You may or may not be familiar with Castle, ABC’s latest procedural cop show. Castle stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, a rock star mystery writer who has been (via some rather stretchy but unimportant plot points) allowed to hang out with unfeasibly sexy Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. Together, they solve crimes and pretend like they totally wouldn’t tap that, given sufficient opportunity. It’s a surprisingly fun show, despite the ridiculous premise and sometimes uninspired mysteries. What really carries the show is Fillion. The guy has a natural charm that really shines through the character. He’s a delight to watch, regardless of what he’s doing. He’s awesome in everything I’ve seen him in, from his brief appearance in Saving Private Ryan (a part I remembered well even before I realized who’d played the role) to Firefly and Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog. He exhudes charisma. If he’s in something, odds are I’ll watch it.
In the episode coming up this Monday, Castle will be dressing as Captain Reynolds for Halloween, and namedrops Buffy. Clearly, these people know what they’re doing.
The previews I’ve seen for the new V with Morena Baccarin give me a similar nerd boner.
What this all makes me think of is how important loyalty is for writers. Not just loyalty to us as writers, but loyalty to our characters. How many terrible James Bond movies have we suffered through, just waiting for the one where someone will come along and get it right? How did the last Indiana Jones movie make so much money despite it being one of the worst movies released last year? Star Wars books sell like crazy because people love the universe so much even if the writing’s not great.
How many crappy issues of X-Men did I buy before I finally gave up on that whole franchise? The internet is full of comic book fanboys complaining about this or that plot in their favorite series, but they are still buying the books. I’m sure this is confusing to publishers, who probably get tons of hate mail but watch their sales numbers go up anyway.
The lesson to learn is that character and reader loyalty frequently trumps quality. It’s a pretty compelling arguement not to skimp on character development when you’re creating those heroes you may want to re-use in the future.
Just be careful, because even the most die-hard fans have breaking points.
[This is where I was about to also upload a picture of Jar Jar Binks, but I couldn’t stand to have both him and Morena on the same page at once. You will have to use your imagination!]