Discovering that Castle has been made available on Disney+ was a great birthday surprise back in March – I've been a big fan for years! It's no surprise then that we burnt through the first season pretty quickly, though I was surprised at how short it had been (only 10 episodes? Was this during the writer's strike?).
Still, I'm glad to say I still love the show. Castle himself is a bit more of an eye-rolling party douche in the first season than I remember, but the scripts keep this balanced well enough with his family life to make him at least a little likeable. Plus, it means that Beckett can legitimately be annoyed at him without the audience utterly disliking him or her actions seeming petty, so it works fine.
The rest of the cast are just as I remember. In fact, I was surprised how quickly the show settles into a rhythm. The pilot introduces a single character that is never seen again (Castle's ex-wife and manager), but other than her very little changes from episode one to episode one hundred (from what I can remember at least). On top of which, having now made our way through several similar TV series, I have to say that the actual plotlines in Castle are above average. The whodunnit elements are decently crafted, the stories are novel, and the twists are earned. Many similar shows simply withhold information from the audience in order to keep the murderer secret, and whilst Castle still does this to some extent it feels natural. There aren't moments when a key clue is revealed later that should have been obvious in an earlier scene, but just wasn't shown, for example; if the characters should have picked up on it, the audience is shown it, even if the relevance doesn't become immediately clear.
Of course, the big comparison is between Castle and The Mentalist. When Alison started me on the latter, I was consistently struck by how similar the two felt. The Mentalist is one of her all-time favourites, whilst Castle is one of mine, so I've had a fear that the similarities might ruin it. Luckily, whilst there are obvious comparisons (the kickass female detective who thinks outside the box, the rogue and handsome consultant, the comedy buddy partners, the whole murder-mystery premise, the hints at romance etc.) the shows are different enough to feel fresh. I like to think of Castle as the less gritty, more wholesome equivalent to The Mentalist, even if it goes in for some surprisingly graphic murder scenes.
Overall, then, I'm still a huge fan. Some of the dialogue has aged to the point of sexism or at least slightly creepy lechery, but for the most part, the jokes still land, the stories are still interesting, and the characters are still a lot of fun. It's lighthearted fluff, but it's much better than your average lighthearted fluff, and it never fails to elicit a smile.