To answer the question above; no. It's not getting better. The networks still have their collective heads up their butts and from what I've been seeing over the last decade most good television happens as a happy accident. Somehow something with merit and entertainment value slips through their web of corporate need, unrealistic expectations and backwards thinking. The tastes and motives of big corporate television networks have nothing to do with good TV.
Having said that, it's time for a review. This is one of those happy accidents I was talking about. It's a new show called Castle.
Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic star in this hour long television show about a pulp novelist (Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion), who gets paired up with a New York Police Detective (Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic) and together they solve crimes.
Fillion plays the Castle character with great comedic timing and just the right amount of flare as he roams through the first five episodes adding his insights and drawing material from crime scenes and investigations. I love the character and it seems like another perfect fit for Nathan Fillion.
The detective in this series is played very well and at first it seems that it's an easy role. As the series continues (I've seen all 5 episodes so far), we discover that there's a bit more to Kate Beckett and she's not willing to become attatched to, or reveal much of anything personal to her new scribe partner. It's very easy to ham up the hard nosed detective part, and now that I think about it I've seen that role hammed up more often than not. No problems here, Stana Katic does a great job. her character is believable and strong enough to be a good counterpart to Richard Castle.
There are other characters, ranging from the wise daughter to the detective co-workers and though they're somewhat cliche, they're well placed, performed and not over played. The only character I dislike is the zany mother, who I've been seeing on several different television shows recently played by different similar actresses. It's like the networks put the word out that every new hour long drama or comedy must have a zany grandmother.
In short, go watch Castle. If you like detective mysteries and are a little tired of the CSI's and the Law and Orders this should be a nice change. It also stands on its own, so even if you're not into detective shows, give it a shot. It's just different enough.