Season 1 Air Date: June 21st – September 13th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Take Two (Season 1)
Starring: Rachel Bilson, Eddie Cibrian, Xavier de Guzman, Aliyah O’Brien, Alice Lee, Jordan Gavaris
Oh Andrew Marlowe, what have you done? You’ve gone and created a Castle clone, and expected the show to just do well, on the basis that Castle did. You’ve gone ahead and filled up Take Two with Castle-like similarities and minimal characterisation, and you’ve also decided to air Take Two in the summer.
Yes, this is the time where it’s light on competition on broadcast networks, but it’s also the time when families are away on extended holiday breaks or at music festivals- long and short of it is that they’re not at their TV. As much as Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian make the best of a ‘bad’ situation (their acting is basically what keeps me interested in the show!), the fact was that as the episodes progressed, Take Two felt more and more Castle-like, in tone and in the quality of the cases and in the fact that Sam and Eddie were being ‘forced’ together in a romantic sense perhaps way earlier than needed to be. Though in my opinion the show was overall enjoyable and solid; there was sadly nothing that unique and ‘wow’ about it, and perhaps the reason why viewers were small week after week was due to the fact that the solving of the somewhat predictable cases was in the front and centre, as opposed to character relationships and character growth. So…Andrew Marlowe, I don’t know how or why you concluded that Take Two would do better in the summer than the fall; but I’m not expecting Take Two to come back for season 2. Does that mean that all of you viewers at home should watch the show if you haven’t already?
If you don’t know what Take Two is all about, you can read the backstory of the show in my review of the pilot I posted a few months back, or you can even read up on some spoilers from the show on sites like Spoiler TV and TV Line. While I highlighted back in that review that I enjoyed the pilot episode, throughout the rest of the time, to be honest I haven’t been enjoying the show as much as I would have liked. It’s a frustrating thing, as both Eddie Cibrian and Rachel Bilson play their characters flawlessly- and it’s the playful banter and interaction between Eddie and Sam that makes the show what it is. However if you think about the rest of the supporting characters across the season, there’s isn’t really much growth there. Eddie’s tech support guy Berto is as smart as most tech guys on TV shows are (although not as smart as Cisco on The Flash!) however we don’t know much about him and his past- with his dialogue being limited to technobabble when he is trying to explain something to Sam and Eddie that goes over their heads. Same goes with Sam’s assistant Monica. Introduced in episode 2, she reiterates time and time again that she’s a psych student- listing that reason as the only reason why she’s smart and is able to recite psychoanalytical-babble to Berto, Eddie and Sam, when that information also goes over their heads. While the police is featured in the entire season only once or two every 2-3 episodes. And that really isn’t enough considering that after every case or even during every case, you’d think that Eddie would keep Detective Christine Rollins informed given their ‘close’ bond (although I do have to admit the episode about Christine’s brother was one of the better ones!).
I reckon a good way to judge as to whether a series is just an enjoyable summer series that acts as a stop gap until something more intriguing or resounding comes along, or in fact is as breathtaking and as impacting as it is hyped up to be; is whether the characters are the same at the end of the season/series compared with the start. If they’re a hot mess and are destructive to others and themselves at the start of the season, a good show would have this character have an epiphany and by the end of the season be kind and being a better version of themselves than before. Yet when I’m analysing the core characters here- I’d have to say only Sam and Eddie have been evidently outwardly changed by their partnership as private investigators. I’m not sure why the supporting characters are one-note here- and it’s a shame because all of the actors have indeed tried their hardest- but it is what it is. I think that in trying too hard for the show to recapture all of the former glory of Castle, the end result is that it’s fallen on its face, because it hasn’t forged its own identity. Harsh, yes I know, but this is only my opinion, and it’s ok if none of you agree with me.
That’s definitely not to say that I hate Take Two. No, not by any means. It’s a funny, relaxing show that you can watch and thoroughly enjoy. But what sets apart the good shows from the great shows is that a good show entertains, but a great show alters the status quo, asks a ton of questions and confronts head on with relevant issues we all grapple and wrestle with. Take Two isn’t that show unfortunately. The cases in this series are enjoyable (particularly the UFO episode, the hitman episode and the child actor episode) yet on the whole the show isn’t as gripping and engaging as I would have liked. It’s not a reflection on the actors, nor even on Andrew Marlowe the creator (even though I voiced my ‘frustrations’ to him earlier in this ‘review’). It’s just that this show was on at the wrong time, and there probably wasn’t anything that could’ve been done to save it. Whack it on in the fall, and perhaps Take Two might’ve debuted to amazing numbers. But as it is now, all of us are unsure as to whether there will be a season 2 or not. Mind you Take Two still could be renewed, but I say it’s a long shot.
So, should you all watch a show that is seemingly dead on arrival, no matter how charming and likable the co-leads are? Well that depends on how much you like Rachel’s and Eddie’s acting… I’m not going to persuade you either way, but if you like me and prefer much more deep and meaningful material, then Take Two isn’t for you. But if you are a sucker for simple crime shows where the killer is revealed in the first minute or so, and you guess it straight away; then go right ahead. As for me and the rest of us- we can watch Take Two at a later date this year or next year just in case we think that the show would instantly become a personal highlight, and instead binge on new shows like Manifest, A Million Little Things and God Friended Me. Oh, and also wait for the CW Arrowverse shows as well!
RIYL: King And Maxwell, Rookie Blue, Castle, The Mentalist, Lethal Weapon, Elementary, Psych
Rating: 4/5 (based on 13 episodes)
Take Two Season 1 aired every Thursday at 8/7c on ABC. The DVD of season 1 hasn’t released yet and we are still waiting on news of a potential season 2 (or a word of cancellation!)