Actors usually come in one of a couple different formats. Either they're true stars that shine off the screen no matter what they're in, where you go to see the movie or watch the TV show just because of them.
Then there are the types who successfully blend in to any script and story that they appear in. You may not be going to see the movie because of them, but you know that when you see them, they're going to give you an outstanding performance. They add to the wonder of a movie. Even if the movie or show is bad, you can at least say "this actor was good despite the material."
Then there are those who lie outside of those two boxes, or maybe they straddle both of them. They are a rare breed.
Nathan Fillion is one of these actors.
I first stumbled across Fillion in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog where he played Neil Patrick Harris' nemesis, Captain Hammer. I thought he did fine, but didn't really think anything of it.
Fast forward to V-Con 36 in 2011, which had a large concentration of stuff on Joss Whedon and his many TV shows. I had been hearing so much good stuff about Firefly, but had never bothered to sit down and watch it until I was inundated with Whedon at the convention. The wife and I raced through all of the episodes of the series, and Fillion (who played Captain Mal Reynolds, the lead in the series) was simply outstanding. Yes, Whedon and the other writers gave him some great lines, but Fillion made that show.
I was sort of aware that Fillion was currently starring in a different television series, Castle, but it wasn't really on my radar. We started watching that, and the healthy respect for Fillion that Firefly gave me blossomed into full-blown "damn, this guy is awesome!" feelings.
For those who don't know, Fillion plays Richard Castle, a crime writer who is shadowing a New York detective for his new series of books based on a hot female detective. Detective Kate Beckett is his muse, and he also has the hots for her. Together, along with other cops in the precinct, they solve murders and Castle brings his unique writer's perspective to the solving of the crimes.
The writing is top notch, the cast is excellent, but Fillion is just awesome in the role. His interplay with Beckett (played by the also excellent Stana Katic) is wonderful. He brings a roguish charm to the role that just works brilliantly. I don't know if the series was created for him, but I can't see anybody else playing that role.
We've watched a few episodes of Season 5, but have decided not to watch anymore until we get caught up on the series. We're currently in Season 2, and loving it.
One of my favourite scenes:
Fillion is the ideal Hollywood icon as far as I'm concerned. Not only is he in an excellent series, not only is he brilliant in everything I've seen him in (even his recurring Buffy the Vampire Slayer role in the last season), but he seems to realize what he has. He doesn't let the success get to him.
He's a wonderful person to follow on Twitter because he doesn't get into the morass of politics. I can only remember a small handful of tweets that have had anything to do with politics. As Michael Jordan once supposedly said when refusing to endorse a Democratic candidate, "Republicans buy shoes too." Why alienate half of your fans?
Fillion doesn't do that. He's a fun follow on Twitter. He's an great actor in an outstanding show.