Maybe it’s the strength of Nathan Fillion’s performance of “Richard Castle,” or maybe it’s the scope and skill from the writers of “Castle,” but the writer at the centre of prime-time procedural “Castle” has such a distinct character voice, with such a richly detailed backstory, that it almost seems effortless to create a believable website for this character.
RichardCastle.net is the official homepage for Richard Castle, a long-time author who has found inspirado shadowing a foxy NYPD cop. His site contains a blog which sees the writer reflecting on each week’s case, from lessons he’s learned, to sharing easter eggs such as wedding programs and other photos. The rest of the site includes a self-written bio, a Q&A, and a complete listing of his books, including the “out of print” editions that may not have covers (yet), but live on in proper “Castle” chronology.
I love that the site also links out to Richard Castle’s Hyperion books author page (which to their credit, doesn’t break the conceit) as well as his Twitter and Facebook profile. But the best part of the whole thing is that they keep Castle’s voice consistent and active through every page, so you really feel like this is his site, and that he would say/write all of these things.
And now, after reading Frank Rose’s “Art of Illusion,” I also appreciate one aspect of “Castle” that has made the show such a true transmedia hit; The world of “Castle” is richly detailed with a very specific mythology and well thought out, which makes world-extension natural and satisfying from a fan perspective. On the surface, “Castle” is another buddy-cop police procedural with a will-they-or-won’t-they storyline at the heart of it. The NYPD cops themselves don’t have too rich of a world of their own (besides New York city itself), they function just as players in solving weekly mysteries, but Castle… Castle is the perfect vessel for multi-platform storytelling.
It comes down to details… and with TV, we can get those details episodically, morsel by morsel, because it’s not constrained by running time like films. And as those details come out, mythology is built… and it’s up to the creators of these shows to have at least some idea of what these details mean, or else it just adds up to one big shaggy dog story, ala “Lost” or “Prison Break.”
But Castle, as a man with many passions, experiences, friends in low places, high places, memories, talents, and a career, becomes a larger-than-life foil that can’t be contained through the episodic broadcast alone! And because he has all these things, he can name drop something without having to explain it in a big way, and that allows fans to imagine what that thing he named could be. A good example are the old book titles… he doesn’t go into what each old book was about, but fans can imagine. Then, a site like RichardCastle.net takes it that much further by creating a chronology and synopsis for all these Castle titles, allowing fans to go beyond “What’s it about,” to “What could happen”? In my opinion, this is when TV sites work best, and I love “Castle” and all the platforms they branch out to in order to bring one of the best characters on TV today to life.