Midseason report card: ‘Castle’ season 6 anchored by Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion

Castle and Beckett -Now that it’s December, we’re kicking off today what is the first of what will be a daily feature: The Midseason Report Card. Think of it as a progress report into how each one of your favorite shows is doing halfway through a season focusing on what works, and what needs improvement.

Given that “Castle” was one of the first dramas on network TV to be over for the fall, it feels like an appropriate place to start. We’ve always had an interesting relationship with the show, at least in that we didn’t actually care for it much in the first season, but it started to improve near the end before getting us hooked with a pretty excellent second season. Since that time, it’s become a staple of procedural TV, and has a faithful audience.

Even though “Castle” has done a great job this season of pushing forward some stories and giving us a nice mixture of humor and drama, there are still some holes in season 6 that keep it from being the best season ever at this point.

The shining stars – Clearly, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic continue to do a great job anchoring the show and doing the vast majority of the work. They’ve got a natural chemistry, and the writers have succeeded in slowly showing more of the layers as to who this hard-nosed detective really is underneath the surface. “The Good, the Bad, and the Baby” was a good example of that.

Some of the best episodes of this season have been ones that were self-contained, whether it be this midseason finale, “Like Father, Like Daughter,” or the humorous “Time Will Tell” featuring Joshua Gomez, our favorite guest star of the season so far. “Disciple” also did a great job setting up the possible return of 3XK to the show moving into the new year, and serves as a great reminder that there is something deadly lingering for the NYPD to figure out.

What needs work – Maybe it was the intention for everyone to be annoyed by Pi, but we have to think that there’s a reason we haven’t seen the guy in a while. He will be back at some point, and hopefully then they will either improve the character or send him packing. They’ve also given Castle’s mother Martha even less to do than usual.

There have been some disappointments this year in terms of episodes, as well. We didn’t really enjoy the whole D.C. chapter in retrospect as much as we thought that we would, and the show had a pretty big dud in here in “A Murder Is Forever,” a weak case that we’ve already forgotten most of. While “Disciple” was great, was anyone else hoping that we were going to get a little bit more of Lanie than we actually did?

Overall – “Castle” remains a great show, and one of the best things that ABC has going for it right now with so many of their other series losing numbers pretty quickly. While season 6 has so far been inconsistent, the number of great episodes helps to balance out the few that have been somewhat of a letdown. Grade: B.

If you want to look ahead at the future of “Castle,” which could include everything from the return of Rick’s dad to more wedding planning, be sure to click here. We’ll have more scoop on this off-season as it happens.

Photo: ABC

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