Take "Moonlighting," thrown in some "Bones" and a dash of "Murder She Wrote" and you pretty much have ABC's "Castle," which debuts tonight at 10 p.m.
Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is the most famous mystery writer in America. A boozy ladies' man, he has become with the main character of his best-sellers and killed him off. Seemingly with no direction, Fate intervenes by introducing a serial killer who is using Caste's books as the models for his crime.
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Castle meets Kate (Stana Katic), the NYPD's lead detective with supermodel good looks (naturally). Suddenly, Castle has inspiration and Kate is stuck with a new partner as Castle makes himself a consultant for the case.
Preposterous? Sure, but no more so than "Bones," in which a research scientist goes out on cases and interrogates suspects with an FBI agent every week. The mysteries aren't all that deep on "Castle," but the chemistry between Fillion and Katic, plus Fillion's rakish charm, makes it all sort of work.
"Castle" isn't going to make anyone forget "NYPD Blue" or "Law & Order" when it comes to NY-based cop shows, but that's not really its intent. As an hour of silly fun, it works pretty well, and having the new edition of "Dancing With The Stars" serving as its lead-in can only help it.
MONDAY'S BEST BETS: OK, so we had to wait until March for sweeps to get going, but at least everything is pretty much all-new tonight.
The "House" (Fox, 8 p.m.) team encounters a patient (Jay Karnes of "The Shield") just as annoying as House, while terrorists hold the President hostage on "24" at 9 p.m.
Sylar explores his daddy issues on "Heroes" (NBC, 9 p.m.), which follows a new "Chuck" and precedes a new "Medium."
Laura Prepon of "That 70s Show" begins a multi-episode stint on "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 8:30 p.m.) as Ted's old girlfriend. Is she the future Mother? I guess we will see. It anchors a new night of CBS sitcoms and a new "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 10 p.m.)
"Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" are new on the CW, beginning at 8 p.m.
On cable, there are new episodes of "The Closer" and "Saving Grace," beginning at 9 p.m. on TNT.