Take Two (Pilot)

ABC

Season 1 Premiere Air Date: June 23rd 2018

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Take Two (Take Two)

Starring: Rachel Bilson, Eddie Cibrian, Xavier de Guzman, Aliyah O’Brien, Alice Lee, Jordan Gavaris

A couple of years ago when Castle, which ran for 8 seasons, was cancelled (amid controversy, as a potential ninth season wouldn’t have included Stana Katic nor Tamala Jones, who played Kate Beckett and Lanie Parrish respectively), everyone was in uproar. Not because they thought that the show should have been renewed even without two of its biggest stars, but because the last few months of renegotiations between actors, their managers and the network, for probably the biggest pay-check; was so messy, drawn out and made to be more complicated than it needed to be- so much so that some viewers probably can’t even watch Castle now without being reminded about its unexpected demise that soured the whole tone of the entire series.

While I myself was a bit perplexed as to why the creators of castle would want to go ahead with a Beckett-less Castle, I guess it was probably for the best that the show was cancelled. For me my favourite seasons were around 3, 4 and 5, and later on, I could tell that the actors were tired. Dare I say, I wouldn’t put it past some of them if they were phoning in their performances. Now, two years later, here we are again. This time with an on-the-surface Castle replacement. This summer (or winter, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere!), ABC have premiered the breezy, heartwarming, fun, bouncy, cheerful and inspiring new drama show Take Two, from the creators of Castle– set in Los Angeles (but filmed in Vancouver, Canada). Starring Rachel Bilson (The O.C., Hart Of Dixie) and Eddie Cibrian (CSI Miami, Rosewood), you may be forgiven if you thought that this was a gender-swapped Castle. But while this show does give me vibes of Castle prior to Castle and Beckett becoming romantically involved (around season 2-ish), I reckon there’s more to this story then just a seemingly recycled idea. There’s something that hooks me in, and has me eagerly anticipating the next episode. So, are you wondering why I think this show is one of the shows that you must see over the next few months? Let me give you a quick brief synopsis of the show and my thoughts so far.

Rachel Bilson stars as Sam Swift, a former hit TV actress of the long-standing popular show “Hot Suspect” (which is ironically a show within the TV universe of Castle). When her show was cancelled and her fiancé dumped her all on the same day, an episode of humiliation, inebriation and drunken behaviour resulted in a stint at rehab. Following which- not many agencies would go near her with a ten-foot pole, according to her assistant and agent Sydney, brilliantly played by Heather Doerkson, with plenty of sarcasm, dead pan and sass. But as luck may have it, Sydney knows of a company that wants Sam to play the part of a private investigator on a new TV show, and Sydney also knows of a guy that she can shadow around to learn from. That person in question being Eddie Valetik (played by Eddie Cibrian).

The moment Sam and Eddie meet, sparks fly. No, not the romantic, love at first sight kind, but the heads butting, opposite ideas meshing together, bickering, bantering kind. The kind that networks love to delve deep into, and tease the audience with a ‘will they, won’t they’ potential relationship, that stretches may beyond what viewers can seem as believable. But as this is the pilot, and Eddie and Sam have to meet for plot purposes, let’s pretend that the fact that Eddie actually allows Sam to ride along with him, no questions asked, and allows her to take control and ask questions in the middle of questioning a suspect, or witnesses to a kidnapping/murder case; is actually ok and common practice. While we are suspending our disbelief, and once we realise that this is Hollywood, and we can look past the cliché-ness of some of the phrases uttered by Eddie and Sam as they ‘argue’ back and forth on the mechanics of how to solve a case (with Sam promising the father of the victim that they would find his daughter, no matter what, and Eddie reluctantly tagging along- as both their ways of solving cases is quite different!), we can see Take Two for what it really is- a fun summer show that doesn’t need to be that believable to be fun and enjoyable, which it definitely is in my opinion.

Not perfect by any means- as there are some parts where the relationship between Sam and Eddie seems like Castle and Beckett, I reckon this show is worth it alone to see Rachel back on TV (acting-wise she was exquisitely brilliant as the uptight, all-work-and-no-play Dr Zoe Hart way back in 2011). But though the bubbly and fun Sam Swift couldn’t be further from Zoe in terms of personality, it’s great to see Rachel back doing what she loves; and showing the world how great of an actress she is. To be honest, I’m not sure who Eddie Cibrian actually is- sorry CSI fans!- but he is solid here. Nothing spectacular, sad to say, however Rachel Bilson in my opinion carries the show by herself, and boy does she carry it far! And though I can see how Take Two could sound very generic and boring, I guess with cop shows where a novice and a veteran are paired together, you’re going to get similar themes and similar plot points; and that’s just the way it is. Think about it- just dwell upon Riggs and Murtagh (Lethal Weapon); Holmes and Watson (Elementary); Shawn and Gus (Psych); and Jane and Lisbon (The Mentalist)!

Though this week’s case of the week is very predictable (which is fine, as it isn’t really the case that I’m interested in, but rather the complexities in each of the characters, namely Sam and Eddie, that capture my attention!), it is the ending (which I won’t spoil, but you may all probably know from maybe watching the show yourself, or from other reviews you may have read!) that sets things up quite nicely with Eddie having a nemesis of sorts, and a powerful one at that. In the last few seconds as well, the PI firm gains a lot of new clients, each one of them wanting help from Eddie and Sam, giving Sam more of a reason to tag along and help with Eddie’s cases, considering that the PI TV series Sam was going for fell through in the middle of this episode.

With the supporting actors all chipping in and adding to the overall immense enjoyability of the show in my opinion (with Jordan Gavaris from Orphan Black playing the quirky, big-kid-at-heart medical examiner, and Aliyah O’Brien from Rookie Blue as the no nonsense by the book chief detective that Eddie liaises with, both professionally and romantically!); Take Two is summer fun that isn’t that difficult to watch and not enjoy. It’s not at Castle status yet (after all, that show has had 8 seasons, and why would you want to compare it to a show of just one episode!), however if you compare the Take Two pilot to maybe the Castle pilot in 2009, perhaps it’s on par. There’s not really much competition in the summer for shows, so hopefully Take Two goes far. Though judging from the ratings of the first episode, maybe a season 2 renewal is just me wishfully thinking.

But even the show does tank, and this is just a 1 season wonder, I’ll still watch til the end, as this to me is a drama that resonates with me, as probably will with all of us. We all don’t like to see the bad guys win, so with cop shows, the good guys defeat the bad guys almost all of the time. Though in real life, it doesn’t work that way, it’s nice to see justice being served. Maybe I’m just projecting my inner thoughts on ‘freeloaders’ at our café sitting and not buying anything, and how they should receive justice, to a show about a PI working outside the law to bring justice to his clients; but whatever the case, Take Two is an hour of drama, of fun and of escapism that allows us to be on the journey outside the law with Eddie and Sam.

Did the 1st episode of season 1 of Take Two leave a lasting impression on you? Did any themes in the episode speak to you, and which was it? What elements of the show are you enjoying and looking forward to? Do you think Sam and Eddie will be romantically involved? Will the mayor turn up again? Do you think Jordan Gavaris, who plays Mick the medical examiner, should be made a series regular? Who wants to know more about Eddie’s secret past from a few years back, that most likely influenced why he’s jaded in the present? What about friends and family from Sam’s life- do you think we are going to meet them this season?

Will you be tuning in next week when Season 1 continues? Let us know in the comments.

RIYL: King And Maxwell, Rookie Blue, Castle, The Mentalist, Lethal Weapon, Elementary, Psych

Rating: 4/5 (based on 1 episode)

Take Two Season 1 airs every Thursday at 10/9c on ABC.

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