate the arrival of Castle’s latest series, the suave writer-turned-amateur investigator watched Beckett’s every move as she completed paperwork at her desk. Was he hiding from the fact that the possibility that his latest published work was something he wasn’t completely sure of its success? Sure, but Beckett made sure to rib him of his professional insecurities. The confidence Castle exudes in every aspect of his life, except the words that he writes, plays into Beckett’s bemusement. She offered us a sampling of her keen sense of observation: “You want people to think you don’t care.” But clearly, Castle does. We get this when his diva mother calls and lets him know that no one has been buying his latest book. Was his latest novel a bust? It was obvious Castle’s inflated ego was bruised … at least temporarily.

The murder of the week comes to us through the intricate web of New York City politics, prostitutes and blackmail. High-powered New York politician Jeff Horn, whom Castle immediately recognizes in his tarnished glory, is found rolled up in a rug with a bullet hole to the head. When Castle and Beckett arrive at the crime scene, Castle steps on Beckett’s toes, stating with certainty that “it wasn’t a botched robbery” at the same time as Beckett. His ability to apply his observational skills to real unsolved murders still has yet to be explained but for some reason, it is easy to let that part go. As relevant as that point may seem, the fact that Castle can successfully read a crime scene the same way a seasoned detective can is the only thing that matters, for now at least. Jeff, who was campaigning for city office, was having an elicit affair with a professional prostitute named Tiffany, who Castle proudly had a semi-date with while working the case, and the only way for those photos, who were taken by private investigator Bruce Kirby, was to pay off the blackmailer (who ended up being Kirby).

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CASTLE: Hedge Fund Homeboys

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

This week we were introduced to the rich, glamorous and dangerous world of New York City’s Upper East Side. Doesn’t this sound familiar, almost like a distant cousin of the CW’s flagship show “Gossip Girl”? In many ways, this week’s episode of “Castle” was like the mature crime procedural supplement to the gossipy, teen-driven staple, which proved to have its positives and negatives.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way, but let me say this: Even in the grand scheme of things, they are minor in nature and almost insignificant. In the week’s murder mystery, the son, Donnie, of a once-wealthy family is found dead lying in a boat in a Central Park lake. When his friends are questioned by Beckett and Castle after they find out that they were at the park the night their friend was killed, one of the girls (played by “Real World” alumna Jamie Chung) points the dysfunctional duo towards the wrong suspect in an attempt to cover her friends’ tracks. (A day after Donnie died, another member of the group Max is killed, adding another layer to the prep school circle.) Later, when Beckett and Castle corner the Chuck Bass of the group, Spencer, the dark, brooding prep school attendee plays a video on his phone of the night his friend was shot. A little too convenient right? Moments later, Spencer is interrogated by Beckett and Castle after they realize they could pin him at the through a sync application that was installed on the group’s phones and after Castle witnessed Beckett’s no-holds-bar interrogative technique, employs some of his own tricks of the trade – and gets Spencer to confess … Chuck Bass style.

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CASTLE: Nanny McDead

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under #1 featured, Castle, Posts by Philiana

On paper, “Castle” has the ingredients of being the next big cop procedural hit. The characters are interesting, at least title character Richard Castle is, and the murders are, for the most part, interesting and unconventional. What works well for “Castle” on paper, however, doesn’t translate quite as strongly – as one would hope – to the small screen. That’s what happened in the series premiere last week when Castle (brilliantly played by Nathan Fillion) and his foil Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) were forced to color in between the lines and recite stale, cliché lines.

While Fillion displayed a knack for sinking into character (or is it the fact that Castle isn’t too far removed from the everyday Fillion?), Katic struggled to counter Castle’s egotistical charm and wit without seeming too stuck-up or devoid of all emotion. What didn’t help was the lack of consistency in the show’s tone that often went from light-hearted gaudiness to a heavy sense of deliberate profundity so as not to come off as a “trashy mystery charmer” as Castle and his books frankly are.

Fortunately, last night’s episode where a nanny is found inside a machine in the laundry room showed a vast improvement in the show’s tonal elements, character developments and even the way the murder mystery unfolded – with several twists and turns, some predictable and some not. By the end of the pilot, it is revealed that Castle will now be shadowing Beckett on all her cases as research for his next book. Now the ploy may be intentional (let’s be serious here, there was no way the show could have gone forward by focusing on murders that were taken out of Castle’s books nor could the police department employ him as a consultant without ample reason) to keep the story going, but it works, as predictable as it may be.

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