Mailbag: “Castle,” “Doc Martin,” Kimmel and more

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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"Castle," a wildly famous mystery novelist, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion, "Desperate Housewives"), who is bored with his own success, learns that a real-world copycat killer has started staging murders from scenes depicted in his novels. Castle is questioned by NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, "The Spirit"), a bright and aggressive detective who keeps her investigations under a tight rein. Though they instantly clash, sparks of another sort also begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance as Castle steps in to help find the killer. Authors James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell guest star as themselves in a poker game. (Eric Liebowitz/ABC)

You have questions, especially about the new TV season. I try to have answers.

Q: Is the excellent program “Castle” returning this fall? If the answer is yes, what night and time?

A: The series starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic will begin a new season on Sept. 23. It is set to air at 10 p.m. Mondays, as it has in the past, although the stretching of lead-in Dancing With the Stars often pushes Castle to 10:01.

Q: Can you please tell me when “Dallas” and “Nashville” will return?

A: ABC drama Nashville will begin its second season on Sept. 25; it’s set for Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern. A new season of Dallas on TNT will begin in 2014, but I have not yet seen a specific date.

Q: Why does Jimmy Kimmel disrespect Matt Damon every night as he closes the show by saying they had to bump Matt Damon — when Matt Damon was never advertised to be on the show?

A: There’s a long history of TV shows having to bump guests because time has run out, usually because an earlier guest went on longer than expected. When he was new and struggling to get big-name guests, Kimmel made a joke about Damon being bumped night after night, and kept it up long after his roster improved. According to Entertainment Weekly’s InsideTV.EW.com, “In 2006, Kimmel finally welcomed Damon onto the show for the first time — only to inform his guest as soon as he sat down that their time was up.”

But Damon has had a friendly relationship with Kimmel and the program. He has appeared in several prerecorded bits for the show, most famously the music video about Kimmel’s then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman having an, um, intimate relationship with Damon. Damon finally made a memorable, extended appearance on the show back in January, when he took over hosting — and brought in an array of big celebrity guests — while Kimmel was bound and gagged onstage.

Q: My friends and I have always enjoyed “Doc Martin” on TV. Will it return? Will it pick up where it left off so suddenly? We love all the characters, the village, the setting, the actors, all of it. We hope and pray for its return.

A: The British series starring Martin Clunes, airing on public-TV stations in this country, has completed a sixth season that will begin airing overseas on Monday. However, American Public Television, which distributes the show on these shores, said the new episodes are set for U.S. telecast in February 2014. Try to avoid online spoilers before then. APT will also offer a behind-the-scenes special, Doc Martin Revealed, in December, so keep an eye out for that in your local listings.

Here’s a plot teaser from the TV Wise website: “Portwenn is buzzing with arrangements for the wedding of the Doc and Louisa. Will they finally tie the knot, or will the villagers have to put the confetti back in the box again?”

Q: I have never seen reruns of the 1960 show “Surfside 6” about detectives in Miami Beach. That was my favorite show when I was a teenager! I would like to buy the DVDs if they exist.

A: I remember reruns when I was young but have not seen any in many years. I did not see it listed on a streaming video site, nor did I find an authorized release on DVD. While there’s a little bit of it on YouTube, for the most part it seems to have become a TV footnote.

But an interesting footnote. As The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows observes, after the success of 77 Sunset Strip (1958-64), a show about cool private eyes in Hollywood, the Warner Bros. studio and ABC network tried to come up with similar, sometimes overlapping shows. (The network and studio did the same thing with westerns.)

One of the post-77 shows was Hawaiian Eye (1959-63), about cool private detectives in Hawaii. Another, Bourbon Street Beat (1959-60) was set in New Orleans. When Bourbon Street Beat failed, the ABC/Warner brain trust moved one of its detectives, played by Richard Long, to 77 Sunset Strip and another, played by Van Williams, to new show Surfside 6. That series was set — as the theme song said — in Miami Beach. The private eyes were played by Williams, Troy Donahue and Lee Patterson; the cast also included Diane McBain and Margarita Sierra. The show ran from 1960 to 1962; when it ended, the casting merry-go-round continued when Donahue moved on to Hawaiian Eye. But at least he played a different character.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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