Fans of Joss Whedon already know all about Nathan Fillion. Whether as the charismatic leader Captain Mal Reynolds on Firefly, the charismatically evil Caleb on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the charismatic but arrogant Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, there's one thing that ties every Nathan Fillion performance together.
That charisma is put to great use in Fillion's new ABC series Castle, premiering Monday night at 10pm following Dancing with the Stars. Fillion is the kind of guy who inspires legions of fans to swoon with a simple smirk, and in Castle, his smirking is on full display for the masses.
In the series, Fillion plays Richard Castle, a mystery writer who is suddenly brought in as a consultant for the NYPD when a serial killer starts using his books as inspiration. It's a lot like Murder, She Wrote, if Jessica Fletcher were a dashingly handsome man. Castle teams up with gruff yet sexy Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) who is very reluctant to let a preening playboy author help in her investigation.
The sexual tension is immediate, and the rest of the crime stuff plays out as you'd expect in a procedural drama. However, it's Fillion's ability to lighten up a deathly serious situation with just the right tone of sarcasm that makes the show soar above generic cop dramas.
The show does have some weaknesses. Castle's homelife is a bit dull and pedestrian as he lives in a loft with his daughter and alcoholic mother. Despite being played by Dharma and Greg's Susan Sullivan, the mother character is especially cliched, as Jessica Walter has been playing the exact same character on 90210.
But hopefully time will bring focus to the show and the homelife will vanish as the show focuses on Fillion and Katic. Those are the scenes that make this show a pleasure to watch as the two have roughly the same dynamic as David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel on Bones. It should come as no surprise that both men are former Whedon leads.
The main reason to watch is Nathan Fillion. He was wasted last season on Desperate Housewives and never got a chance to shine on Fox's very short-lived Drive. But now, on a big network airing after a huge hit, a show with Nathan Fillion in the lead is in a perfect position to survive, and hopefully America will embrace him as much as Whedon fans have from the first time they saw him.
I defy you not to be won over by him. I dare you to watch Castle and not become an instant worshiper at the church of Nathan Fillion. There's a reason people still congregate to honor a show that only lasted for nine episodes on Friday nights on FOX, and while Joss Whedon may be part of it, it's Fillion who stole our hearts.