HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Castle: The Complete Fifth Season
HTS Overall Score:74
I’m a HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE fan of Nathan Fillian ever since I saw him in “Firefly”. He’s a wildly charismatic actor with a loveable, boyish charm to his demeanor that seeps through into every role he plays. Like John Wayne, he’s not an A list actor, but everyone loves him nonetheless for his charisma. After “Firefly”, he had a rather rocky run of things within the TV genre and faltered through several series that only lasted a truncated season that is until he struck gold with “Castle”. Rick Castle (Nathan Fillian) is a playboy, millionaire writer with a heart of gold. Roguish, charming and completely spoiled, he’s tired of writing murder mysteries and needs a new muse. Latching onto the idea of a female police detective as his muse, he uses his celebrity status to wheedle his way into the New York Police department and become an unofficial, and unwilling, partner with one homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). They form an unlikely love/hate relationship (usually it’s more of Castle loving Beckett and Beckett hating Castle), as Castle tags along on her murder investigations and uses his experiences to write more novels.
The first few seasons were definitely episodic, with the main plot revolving around Castle and Beckett’s tenuous relationship. Filled with lots of witty banter, it kept itself above the droll and depressing feel that so many police procedurals can get bogged down with, mainly thanks to Nathan Fillian’s and Stana Katic’s incredible chemistry. Season 3 is where it really picks up the storyline with the details of Kate’s Mother’s murder investigation and the consortium that is after them. Season 4 stagnates a bit, but we find out finally WHO is behind the constant attacks on Beckett and the mysterious man protecting her.
SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SEASON 4 YET!
Now we have found out that Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman) has been at the heart of these attacks all along, Kate is determined to stop him from coming after her again. Utilizing Espesito, Ryan and Castle, Beckett is able to get some incriminating evidence on the Senator and bluffs him into a Mexican standoff. He won’t bother her, and she can’t get close enough to him to take him down. At the same time Castle and Beckett have FINALLY done what fans of the show have been begging for, for years. Together at least (officially), their romantic game of “serendipity” has come to fruition and both are finally on the same page. With Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) off to College, Castle and Beckett are finally able to start seeing how they work as a couple. Of course the awkward fact of the matter is that they have to keep their relationship secret from the NYPD so as not to cause a conflict of interest and have Castle booted off the team. This means that the two of them have to tiptoe around like school kids sneaking out in the middle of the night for a midnight rendezvous all the time. This creates plenty of hilarity as well as some serious strains on the couple’s relationship.
Through all of this, “Castle: Season 5” still keeps up its share of creepy murders and investigations. Many of which start to delve deeper and deeper into the characters of Esposito and Ryan. Ryan has always been an underutilized character and there’s several episodes in season 5 (Wild Rover being the best) that flesh out what really makes the man tick, and his past just a bit more. Castle himself has some revelations by which he finally comes face to face with his unknown Father AND Alexis getting kidnapped all in the same time period. Overall the show still stays true to its episodic “police procedural” roots with the main cohesive force being the budding relationship between Castle and Beckett, rather than any more in depth dealings with Senator Bracken or anything of that ilk.
The Season is a bit more serious than some of the previous ones, season 3 included, due to the fact that it deals with the couple’s relationship on a rather serious note, rather than just engage in witty banter, which was more at home in their previous love/hate relationship. Season 4 was a bit of disappointment in my opinion from the high of Season 3, but Season 5 is a definite improvement (albeit still not as good as the first 3 seasons). The cliffhanger at the end kind of came out of nowhere and felt like the writers were playing it safe rather than continue on the previous plot points. With the lack of humor, the police procedural moments tend to feel a little bit duller than they have in the past, but even mediocre “Castle” is better than 90% of the episodic TV shows on the market. While the finale was a bit lackluster it opens the door for a WHOLE nother realm of possibilities to come to light. As such, I’m eagerly awaiting the Season 6 premiere on September 23rd.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12684[/img]Being that “Castle” is a television broadcast show you can already guess that it’s presented in 1.78:1 widescreen formatting. Looking lovely as ever, the 5th season is a beautiful encode for a DVD. No signs of interlacing on the disc and I couldn’t see very many signs of macroblocking or bit starvation that can happen when you try to cram too many episodes onto a DVD to save space. There was a little color banding in some scenes, and some inherent softness, which I can only attribute to the lack of resolution compared to the Hi-Def presented encodes I’ve seen of the show. It’s sad that “Castle” is a natively Hi Def presentation, but the powers that be have decided that there will be no blu-ray for us. All that being said ABC has made good use of the 480 lines of resolution at its disposal and “Castle” look excellent for a DVD. My only real gripe was with the black levels. Every season has demonstrated this caveat and it’s always been a thorn in its side. The black levels show a decent amount of black crush due to the dark lighting situations and has a tendency of wiping out shadow detail. Colors themselves are appropriately cheerful and have a great deal of pop. There’s a very distinct orange color push to the color tone, but that is most definitely a stylistic choice which has stuck with the series from the beginning
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12685[/img]The audio is pretty standard fare for a modern TV show. Front loaded with some mild surround usage. The majority of the show is dialogue, so even with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track the show is basically a front soundstage based audio track. There IS some mild use of the surrounds during some of the action scenes and employing some basic ambience, but with a TV budget there’s not a whole lot of work into making it an audiophile’s dream track. Dialogue is nice and crisp and clean throughout, which is nice for a show which employs 90% of its use in the front three speakers. Some mild panning effects during the action scenes, and generally just pleasing to the ears. Being that it’s just a basic TV show there’s almost no LFE content whatsoever, and the little that is there is so mild that my subs never really took over for my mains. While not being a crowd pleaser, Season 5’s Dolby Digital track is very serviceable and doesn’t detract from the presentation at all.
• Martha's Master Class
• Your Home is Your Castle
• Lot Cops
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentaries
Recovering from the stumbling’s of Season 4, Season 5 is still not as fantastic as the epic Season 3, but it does a wonderful job at recovering from its previous season and keeping its stride. Most series suffer badly when the main love interests actually get together (anyone remember “Lois and Clark”?), but “Castle” does an admirable job at keeping the characters fresh and exciting without falling into the traps that so many other series have fallen into with this plot twist. With solid video and audio scores, this is a must pick up for all “Castle” fans out there and a definite call to all you newbies to start checking out some re-runs.
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, John Huertas, Molly C. Quinn
Created by: Andrew W. Warlow
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: ABC Studios
Runtime: 945 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Sept 10th, 2013
Buy Castle: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
More about Mike