HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Castle: The Complete Seventh Season
HTS Overall Score:79
“Castle” is one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows. Not guilty because I feel embarrassed for the show, but because it’s a show that really isn’t exactly at the top of creativity in a TV land awash with highly acclaimed invention. Instead, it’s a light and fluffy cop show that really thrives off of the chemistry that exists between Nathan Fillion and Stan Katic. Castle and Beckett’s charm and chemistry transcends the standard murder of the week structure and allows us to just kick back and watch the show as it unfolds, even if we’re unlucky enough to miss an episode here or there. There series was heading for the doldrums during seasons 4 and 5 as it tried to serialize the show with a dark and gritty angle, but as ratings started to plummet, the creators realized the mistake. Season 6 was a nice uptick as the show went back to the goofy, lighthearted roots that made them such a hit to begin with. Season 7 follows that pattern and even ups the ante a bit, with some seriously hilarious encounters, and even a trans dimensional episode (or so you think) that blends a nice little bit of the supernatural into the mix.
Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) were all set to get married during the season finale of Season 6, but with a horrible car accident happening on the way to the wedding, things had to be a bit postponed. While we weren’t too sure of what happened exactly during that finale, we get filled into that picture as Beckett arrives on the scene of the flaming car wreck that is Castle’s ride, only to discover there’s no body. This little tidbit leads to a 2 month manhunt where they finally get ahold of the writer, only to discover that he has no knowledge of the last two months. As you can guess, this is the one serialized element of the season, as Castle and Beckett slowly try to peer into that darkness and find out what happened to Castel during his two month Hiatus. Naturally this kind of puts a damper on the wedding, as the couple fights through their own demons that surface after such a harsh couple of months. HOWEVER, we FINALLY get to see them tie the knot near the mid-season mark! This has been long awaited for fans of the show and it’s nice to see that the creators didn’t shy away from that particular commitment like so many other shows have done. Ironically, after “Lois and Clarke” dive bombed in ratings after Lois and Clark got married, TV shows have been VERY nervous about actually finalizing a romance between their leads in fear that they would create the downfall of their own show (instead of realizing that slopping writing is usually the cause of that).
The series is still going to hold its own as fairly episodic in structure, and the rest of the season really only a few episodes dealing with Castle’s past and his missing memory. The rest of the who has more than enough fun little one off episodes dealing with everything from Old West towns, an ancient Incan artifact that supposedly has the power to transcend time and space, poking fun at aging action stars and “The Expendables” movies, and even Castle getting canned from the NYPD. Now that’s enough to have most viewers screech to a halt and raise an eyebrow there. Yes, it’s true. The powers that be decided that Castle had crossed enough lines and after a run in with the local mob, he’s been banned from working with the NYPD. This doesn’t exactly stop Castle though. He’s not what you would call a live and let live type of person, instead gaining his Private Investigator’s license and runs cases in parallel with hers. Yes, that’s as ridiculous as it sounds, but the show is basically ridiculous to begin with. A writer who, at this point, is basically a detective in the NYPD runs around with the police and helps them solve high profile murders. So tuck that away as suspension of disbelief, because without that little unrealistic plot device, we get no show.
Even though it’s been going 7 seasons, “Castle” is still a blast to watch, even if the stories have been done to death. Castle and Beckett have both grown over the seasons, and if you watch the earlier episodes it’s interesting to see how they’ve progressed. Castle was a walking talking joke machine at the beginning of the series, and while he still is the humor of the series, he’s no longer a sarcastic playboy. Instead he’s shown true love and devotion to Beckett, while still being able to retain his childish joy. Beckett was always a hardnosed cop, but she was bitterly so in the invention of the show, and now her kinder and sweeter side have been unleashed after she was able to truly become comfortable around our loveable writer. Javier (John Huertas), Alexis (Molly C. Quinn), Martha (Susan Sullivan) and the rest of the crew are all pretty much copy and paste from previous seasons, but they all flesh out the comedic drama and form a family that no one wants to see go anytime soon.
The episode rundown:
Clear & Present Danger
Meme Is Murder
The Time of Our Lives
Once Upon a Time in the West
Last Action Hero
Private Eye Caramba!
The Wrong Stuff
Hong Kong Hustle
At Close Range
In Plane Sight
Dead From New York
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52554[/img]“Castle: The Complete Seventh Season” is pretty much another notch in ABC’s belt as this season looks just as solid as the previous ones. The show is filmed digitally in the standard TV aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in the MPEG2 codec and looks amazingly good for a DVD. There is almost no digital artifacting except some mild macroblocking and though sometimes is a tad soft, it never betrays the fact that this is one good looking DVD. I’ve said this in every release of “Castle” to date, but there’s some crushed blacks that seem inherent in the source as all 3 of my viewing sources have noted it in ALL the DVD releases as well as the HD broadcasts as well. Colors are bright and natural, with a nice layer of natural greens and browns. Teal color grading is the same as previous seasons, and the accompanying fine detail is excellent, making this a very impressive looking 480 transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52562[/img]“Castle” comes to DVD with the standard 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track, and despite it being the limited bitrate of a 384 kbps encode, it sounds quite pleasing. The show is decidedly a TV budgeted show and naturally a tad front heavy. This means dialogue and the famous “Castle” music is the mainstay of the track. However, surrounds actually get a bit more of a kick than one would expect, with multiple scenes of Castle and Beckett taking down assailants at well, and even a few explosions to add some LFE umph to the show. Ambient noises from New York’s busy city streets come through from all direction to immersive the viewer whenever possible. It’s not going to rival big budgeted movies, but “Castle” certainly makes the most of its made for TV tools available to it.
• Definition Of Love" Performed By Shay-Jean
• Soulful Crooners
• The Cast Behind The Cast
• "Raging Heat" Webmercial
• Audio Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
Going back to its goofy roots, “Castle” does a good job at keeping its loyal fan base just that, loyal. We all know that Castle and Beckett are the main people watch the series, and the two show such amazing chemistry and sparks on camera that you’ll watch every one of their lighthearted adventure without thinking twice ab out the fact that you’re seeing a plot line that’s been played out a dozen times before in a dozen different shows. ABC knows the target audience, and normally I would poo poo a show like “Castle”, but the sheer enjoyment of watching the main characters solve murder after murder more than makes up for the well-trodden stories. Disc wise, the audio and video is as solid as previous seasons, and the extras are ever so slightly meatier than the last couple years as well. Definitely recommended in my books.
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, John Huertas
Created by: Andrew W. Marlowe
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: ABC Studios
Runtime: 982 minutes
DVD Release Date: September 1st 2015
Buy Castle: Season 7 DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It!
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