The news is all bad. Life in America is overwhelming. And the average global temperature is getting higher, so going outside in the summer can be dangerous. It's understandable if you just want to stay inside in the air conditioning and watch TV. But now every show is a byzantine cable drama you have to take notes on in order to follow or a reboot of a thing you didn't care about the first time or it's lit so damn dark you can't even tell what's going on. There are hundreds of scripted shows, but ones that are just entertaining for the sake of being entertaining are few and far between.
Enter Take Two, a light crime procedural that's here to give you some pretty people to look at, some quips to chuckle at and a mystery to solve in a tidy 43 minutes. Nothing more, nothing less. It's weird that something so familiar and formulaic can feel like a breath of fresh air, but here we are.
The ABC comedy-drama stars The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson as Sam Swift, an actress who's trying to pull her life out of a tailspin. She got dumped by her fiancé on the red carpet the same week her show Hot Suspect got canceled, which sent her into a Britney Spears-esque meltdown that forced her into rehab to avoid jail time. As the show starts, she's 60 days sober and looking to get back to work to prove that she's the still the woman who showed up for 15 hour days every day for eight years and not the woman who set her ex's bed on fire.
The only role available to her is a movie in which she'd play a private investigator, and she's determined to be the best onscreen P.I. since Humphrey Bogart. Fortunately, her manager's ex Eddie (Eddie Cibrian, a very handsome man who's known more for his colorful personal life than his acting) is a P.I., and he owes her a favor. Plus, his business is struggling and he needs the money (rent in his beautiful exposed brick office loft that randomly has a vintage motorcycle parked in the middle of it can't be cheap), so he agrees to take her on a ride-along as he works a case.
The last thing Eddie wants to do is babysit a spoiled star, but it turns out after eight years of playing a cop, Sam's picked up some investigative skills. She's very good at reading people's subtle emotional cues, and she knows about powder burns and stuff. They make a good odd couple partnership. As the show goes on, they'll solve a case each week as they fall for each other.
The show was created by Castle's husband-and-wife team of Terri Edda Miller and Andrew W. Marlowe, who are operating in a similar vein as that long-running cop-and-not-cop procedural. It hits the beats of banter and mild peril you want from a show like this.
Bilson and Cibrian have great chemistry, and Bilson in particular gives an immensely likable performance. She's funny and sexy and is obviously having a great time playing a character who doesn't take herself too seriously.
Is it a great show? Not at all. It's cliched and preposterous and the cases tend to have one plot point too many. Is it a breezy and diverting way to take your mind off the endless parade of horrors that your local ABC station's news report will show you after Take Two's credits roll? Yes. And that's all it needs to do.
Take Two premieres Thursday, June 21 at 10/9c.