June 22, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Take Two”


TAKE TWO:  Thursday 10PM on ABC

ABC’s TAKE TWO has an unusually classy set of auspices for a summer broadcast series.  Its co-creator is Andrew W. Marlowe, who gave the network its long-running hit Castle (his writing partner on the new show is Terri Edda Miller, a Castle writer/producer and also Mrs. Marlowe), and the stars are TV stalwarts Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian.  On paper, Take Two seems like it could have been in contention for a regular-season slot.

The show’s throwaway nature, though, becomes quickly evident.  Marlowe, for his part, did little more than gender-swap Castle.  This time the eager amateur detective is actress Samantha Swift (Bilson), who latches on to weary, no-nonsense professional Eddie Valetik (Cibrian)–a private eye rather than a cop–initially as research for an upcoming role.  The closest thing to character development is that Sam has career woes due to scandal, and Eddie holds himself responsible for a client’s death several years earlier.  Naturally, by the pilot’s end, Sam has discovered to her delight that her acting experience comes in handy when solving cases, and Eddie has been contrived into bringing her on as a partner.

Bilson unleashes her trademark charm offensive as Sam, and Cibrian, although stuck as the straight man, is appropriately gruff-but-reluctantly-impressed with his new trainee.  That’s about all Take Two has, though:  the pilot plot is rudimentary (the key clue is discovered when Sam reads what’s on the back of a note written by a murder victim), and the visuals from director John Terlesky are as bland as one would expect from a show set in LA but shot in Vancouver (which explains the presence of cast members from Orphan Black and Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce).  Although Eddie’s been given a police detective girlfriend (Aliyah O’Brien), one imagines that eventually a will-they-or-won’t-they will set in for Sam and Eddie, which will require more chemistry than is currently evident between Bilson and Cibrian if it’s to be effective.

Take Two is as unambitious as TV gets, delivered with enough competence to make it adequate visual stimuli while checking one’s phone or running domestic errands.  Nothing about it, though, will be retained in the memory 15 minutes after an episode ends.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."