‘Yes, Minister’

Well, “under consideration” means “we’ve lost the file”; “under active consideration” means “we’re trying to find it”.

This is a true British classic which I feel one has to appreciate at its basic level. Beginning with the very first episode, and running through all of the episodes in both of the series (the new one isn’t considered), the characters epitomise some of the inherent contradictions in British society.

Now, Minister, if you are going to promote women just because they’re the best person for the job, you will create a lot of resentment throughout the whole of the Civil Service!

The caustic quips throughout by Bernard and others are absolutely amazing, as is Bernard’s overall concerned nature at the state of the society. Sir Humphrey Appleby is the other character that is always in the minds of everyone, convoluting the procedure and the message both. Meanwhile, he comes across as the very nature of the person taking the piss out of the system, which was no doubt the intent of the writers. Further, Hacker’s attempts at imitating Churchill are especially amusing given the apparent difference in the character of the two notable men. I can’t help but feel that the writers did a superb job of describing from life, a principle which Masaoka Shiki would definitely appreciate.

The ship of state, Bernard, is the only ship that leaks from the top.

The series is worth watching for anyone how wants to understand either the British political system or British life in general. Well worth watching!

Notwithstanding the fact that your proposal could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance, there is a countervailing consideration of infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroborative malfeasance, with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and diversions could irredeemably and irretrievably invalidate your position and culminate in public revelations and recriminations of a profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensible character.

‘Wrapped Up in Death’, ‘Castle’

There’s no upside to screwing with things you can’t explain.

That’s very much the takeaway from the ‘Castle’ episode ‘Wrapped Up in Death’. A very good and meaningful phrase uttered by the Captain Roy Montgomery after relating a story from his early detective years, it’s hard to argue with.

Things you can explain with, go ahead. Things you can’t, be aware…

‘Castle’

I was brought into watching ‘Castle’ by a good friend of mine who insisted that it was a show worthy of the time and effort invested. I was dubious. After all, what good can be a show that’s called ‘Castle’ if it doesn’t have any castles in it? That, at least, was my initial reaction.

The first episode of ‘Castle’ that I saw was the season 2 finale. An odd choice, I dare say, but I had very little control over the circumstances. However, I did enjoy that first look and soon afterwards took the series up from its beginning. By now, I’ve seen all five seasons as well as the latest finale that aired just in the beginning of this week. And, I’m here to say what I think of the show in general as well as of that finale.

I would like to start by saying that ‘Castle’ has treaded the fine line between humour and serious attitude quite well for a long period of time. The jokes — out of all categories of possible interest — were certainly a part of what kept me with the show. How often do people find main characters who are self-confessed comic book fans, or who can spar with lightsabers, or who can just want for a better story in their murder?

As an aside: I am afraid that if you look at the categorization of this post, you’ll see ‘Drama’. That is slightly wrong… ‘Castle’ is almost never as drama-like as it could be, preferring the lighter shades of life to the darker ones. I don’t fault the show that — I can’t fault a show for wanting to be happy and amicable after all, but I felt that this needed a mention.

But, is there something that I could find fault with in the show? Yes, there certainly are things. One of these objects is the persona of Richard Castle, the namesake of the show. Nathan Fillion makes for a very good actor and I enjoy his performances, but every now and then his character fails on me. Mr Castle does this by trying too hard, in a way — it’s not that I mind him being childish occasionally, after all, nearly everyone is. It’s rather that I find Richard Castle a bit too self-centred and unwilling to compromise. It’s his way or nothing at all. Or, at least, that’s how it has looked for the majority of the series, and while there may be good reasons for this, there’s also plenty of not-that-good in an attitude like that.

Stana Katic in Mr Fillion’s female counter-part role as Kate Beckett (and the real reason for the show) is a far more interesting character. There’s a lot going on in that brilliant mind of hers, and that is something I certainly appreciate. What I do wish, at times, is for her to be less stubborn and to know when to give up, but I guess that not everything can be done as I wish it to be. Overall, of the two lead characters, I certainly prefer Ms Beckett to Mr Castle.

[Of the minor characters, Detective Ryan is probably my favourite chap on the show. Seamus Dever brings the detective to life better than the others, in my opinion, and I have really enjoyed a more thorough look at the fellow that we’ve had in season five.]

One other thing ‘Castle’ does really well are these random scenes, with people walking out singing or entering in the middle of an important sentence. One of these from the mid-third season was really memorable for me, by virtue of introducing me to a very pleasant song. Here it is, just so the cast can sing it once more for us fans…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4mebeNe0pw]

But now, on to my thoughts on the ending of season five. I enjoyed the last episode, and I am looking forward to the sixth season. In a way, this was the only possibility for keeping the show going, but the episode served well to reinforce my doubts on ‘Castle and Beckett’. I’d like for her to go for what she wants, just because I don’t think he can open himself up — which has been a topic throughout the last season but not really explored in anything except Kate’s thoughts. It is very easy for Castle in every situation to make it about himself, but life’s not like that. And it could be that he has realized that.

It does seem that we need to wait for a few months to see how real this impression is, but hopefully things will be on a more interesting level in season six.

EDIT: With regards to the topmost comment below, I’ve changed the post above to reflect to the characters and not the actors as is proper. Thanks!