One of the criticisms of my reviews of Doyle has been "you're taking it too seriously. It's a fluffy, fun show. Relax and just watch it and don't be so critical."
Which I'm not entirely sure how you're supposed to do that and be able to review it, but whatever. But here's the thing...I do watch other mindless TV shows. The show that I tend to compare Doyle to is Castle.
Now I know some people go that's unfair because Castle is a major US network show with a massive budget. However, I think it works for the sake of my argument. Castle's central idea is certainly more preposterous. What's sillier - a private detective solving crime in St. John's or a mystery writer teaming up with a hot detective and together they solve murder cases...and have been doing so for four years and managed to not sleep together despite insane chemistry.
Castle wins the silly sweepstakes on that one.
In terms of the look of the show, Doyle win that too. Castle is the generic New York via Hollywood backlot look that's so common on US network shows. At least Doyle looks pretty and has some character.
Castle, obviously has a better pool of actors to draw on, but Doyle still gets some entertaining guest stars. It was nice seeing Andy Jones as grumpy judge last night. I hope they bring him back from time to time. Any occasion to see Andy Jones on TV is a good one.
But the big difference is in the quality of writing, which shouldn't be a surprise considering I've harped on it so much. But let's compare an episode of Castle from earlier the season with the Doyle one last night. They have similar premises in that one of the lead characters is trapped and unable to run around and solve the mystery, meaning other people have to do it. In Castle's case, he's trapped in a bank in the middle of a robbery, meaning Beckett has to try and solve the mystery and deal with the robbers. In Doyle's case, he's stuck on jury duty trying a case where he's convinced the defendant is innocent, but being sequestered it's a little hard to prove things.
Not precisely the same, but close. But the thing with Castle is that it clicks along so effortlessly. There's some real nice tension, some good humour and a decent mystery. Aspects of it are deeply silly, but even after it's over and you start to nitpick a bit, it still holds together fairly well.
Doyle just isn't the same. I mean, I enjoy the show fine, I guess. I knew the premise is silly from the get go (there's no human way Doyle gets on a jury, but whatever), however I'm biting. Try to solve the mystery while stuck in a jury room. Except they never play fair with the premise. Of course he gets to sneak out, wander around, get in a fight and walk down the street in broad daylight with an escaped criminal (having a character point it out as silly does not absolve you, as a writer, of it being a silly thing to do). Of course he gets caught and thrown off the jury, allowing him time to run around and do the big reveal in court.
Castle effortlessly sucks you into the silliness and you go along for the ride. Doyle feels too often like it's trying to punch you in the face with the silliness. And the hangover, when you realize how stupid stuff was after it ends, is fairly brutal. I'm not sure Advil quite covers it.
Doyle is perfectly average mindless fluff, but Castle is top notch mindless fluff. The difference isn't in the budget, the scenery or even the acting. It's the writing. Until Doyle acknowledges that and works to address it, I think it's going to be stuck that way for me, no matter how much I try to turn off my brain.
1. Trojan horse - Bloc Party
2. Sex on fire - Kings of Leon
3. Wonderful - Andy Stochansky
4. I'll wait - Van Halen
5. People got a lotta nerve - Neko Case*