Castle Rock follows a small Maine town and its inhabitants as they experience dark and twisted happenings under the influence of horror author Stephen King's concepts and style.
Castle Rock Review (Part 1)
Castle Rock is difficult for me to critique without shamelessly soapboxing a few thoughts on the structure and basis of it all. But, seeing has my heart is ash and my chest cavity is devoid of a beat, I might as well give in to my urges...
Firstly, I am torn in the realm of fan pandering, because Easter eggs in entertainment are essentially that and yet they can be quite a joy to notice or find. On the other hand, it can be a cheap ploy to attract an audience for an easy grab. Castle Rock is, at times, pandering to the Stephen King crowd. But I will openly bow to the overall theme of the show avoiding a hefty chunk. It isn't an overwhelming or patronizing amount and it's relegated to tiny moments. For the most part, Castle Rock does a good job of providing the atmosphere of King's works without blatantly copying, pasting and collaging his ideas into heartless amalgamations of homage.
Secondly, I am growing tired of the "questions upon questions" mystery show concept. Lost was the first major show to present this concept, and for whatever reason a large portion of the United States (myself included) was drawn to the plot that spent more time taking puzzle pieces out than putting puzzle pieces in. Castle Rock doesn't directly follow this model, but its refusal to gradually release information seems to be leading towards a finale that will be compacted with a ridiculous amount of information or an overly disappointing cliffhanger that leaves us wondering whether it was all worth it.
The performances of Castle Rock are fantastic. As far as Stephen King thematic material goes, it's on-par with the better efforts of his adaptations. Like Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and even It, there is a great deal of focus on the cast, characters and writing that allows the undercurrent of fear to sink deeper into the audience.
But inevitably is it enough to deny the soapbox-inducing issues I personally have? I suppose time will tell. It has me hooked enough to carry through this season, but I have my reservations on the end result. It would be a waste of a well-crafted cast to see it fall flat based on its innate concepts and structure it decided to use. But, again, thus far, I await with bated breath...if...you know...I breathed.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Show Quality: 7/10