TAKE TWO – “Episode 101” – ABC’s “Take Two,” the network’s newest procedural crime series starring Rachel Bilson (“Hart of Dixie,” “Nashville”) and Eddie Cibrian (“CSI: Miami,” “Rosewood”), is set to premiere THURSDAY, JUNE 21, at 10 p.m. EDT, on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/David Bukach) RACHEL BILSON, EDDIE CIBRIAN

Take Two: 5 Reasons We’re Already Hooked (And Hope You Will Be, Too)

One of our writers mentioned Take Two in our summer tv roundtable; but at the time, we didn’t have much to go by other than “created by Terri Edda Miller and Andrew” Marlowe — affectionately called “MilMar” by fans of their previous series, Castle. Now that ABC has released screeners of the first two episodes, we have a little bit more to go by than, “well, MilMar did it, so obviously.” Without giving too much away — we want you to watch and enjoy for yourselves, after all — we present to you the reasons why Take Two is definitely going to be a must-watch series on our summer schedules.

It feels like Castle in all the best ways. I’m usually not one to want to watch a series that’s exactly like a recently-deceased one, but there’s just something about the way Miller and Marlowe blend lightheartedness with the procedural format that just works. It’s because of this that, after some time without Marlowe running Castle in its seventh and eighth seasons, and after a couple of seasons of no series at all, Take Two feels like coming home after a long — not to mention disastrous — journey. The faces are different and the setup is tweaked, but that probably won’t stop fans of MilMar’s first project from getting hooked on their latest.

I know I did.

…which brings me to my next point.

Chemistry: Take Two stars Eddie Cibrian and Rachel Bilson have it. Sound familiar? There’s a scene in the series’ second episode that, if it doesn’t spawn smutty fan fiction, it will be a seriously missed opportunity. Cibrian is downright dreamy — and in amazing shape, unlike some other on-screen private investigator types — so I’d imagine it’d be difficult not to have chemistry with him.

Miller and Marlowe waited four seasons to get Caskett together: Here’s hoping Sam Swift and Eddie Valetik take more of a cue from Timeless‘ Lyatt…just without the NotDead!Wife drama.

And while we’re on the subject of shipping, what are we going to call these two? Swiftik? Valeswift? Help me out here, people.

For all of the similarities to Castle, there’s still something fresh about Take Two. So, don’t worry, TV lovers: You’re not watching exactly the same show (thank God, given what Castle‘s last couple of seasons looked like). Bilson’s character, in particular, has skills that Richard Castle just never did. Be prepared for some bits in which Sam Swift puts her (former?) career to hilarious use in solving cases. If, like me, you’re initially too busy ogling her co-star to pay much attention to anything else, Bilson will snatch your focus back when she gets to show what “Sam” does best.

If we’re sticking with Castle comparisons here, try to think about gender-swapping so that Rick is now a woman…and has also, in some ways, taken on his mother’s role(s). Chew on that for a bit.

A brother-sestra appears. First off, if you don’t know what I mean by “brother-sestra,” step away from the universe until you’ve seen (and loved) Orphan Black.

Ok. Now that that’s out of the way.

I somehow missed the memo that Jordan Gavaris was set to appear here, so imagine my shock (and screaming at the television) when he popped up. I’ve dubbed him “Male Lanie,” which isn’t quite accurate, but who cares? It’s strange seeing Gavaris as anyone other than Felix Dawkins, but it’s also just plain exciting to see what he can do in another role. I truly hope his character makes many, many appearances in the (I’m demanding them!) seasons to come.

And yeah, I already mentioned this in the intro, but giving this series a shot because it’s MilMar’s take two is totally valid. Castle didn’t deserve to go out on such an abysmal low, and Miller and Marlowe have already proven themselves to be smart, creative writers, who are actually supportive and respectful of their viewers. Let’s give them the chance to tell the type of story they clearly love because honestly, where there’s that kind of devotion, only good things can happen. I trust them to do with Take Two what they did with their last series; and given that pretty much all of my gripes with Castle came after Marlowe stepped down as showrunner, that tells me all I need to know.

As the old saying goes, “in Marlowe we trust.” But maybe, in 2018, we should update that one a bit to include both parts of this dynamic duo: In MilMar we trust.

…because, after all, don’t we?

Take Two premieres on Thursday, June 21, at 10/9c on ABC.

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