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Tag Archives: Three 1/2 Stars

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

ABC's Castle

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

A pretty plain murder starts off what is a pretty plain episode of Castle. A woman found strangled leads back to the Mayor’s office and Castle doesn’t want to believe that his friend is a murderer, a plot device we’ve seen before. The killer is pretty obvious from the get go if you understand how the series is put together, but there is at least one interesting twist. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much of the wit and zaniness that we’ve all come to know and love from Castle. It continues a trend of blasé episodes which I guess is the Dramady’s attempt to be more Drama, less Comedy. At least the episode leaves us with a very interesting question that needs to be answered about Joanna Beckett’s murder, a story arc that while decidedly interesting, is woefully lacking.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

A woman is strangled and left in a car. Nothing macabre or remarkable, just plain old murder. The interesting part is that the car belongs to the City Hall motor pool and leads back to an event Mayor Robert Weldon (Derek Webster) was attending. This leads through a typical storyline of the Mayor being a suspect in the crime as evidence points to him but Castle believes he’s innocent. We’ve seen this plot before which was the first clue to the Mayor being innocent. The other was the innocuous placement of Bones semi-regular Michael Grant Terry in the perfect position to be the murderer.

The crime does lead to a sex-talk line which should have been fun, seeing as this is Richard Castle we’re talking about here, but it read almost like an episode of Law & Order. Eventually the trail stumbles upon a plot by persons unknown to ruin the Mayor’s bid for Governor and perhaps later the Presidency.

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

Castle and Beckett speak to Mayor.

The twist comes when the mysterious man who previously contacted Castle to tell him to back off of Joanna Beckett’s murder, for the sake of Beckett’s life, contacts him again and gives Castle the vital clue to solve the case. Why did he do it? To keep Castle in the game. If the Mayor is gone, Castle is gone, and there is no one to keep Beckett on a leash and therefore save her life.

So just who is this man? How much power does he hold? Who is this other group who wants to destroy the Mayor and kill Beckett is she gets too close? It’s definitely intriguing to say the least.

It could be nothing, but right before the mysterious man speaks to Castle using a chessboard metaphor, Captain Gates says something similar to Beckett, chess and all. Could be coincidence as it’s a common metaphor… or does it mean something? Gates comes from a family of cops, was in I.A., and says that she likes cops and only wants to look out for them. Could it be she’s in on this game, somewhere? Depending on how that is played out, this could be a fantastic or horrible plot thread.

We’ll just have to see where this leads us.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Television

 

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The Finder – Overview – Pilot

FOX's The FinderThis overview is based on the pilot only. Updates will be forthcoming as the show progresses.

FOX’s new series The Finder is based on The Locator books by Richard Greener which I haven’t read so I can’t say much on that subject at this time. The series was created by the same creator/exec producer as the popular series Bones and he used the show to introduce The Finder as a backdoor pilot. Basically, Bones produced a normal episode for them only with the The Finder characters prominent in it. This way the creators of The Finder received an instant test audience to see if the show was viable on its own. However, The Finder is not really a spin off in the same sense shows like NCIS are spin-offs. Sure, Bones and The Finder share the same universe but that is about it. If there was no Bones backdoor pilot and you put them up next to each other you really wouldn’t be able to see the resemblance.

This is one of the most obvious yet sneaky moves made by FOX lately but it might have paid off. The Finder did premiere with so-so ratings but its lead-in Bones underperformed as well so it could just be a matter of external factors keepings the fan base away from the television that night. Since both shows were down it’s too early to judge if this is a bad sign for Finder or not.  If The Finder can rise up to Bones’ average audience share, and scare up some more, then it’s got it made as a Thursday night television show that competes against powerhouse Grey’s Anatomy.

Does it have what it takes? Let’s take a look.
Cast of FOX's The Finder

The story centers around Walter Sherman, an ex-military, PTSD suffering, savant played by Geoff Stults. After a combat injury Walter gains Sherlockian level observation skills but he has the tack of a fifth grader (which makes the character similar to Bones’ Dr. Brennan but that is where the similarities end). Walter also has a compulsion to find things and once he’s on the trail he won’t stop until he finds the item, hence the title. Other characters make the obvious comparison to blood hounds and worry he will run himself to the ground.

He’s accompanied by his own Chewbacca in the form of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Leo Knox. Leo basically owes Walter a life debt and so faithfully follows him around acting as financial advisor, Jiminy Cricket, and steam roller. Michael Clarke Duncan is great and really underappreciated, he pulls off the subtle, Zen-like, traits of Leo despite being, well, Michael Clarke Duncan. He’s a big, intimidating looking man and one hell of an actor.

The love interest (because there is always a love interest) is Mercedes Masohn ‘s Deputy US Marshal Isabel Zambada. Walter helps her with catching felons and she gets him information. There is a sexual relationship between them, a friend’s with benefits situation, which is positively underplayed.

The main cast is rounded off with the troubled gypsy teen, Willa (Maddie Hasson), a seemingly pointless addition to the cast from the backdoor pilot. She is the ‘daughter never had/just needs someone to believe in them’ cliché and might be a possible grab at pulling in younger audience members. At first she reminded me of Zoey Carter from Eureka, styling and all, but Zoey was better acted and had more depth in her debut episode. Still, some promise here as long as they avoid the obvious cliché pitfalls.

As for the show itself, the tone is very similar to Bones as to be expected. With a smaller cast and no ‘outsider’ character the story can skip the ‘breaking in’ period of story arcs. Since everyone already knows each other it’s just a matter of showing those relationships to the audience. Dropping the viewers into a show without the benefit of story arc exposition required from having a character get to know other characters is always a plus in my book.

There is also a strong comedic element of quick witted dialogue and visual (non toilet humor) gags in the pilot which I hope carries into the series. I am a sucker for snappy one liners as long as those speaking them can pull off the timing and Stults and Duncan play off each other quite nicely. There is something about Walter’s socially recluse scrawny neurotic to Leo’s gentle giant who could kick your butt that works wonderfully together in that ‘odd couple’ way.

In the pilot they had a celebrity guest star, John Fogerty, and it’s unclear at this time if this was a one-off because Fogerty wrote the theme song or if the series will employ more guest stars to jazz up the place. Could be interesting. Fogerty was looking for his favorite guitar, makes you wonder what other celebrities might need located.

On the technical side, the pacing of the pilot episode was off but this is the pilot episode. The writers and director had more exposition and groundwork to lay than usual so hopefully that’s a one-off. The ending was also very ‘scooby doo’ but again, that could be pilotitis (yes, I think I just made that word up). Thankfully everything else in the pilot was spot on from the camera work to the set pieces. Let’s hope they keep that up.

Overall, the pilot did its job and peaked this viewer’s interests. The show has lots of potential which it has already touched on (always a good sign). Next week it will have an American Idol lead in so hopefully it can get those ratings up. I should have an episode specific review of the pilot with more details up soon, so look for that too.

Score: 3 1/2 Ratings Star

Here’s a question, if you could have the The Finder find you anything, what would it be? And no, your dignity after your 21st birthday party does not count.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Television

 

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