We’re just going to say it: we want to hang with Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar)!
And for those of you who are fans of ABC’s Castle, you will, too. After all, Franklin & Bash may be airing on TNT, the network that “knows drama,” but it is not nearly as dark or serious as Gosselaar’s previous law series from the same network, Raising The Bar. In the same way that Castle takes a budding relationship and sets its pivotal moments on the backdrop of murder mysteries, Franklin & Bash explores two buddies’ fresh-faced approach to life that just happens to be set in the legal field. And though the cases are certainly nothing to dismiss with a wave of the hand (such as a pilot and his airline being sued after passengers get injured in an emergency landing), the show is not out to hold a mirror up to the justice system. Instead, it is there to have a little bit of fun with it, and that is most notable through its lead, titular characters.
The reluctant-to-fully-grow-up lawyers work together in a partnership that always upholds the sanctity of what is right above what will “win,” but they also live together, in a house that certainly reflects the wealth they have acquired in their big boy jobs without losing their more whimsical, always young-at-heart style. They have a banter that proves they are comfortable enough with themselves and their friendship to rip on each other one minute and have each others’ backs the next, and not only do they love to play Wii as a destresser when working on a big case, they also name-drop enough pop culture references to make the characters self-aware without being self-conscious. All in all it’s a recipe for realism. And fun!
When we first meet Franklin and Bash in the pilot of the series of the same name, they (along with two employees) work out of their house and have a bit of an unorthodox approach to courtroom proceedings. But their free-spirited tactics keep things interesting in an otherwise routine profession without ever being too showboaty. It is for that reason– and for the fact that they are good guys who actually want to uphold the standards of true justice– that catches the attention of Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), a senior partner at a firm named half for him. He extends an olive branch to the could-be rivals in the form of a very lucrative job offer, and perhaps a bit surprisingly they trade their tee-shirts and a shared kitchen-table-as-desk for ties and adjacent offices that they plan to renovate into one open space.
But just because they are “suiting up,” so to speak and heading into a high-rise every day doesn’t meant they are changing who they are. In fact they infuse a little bit of life into a stuffy business. Bash still strums his guitar when he needs to take a breather, even if now his view is not just of his living room but actually the city of Los Angeles outside the window of his sleek new law office.
And for all you long-time Gosselaar fans, this time it is actually his voice that sings along, not a third-rate boy band dub like in his Saved by the Bell days!
You won’t be rooting for Franklin and Bash to get together in the traditional television “shipping” sense; they are both straight men and platonic friends, co-workers, and roommates (even if being all three does make them seem a little co-dependent), after all. However, you will certainly find yourself most looking forward to scenes Gosselaar and Meyer share, even if they are just simple walk and talks on the way to the next plot point. The two riff off each other as if they really have been friends for years, and we eagerly anticipate what they’ll say next.
Franklin & Bash may have two characters in its title, and certainly they are the most central, but surrounding them are quite the motley crew of secondary personalities including everyone from a greedy product of nepotism (Reed Diamond) to an agoraphobic assistant (Kumail Nanjiani) and even a lawyer who may come between the two bros due to her attraction to one in particular (Garcelle Beauvais). A lesser show would have trouble juggling all of the quirky personalities, but perhaps a bit surprisingly, they all serve as compliments for each other, leaving us to wonder just where the personal conflict will lie. Sure Bash has an ex he runs into in court and with whom believes he may still have a chance, but so far it is pretty smooth sailing.
But then again very little could probably make these uber-cool guys sweat anyway!
Franklin & Bash premieres on TNT on June 1st at 9pm.
Want more Franklin and Bash news and coverage? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!