Television
Jul 5, 2011

FRANKLIN AND BASH – A NICE SUMMER SURPRISE

One of the more enjoyable scripted series running this summer isn’t rooted in deep philosophy or an epic battle between good and evil, but does manage to ponder one of the true questions of the television universe: What would happen if Zack Morris grew up to become a lawyer?  I don’t want to discredit the acting abilities of Mark-Paul Gosselaar, he’s proven himself to be quite talented in the last two decades (NYPD Blue) but his newest role as a lawyer-by-day, party-guy by night is a much lighter, more fun summer diversion.

TNT’s new Franklin & Bash pairs Gosselaar with Breckin Meyer as two rogue, thirtysomething lawyers, loaded with skill, talent, and charm, who take their business from their living room to the corporate board room.  In typical procedural mold, Franklin & Bash take on new cases each episode, with each of them taking point on one while helping out the other.  The tone of the cases is much more humorous and lighthearted, staying away from the kind of dark storylines you would see on a Law & Order spinoff, and have included two sons trying to get their father’s Kirk Gibson World Series home run ball and a divorce case involving a men’s magazine mogul.

When the two characters aren’t at the office, they are partying in their adult frat house, always complete with girls, booze, and an always occupied hot tub. Their antics are so unprofessional that Franklin opted to get drunk in court to win a drunk-driving case, yet it’s a nice change of pace from watching lawyer shows driven by horrible people committing horrible crimes.

Malcolm McDowell also stars as Stanton Infield, the eccentric senior partner who takes a chance on Franklin & Bash, and likes the way their style makes waves in the stuffy corporate environment. Rounding out the cast is Reed Diamond as Damien Karp, Infield’s nephew and the typical all-business foil to Franklin and Bash, Dana Davis and Kumail Nanjiani as ex-con Carmen Phillips, and agoraphobic sci-fi geek Pindar Singh, who work for the pair, and Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon as lawyer/rival Hanna Lindon.

Franklin & Bash isn’t going to win any Emmys, but does fill a nice hole in the scripted TV landscape at a time when pretty much everything on is either dark and serialized or reality.  Think of it as Entourage meets Ed, and check it out this summer on TNT.