DVD Review: Castle (The Complete Fourth Season)

A vocal group of Firefly fans constantly demand the canceled series be revived on TV. Don’t they understand that Captain Mal (Nathan Fillion) is busy with a hit show? He might be ready for a follow up to the Serenity movie, but he won’t be splitting Castle to revive a show that lasted 14 episodes a decade ago. Millions of fans now know Fillion as Rick Castle, the mystery writer that tags along with homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). He’s part of a sleek and sexy version of Murder, She Wrote. Castle: The Complete Fourth Season is 23 episodes that keeps Fillion hopping around New York City and not blasting off into space.

“Rise” opens with Kate not in a great position. She’s flatlines while being rushed to the operating room. She recovers, but things have changed inside her. Castle hunts for the killer and stays out of contact with Katie for a few month. She can’t handle too much pressure when she gets back to work. Can she and Castle regain their love of homicide? Star Trek fans get a treat with Micheal Dorn (Worf) as a doctor. He sticks around for a few episodes. “Heroes & Villains” chops a victim in half. It’s a difficult case since the split corpse belongs to a sex offender. The suspect is a caped crusader. “Eye of the Beholder” gets bonus points for naming an infamous diamond thief after Falco, the greatest Austrian singer ever. He’s suspected in murdering a museum director while pocking “The Fist of Capitalism” diamond.

“Demons” murders the host of a TV ghost investigator on camera. Was he really in a haunted house or does the house hold a darker secret that isn’t supernatural? “Heartbreak Hotel” murders an Atlantic City casino owner in New York City. Captain Victoria Gates (The Larry Sanders Show‘s Penny Johnson) has Kate stay in NYC while Castle runs down to Atlantic City to check leads and bachelor party. There’s Elvis impersonators. “Cuffed” opens with Castle and Kate handcuffed in a bed. How did they get there and how are they going to get out.

“An Embarrassment of Bitches” gets away with that title when a dog trailer turns up dead. Star Trek fans will sit up and beg for more Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space 9). “The Blue Butterfly” is bittersweet since it features the last appearance of Chad Everett (Medical Center). “Once Upon a Crime” plays off Once Upon A Time with women dressed as fairytale characters. The difference is Red Riding Hood and Snow White don’t have happy endings. “Headhunters” busts up the partnership between Castle and Kate. Can he really feed off another detective? Or will he get fed bullets? “Undead Again” features a suspected zombie killing. They never had any zombie attacks on Dragnet. “Always” puts Kate back on the track for the man that wanted her dead. Can Castle let her open up the wounds?

Castle: The Complete Fourth Season delivers the strange homicides while the story arc of Kate’s near death experience maintains the pressure. The chemistry between Castle and Kate intensifies during this traumatic time. They also don’t lose the comic touches outside of the heavy moments. Fillion has no reason to launch his star-making role.

The Episodes
“Rise,” “Heroes & Villains,” “Head Case,” “Kick the Ballistics,” “Eye of the Beholder,” “Demons,” “Cops & Robbers,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Kill Shot,” “Cuffed,” “Till Death Do Us Part,” “Dial M for Mayor,” “An Embarrassment of Bitches”,” “The Blue Butterfly,” “Pandora,” “Linchpin,” “Once Upon a Crime,” “A Dance With Death,” “47 Seconds,” “The Limey,” “Headhunters,” “Undead Again” and “Always”

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers are fine with a good focus on the handsome looks of Fillion. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. It’s a sophisticated mix that heightens the danger and mystery of the scenes. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.

Commentary Tracks are on several of the episodes featuring the cast and crew.

Fillion And Friends: Castle Goes Radio
has Fillion enter the theater of the imagination. They shot video of the performance so you’re not looking at radio on your HDTV. The episodes were originally released on a podcast.

Submerged: An In-Depth Look At Stunts (17:32) breaks down how they make a car go in the Hudson River.

Bowman, Bowman & Castle (10:25) focuses on producer Rob Bowman and Chuck Bowman, a legendary TV director.

Deleted Scenes
includes 5 snipped moments.

(4:23) are the flubs of the year.

Castle: The Complete Fourth Season takes the show up another notch for viewers. Kate’s near murder changes things up with Castle without destroying what makes the show click. Doesn’t look like Fillion will be thinking of space when he’s got so many victims to investigate on the ground.

ABC Studios presents Castle: The Complete Fourth Season. Starring: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Molly C. Quinn and Penny Johnson. Boxset Contents: 23 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: September 11, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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