TV Pick of the week: Castle

At the end of the previous and third season of Castle, police detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) was shot.

Fearing the worst, Beckett's unofficial partner and official thorn in her side, crime novelist and amateur sleuth Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), finally told Beckett what the show's viewers had known for a while - he loved her.

That's a couple of pretty big cliffhangers there, huh, Mr Fillion?


"I like to say there are certain things you can't take back," Fillion says.

"One of them is 'I love you' and one of them is bullets. And Beckett got both."

Ah, but many a good TV relationship has fizzled out when the people involved have taken it from flirtatious banter to actually hooking up. And Fillion believes the previous seasons of Castle have done a good job of maintaining the pair's unresolved romance.

"You look into what could possibly keep these two people apart, and in the past we've had bad timing, we've had one person or the other blow it," Fillion says. "They're very clever at Castle not to play the same notes over and over again."

Still, Castle and Beckett have a pretty big hurdle to overcome now Castle has declared his feelings. Fillion feels that Castle and Beckett had that spark from day one. "I think that's what started the relationship, that they have an obvious chemistry, but there are things about each other, there are certainly things that Beckett can't stand about Castle and there are things about Beckett that confuse Castle.

"She is really wrapped up in his mother's murder. Castle has never known his father but it doesn't bother him. He doesn't care. I think Beckett takes a lot of things to heart. If Castle does something that upsets her it really aggravates her, whereas I think so many things happen to Castle but he doesn't notice. He doesn't really care. He doesn't really care if he ends up looking stupid, and I love that quality about him."

That flippant kind of charm has made Richard Castle something of a favourite with his fellow Castle characters, as well as the show's viewers, but the introduction of new police captain Victoria "Iron" Gates, played by 24's Penny Johnson Jerald, has thrown a spanner in the works.

"She's a woman who has risen to the rank of captain - that can't have been an easy journey," Fillion says.

"I'm trying to imagine that she's hardened because of everything she's had to face in getting where she is.

"But then you cross that personality with Castle, who is constantly around women and constantly trying to charm them.

"His life is really easy and he charms people, they can't stand it but they love him anyway.

"She, however, will not be charmed by Castle and she won't give him a chance, never mind a chance to be charmed. And he can't take it. 'Why don't you like me? Get to know me'."

And even though Fillion maintains that Castle isn't bothered by his father's absence, there are rumours that before this season is out he may well make an appearance in his son's life. "Because he's never known his father, he doesn't know what he's missing.

"I'd like to know not only who his father is, but what kind of effect it's going to have on him, what that's going to do to him.

"I want to know," Fillion says.

When: 8.30pm, Wednesday
Where: TV One
What: Return of the writer-detective double act

Mini-series pick: Ben Hur

Almost in time for Easter, this remake of the groundbreaking 1959 biblical feature starring Charlton Heston splits the story into two parts, and places more emphasis on the characters and less on the religious aspects.

In two 90-minute episodes it tells the story of Ben Hur (played by Joseph Morgan) and Messala (Stephen Campbell Moore) who grow up together in Roman-occupied Jerusalem until Messala is called for military training. Eight years later they are reunited when Messala returns to Jerusalem as commanding officer of the Roman Garrison.

Ben Hur, now a successful trader betrothed to Esther (Emily VanCamp), is devoted to his faith and the freedom of the Jewish people, and an uprising against Roman rule finds the friends caught on opposite sides of the political divide.

When: Wednesday, 8.30pm
Where: Prime
What: Tele-feature remake of biblical epic

Lifestyle pick: Hearts in Crafts

Kiwis have a reputation for being a crafty bunch, constructing, fixing, and creating an amazing array of practical pieces as well as art. This new TVNZ7 show is all about embracing New Zealand's appetite for craft - meeting some of this country's finest crafters while reflecting on traditional practices as well as contemporary crafts.

From the internationally renowned craft masters, to exuberant hobbyists who can't get enough, to the environmental saviours turning trash to treasure, craft is seeing a great revival and presenters Tamsin Cooper and Justin Newcombe talk to the artists about their motivations and techniques. Cooper (designer of handmade fashion accessories and coats) and Justin (Weekend Life DIY guy) also demonstrate projects anyone can make at home.

When: Saturday, 6.30pm
Where: TVNZ7
What: Stories and inspirations from the arty and crafty

Food pick: MasterChef MasterClass

If after a weekly fix of MasterChef NZ you wish you could upskill your own culinary talents, MasterChef MasterClass might help. MasterClass turns the tables on resident MasterChef judges Josh Emmett, Simon Gault and Ray McVinnie, and makes them prove their own skills in the kitchen.

The judges show contestants and viewers at home how to cook a variety of dishes with step-by-step instructions, professional techniques and special tips for cooking at home.

This week, Australian chef Alla Wolf-Tasker and the MasterChef judges show the contestants how to cook four classic French dishes. Wolf-Tasker, who is the executive chef and co-owner of the acclaimed Lake House restaurant in Victoria, Australia, has made a name for herself as a dedicated advocate of locally grown regional produce and wine.

When: Saturday, 7.30pm
Where: TV One
What: Be a masterchef

Drama pick: Dirk Gently

Based on the books by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently is a three-part series over three nights about an eccentric detective who runs his agency based on holistic philosophies, whose alternative methods for solving crimes more often than not lead to some oddball outcomes.

In the first episode Dirk (played by the Green Wing's Stephen Mangan) is asked to investigate the disappearance of an old lady's cat, and ends up uncovering a double murder.

He also manages to hypnotise his sidekick Richard MacDuffis (Darren Boyd) and persuades him to invest his redundancy money from his last job in the agency. We also meet MacDuffis' girlfriend Dr Susan Harmison (played by Helen Baxendale, Cold Feet) and Dirk's receptionist Janice Pearce, who he hasn't paid in years.

When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 8.30pm
Where: UKTV
What: Holistic detective work