Tuesday, October 13

Diabolical and Twisted and I Love It

Posted by Shelly Holder

Anyone watch Castle yesterday? If not, you're missing out- hardcore.

*Spoiler Alert*

First of all, let me say that I love Castle. Second, let me say I love Castle. Third, I love Castle. If I could write a TV series, I would hope that it would be Castle-esqe. Not Bones, not Criminal Minds, nor CSI, not even House (alright, maybe House) but Castle. I love that the writers play with the nature of story-telling, plot, and narrative within every episode. Every episode, Castle suggests the "story" behind the murder... usually it's wrong, but he suggests a story that "fits" the crime.

I love that interplay, but it's too complicated in my head to explain it all. So back to my main point.

This weekend I bought Heat Wave. Sound familiar? It should- it's the book Rick Castle "wrote" about Detective Beckett/Nikki Heat in the TV series. ABC has published the (fictional) book that the (fictional) character (fictionally) wrote. But it's a real book, that was truly written, that was truly published and released in September, that I trully read over the weekend, that was even ranked #4 (!!!!) for Barnes and Nobles. Is anyone else spinning from that layering?

I love it. I think the advertising guy who came up with this scheme is truly diabolical. What better way to draw attention to the show? Readers pick it up, and go to find the show. Followers of the series buy the book, because they just have to see if the writing is that good (it wasn't, but I'll come back to that later). And all around, there is creation of a fictional world that translates into reality through the purchase of this book, like some of the Harry Potter or LOTR memorablia. It's material goods from a fictional world made into reality, which makes those goods not fictional, but suddenly real... And the fact that the author bio is about fictional character Rick Castle? The author photo is of actor Nathan Fillion? and the author reviews by real authors refer to the previous Derek Storm series (which are truly fictional, as in ABC hasn't published them) and the famous author Rick Castle and his publishing career as all absolutely established historical realities? Oh, yeah. Twisted.

Anyways, the writing wasn't that great. It was obviously a rush job, and the ghostwriter either was 1) a TV series writer, who couldn't quite make the jump to the novel form, or 2) some other writer who hadn't mastered some of the basics. There were many redeemable one-liners, which is why I suspect that a series writer switched to the novel format (they were classic and characteristic for the show), but many technical aspects that were just... mangled. We get an in-depth flash-back on Nikki Heat's mother's murder within the first ten pages, and POV jumps around sporadically, even within the same sentence. Third person POV is still usually limited to the perspective of one single character, or no characters at all. Check your vocabulary, my children, that why dictionaries were created (Thank you, Samuel Johnson, even if you never claimed credit.) And the plot followed along the plot of the show- clownish but intelligent crime journalist tags along with long suffering attractive detective- which would have been fine, except I expected Castle's book to be a little more removed from the show. (Lookit me. I imagined what the ficitonal book of fictional author Rick Castle would be, and when said fictional book was then published, it wasn't what I imagined it to be. Oy vei.)

What surprised me was the inclusion of romance and a sex scene. Yes, sex is now "mainstream," but the show is not heavily romantic, in the same sense that Bones is not heavily romantic. There's flirting, and a few mushy scenes, but the show's popularity is based on the eternal question "When are they going to get together?" If that question is answered, there is no longer a show. When the rumor about Bones and Booth finally getting together went around last season, I was disappointed, because there was no more appeal in watching the show. There would be messy break-ups, and reunions, and dating other people, and jealously, and it would descend into nothing more than a soap opera. Same with Castle. If they ever do actually act on the romantic feelings so carefully controlled, I won't watch it anymore.

Ranting, sorry. Anyways, point is, I got my answer tonight. The latest episode revolves around Heat Wave- yes, the one published. It revolves around the actual plot line of the book, and I think I benefited from having read the book before I watched last night's episode, although it's not necessary in any way. The show was great- Beckett teasing Castle about not reading the book, and secondary characters mentioning the sex scene and Castle teasing Beckett about that... it was really great.

So in summary! The book was ok, but I'm glad I bought it, for the sheer whimsical value and for the connection to the latest episode. I also think it was a FANTASTIC marketing/advertising scheme, and including the book in the plot was diabolical. So I forgive the ghostwriter for the results- it was more important to get the book out before the season progressed too far.

I just wish someone had copy-edited better.

Right Now:
What I'm listening to: "Nothing" by Red Friday (free download of cd here!)
What I want most: more Fall break! (school starts tomorrow, boo)