Franklin & Bash Review: TNT's New Drama Merges Humor, A Bromance And The Law

By Kelly West 2011-05-31 20:33:53 discussion comments
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Once upon a time Mark-Paul Gosselaar starred in a TNT drama series about a bunch of lawyers. While Raising The Bar didnít last, I have higher hopes for Franklin & Bash, next attempt at a TNT legal drama, and not just because Gosselaarís hair situation is much better this time around.

The last time I saw Mark-Paul Gosselaar in anything, he was setting the mental image I have of Saved By the Bellís Zack Morris on fire by throwing Nancy Botwin up against a bar in an episode of Weeds. I think there mightíve been a belt involved. With that said, itís safe to say that Gosselaarís grown up and fully capable of taking on serious roles. The same should be said for Breckin Meyer, whom many will remember as the stoner from Clueless or the slightly more clear minded lead character in Road Trip.

I donít really want to call Franklin & Bash a legal drama. In truth, itís more of a bromantic legal dramedy (letís hear it for word-merging). The series follows Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), two well-meaning and motivated attorneys with a tendency to use quirky (read: gimmicky) methods to win their cases. In the pilot episode, the two men join up with Infeld & Daniels, a big-wig law firm in need of some fresh blood (young lawyers with creative methods).

While Franklin is motivated to do good and steer clear of his fatherís shadow, Bash is more egotistical. Both are courageous and eager to succeed and they work well together doing it. In fact, itís the on-screen chemistry between Meyer and Gosselaar that Iíd consider one of the most appealing factors in this new series.

Malcolm McDowell adds to the cast appeal, playing Stanton Infeld, senior partner at the firm and a somewhat eccentric, flexible boss in addition to being an excellent attorney. Less flexible is Damian Karp (Reed Diamond), an ambitious attorney who doesnít share Infeldís appreciation for Franklin and Bashís easy-going nature and unorthodox courtroom behavior. Garcell Beauvais plays Hannah Linden, another excellent attorney at the firm. Finally, thereís Carmen (Dana Davis) and Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani) Jared and Peterís legal aids.

If a realistic and gritty portrayal of the legal system in action is what youíre looking for, you wonít find it on Franklin & Bash. I donít consider that a criticism as Iím willing to shelve what basic knowledge I have of the kind of behavior and tactics that would fly in an actual court room, for the sake of entertainment. If youíre familiar with Lifetimeís Drop Dead Diva, thatís probably the closest current TV series that compares to Franklin & Bash in terms of the courtroom side. In one episode, an average looking girl wants to sue her company because she believes she was fired for being too beautiful. Franklin and Bash are set to the task of investigating the matter and trying to find a way to win their clientís case, despite being dubious of her claims.

Franklin & Bash is a great show for the summer time. Itís light, fun and doesnít appear to require regular viewing in order to follow or enjoy. I watched four episodes and with the exception of the pilot, I feel fairly certain that I couldíve skipped one or two or watched them out of order and still been able to enjoy each episode on its own. This new TNT series isnít delving into new territory as far as the premise or even the characters, nor do I think it's trying to take the law that seriously, however Meyer and Gosselaar are a great on-screen team, the writing is sharp, with genuine laugh-out-loud moments laced throughout and interesting cases being examined and played out in each episode.

Franklin & Bash premieres Wednesday, June 1st at 9/8c on TNT.
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