Castle and Bones are the same series in my head sometimes.
Both shows have an attractive lead couple that works together solving crimes. Both shows have been on for years. Both shows have had to dream up ways to keep the sexual and romantic tension alive.
Series that utilize this setup, be they dark dramas or light dramas (as both Castle and Bones are) or even comedies, always face a dilemma after a while. If you get the couple together sexually or romantically, you risk killing the tension that helped make the show popular in the first place. If you wait too long to get the couple together, then it seems as if you're just throwing up roadblocks for no reason, and viewers get frustrated with that, too.
Castle -- which airs Sundays on CTV and Mondays on ABC -- has kicked off its sixth season by trying to have it both ways.
If you're a fan, you know that season five ended with novelist Richard Castle (Canadian Nathan Fillion) proposing to Detective Kate Beckett (Canadian Stana Katic). And if you watched the season-six debut, you know that Beckett accepted the proposal, albeit with a caveat.
Beckett had just been offered a big-time new job in Washington, D.C., which isn't that far from the series' original base setting in New York City, but still, the end result technically would qualify as a long-distance relationship. Beckett and Castle vowed to each other that they would make things work, the important point being that they would be trying to make things work together.
And that's how Castle is playing both sides of this street. Yes, finally, Castle and Beckett are "together" in that they are officially engaged. But to try to maintain the sexual and romantic tension, the writers have thrown in the job and venue change for Beckett, which is presented as an active impediment to wedded bliss.
In last week's episode, of course Castle couldn't help himself, and during a surprise visit to Washington to see Beckett, he ended up poking around on one of her cases, which is highly classified. When that situation predictably blew up in both their faces, a nostalgic Castle said to Beckett, "I can't make it like it was before, can I?"
"Maybe it'll be better," Beckett replied.
Yeah, well, maybe. Obviously the writers will have to find a way to get Castle and Beckett working together regularly again. But they also need to keep Castle and Beckett's relationship at stake somehow. Castle still moves along briskly, there's enough humour mixed in to strike a comfortable balance, and Fillion and Katic both do a fine job. Still an extremely solid ratings performer, Castle isn't going anywhere any time soon, and it shouldn't.
But they are trying to build a different Castle this season. The foundation will be the key.