Light, legal drama 'Franklin & Bash' entertains without straining the brain

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Viewers who liked CBS's "The Defenders" might also be drawn to TNT's "Franklin & Bash," which is basically "The Defenders Junior" with younger actors playing more carefree lead characters.

A light, legal drama, "Franklin & Bash" (9 p.m. Wednesday) is passive entertainment similar to the popular "blue sky" shows on USA ("Fairly Legal," "Royal Pains," etc.)

Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer, "Road Trip") and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, "NYPD Blue") are ambulance chasing defense attorneys -- only they get to the scene before the ambulance.

They're fun-loving dudes who work out of a house with their assistants -- helpful Carmen (Dana Davis) and agoraphobic Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani) -- when they're not quizzing one another on female celebrities they'd like to sleep with or giving one another nicknames ("scrotum face" is used in this week's pilot).


'Franklin & Bash'
  • When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, TNT.
  • Starring: (left to right, above) Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Malcolm McDowell, Breckin Meyer.

"The law was made by rich, white people," Jared says. "Our job is not to follow the law. Our job is to make the law."

They also know how to make a scene. When a press conference about a legal case goes poorly, Jared and Peter start taking swings at one another to distract the media.

Their brash style draws the attention of eccentric, veteran lawyer Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), who hires them to join his well-heeled firm where Jared and Peter clash, predictably, with buttoned-down attorney Damien Karp (Reed Diamond), who is Stanton's nephew.

Mr. Gosselaar and Mr. Meyer are well cast as long-time buddies who aren't afraid to turn legal jargon into sexual double entendres or to go hot tubbin' naked.

Mr. Meyer has always come across as a winning comic actor but his TV track record is littered with on-screen failures ("Inside Schwartz," "Married to the Kellys") and behind-the-scenes successes (voices on "Robot Chicken" and "King of the Hill"). "Franklin & Bash" seems to be a good fit for his skills playing an amiable rule-breaker.

Mr. Gosselaar comes to "Franklin & Bash" from another TNT legal drama, "Raising the Bar," which had loftier pretensions than his latest series.

Viewers who want TV to wash over them as light entertainment may enjoy "Franklin & Bash," but viewers who prefer thought-provoking TV programs that engage on a higher level may not be satisfied.

Never fear, there's a whole summer of original scripted programming coming on cable networks. So, if "Franklin & Bash" leaves a bad taste, wait a week; another new series will premiere shortly.


Rob Owen writes this Sunday TV column for Scripps Howard News Service. Contact him at: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.


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