I sometimes wish that I was capable of watching the weightier TV shows. You know, the ones with real heft that praised to kingdom come and get showered with Baftas. Line of Duty, The Night Manager, The A Word, all of these have passed me by. And why? Because, instead of watching some deep, powerful drama, I find myself watching something like Castle.

Not that there is anything wrong with Castle. It’s slick, fun and entertaining. It has that streak of malice in amongst its brash light-heartedness that American shows do so well. The cases can veer from slapstick comedy to dark conspiracies within a few moments. So yes, I enjoy it. But the fact that it will never get mentioned in the same breath as, say, Breaking Bad, means that it remains a guilty pleasure.

Personally, I think this is a shame. Writing this off as something that this for the mass audience and not part of the upper-echelons of television classics is almost a form of cultural snobbery. For a start, it ignores that this show has been going for 8 seasons, yet still is capable of episodes that thoroughly draw you in. Some of them, for instance the season 8 opener, are more like action thrillers.

Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are also great together. There is a real sense of them bouncing off each other. Part of me wishes they hadn’t got together, as it so hard to find great examples of men and women that are just friends, but it was unstoppable. Such is their chemistry, the episodes where they are apart always feel that little darker, and a little flatter as well.

Of course, there are faults. No matter how much they try, Ryan and Esposito never really gain that third dimension they need to make them interesting. There have also been episodes that have been little more than rip-offs of Liam Neeson films (one was almost a scene-by-scene copy of Taken). When you see how good it can be, seeing it dial it in is a real wrench.

Yet there are also things that are getting better. Firstly, Alexis has developed from precocious brat to savvy intellectual with a backbone. Secondly, the arrival of security consultant Hayley as seen the show perk up somewhat. The Alexis-Hayley dynamic is becoming as endearing as the Castle-Beckett one. Should the show come to an end, the producers could do worse than consider the two of them for a spin-off.

So, yes, although the show is often big, it rarely gets credited with being clever. But it is. Why? Because it knows what the audience wants and delivers it. It is shamelessly what it is. Now I just need to stop feeling shamed about watching it.

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