On the eve of CASTLE hitting its one hundredth episode tonight on ABC (CTV in Canada), theTVaddict.com thought now might be as good as any to share a brief one-on-one with the show’s creator Andrew Marlowe. But just what did the affable showrunner have to say about the status of the series in a post-will-they-or-won’t-they-world, his cast and creative team’s complete and utter lack of award recognition and life after CASTLE? See for yourself, after the jump.
Since this interview is actually taking place during award season, I wanted to start off by first asking you about those pesky little golden statuettes. As someone who has watched some truly fantastic acting by Stana Katic in particular, does it bother you as a creator of a procedural to know that your show has very little chance of ever getting the recognition it deserves?
Andrew Marlowe: Yes and No. When you work in this industry and you see who’s giving the awards and what they’re for, you start to understand the politics of the process. I think in terms of people who are overlooked, Stana [Katic] and Nathan [Fillion] are in really great company with a lot of really great actors. Unfortunately I think it’s going to become harder and harder for the broadcast networks to compete because the shows that are more provocative, sensational and that are going to capture attention and give the press more to write about are on cable like BREAKING BAD, HOMELAND, GAME OF THRONES. That’s not to say what Stana and Nathan are doing isn’t of that calibre, they are turning in really remarkable performances week after week. But our gratification is that fans love the show, we’re on the air and we have great support. Would it be nice to have something bright and shiny on your mantel when you’re feeling low — as we all do in the business — yeah that would be great but it’s also great to be working and having a good time on set so we know know lucky we are.
This season, the show took the audacious step of bringing Castle and Beckett together after four seasons of will-they-or-won’t-they. Looking back on how season five has played out, are you happy with that decision?
To this point, yeah! We always wanted to be honest with this relationship, we always felt there was more storytelling on the other side of two people getting together and there are more mile posts and benchmarks in the future so we’re excited to see this couple achieve those. We know that there are going to be a lot of twists and turns and challenges along the way, some small ones that we like to mine for comedy and some bigger ones that by the end of the season will force the characters to take a hard look at what their life choices are going to be.
One of the things I really appreciate about CASTLE is the amount of time and energy it appears the writers put into the immensely creative cases of the weeks. In terms of writing, what’s easier: The relationship stuff, or coming up with the weeks whodunit!?
The Castle and Beckett stuff is definitely easier to write and find an interesting angle on, but this year, because they’re in a relationship we’re sort of reinventing the wheel which has been a bit challenge. That said, it’s still not as challenging as breaking procedurals! But we know we that we have a responsibility to deliver a really great case to the audience because that’s the string on which the pearls of character are strung on to make something that’s aesthetically pleasing. Without that structure, the other stuff won’t be as meaningful. So yeah, it’s a lot of work, probably 70% of our time versus 30% spent on the personal stories and weaving that in. But if the case doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how bright and shiny and fun the personal stuff is, it just doesn’t play as well.
Let’s talk spinoff! Successful Showrunners like Shonda Rhimes and/or Hart Hanson have a history of leveraging the success of their current show into two or three on a Network. Has there been any thought to moving onto new projects now that CASTLE is running so smoothly?
Being a showrunner is a twenty-four-seven, three hundred and sixty five day a year job, which makes it very difficult to develop new stuff unless you take a step back. So, when the time is appropriate and I know I have good people that I can count on to continue to tell great stories — hopefully with me helping to steer the ship — maybe that’s something we will do. But the fact of the matter is that the TV landscape is changing so quickly now in terms of what works and what doesn’t. We’ve seen a steady ratings decline over the past couple of years in the overnights and the reality is just that while people are consuming content, they’re consuming it over multiple platforms. Right now there is a lot of trepidation in the business. Things have changed a lot since CASTLE first came on the air and it’s been interesting to work in these times and watch people we’ve partnered with over at the studio and the network address those challenges.
And finally, since I can’t let you go without snagging a little bit of scoop, how long until Victoria “Iron” Gates catches onto the reality of Castle and Beckett’s “partnership!”
The stress and strain of keeping Castle and Beckett’s secret from Gates will continue, which we plan on playing up both for serious and comedic effects. That said, I’m sure there is going to be some significant storytelling later in our run because inevitably she is going to find out. But how she is going to react to that, well you’ll have to stay tuned.
New episodes of CASTLE airs Mondays at 10PM on ABC (CTV in Canada) and stars Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan, Molly C. Quinn, Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones, Seamus Dever and Penny Johnson. Catch up with past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv.