How to summarize "Franklin and Bash", really? Pretty good show with a bad title that sounds like an '80's cop drama? The whole thing sounds a little like a "Family Guy" riff (they're lawyers - and they don't play by the rules!) - and the series fills a category where there's been such a dry spell: legal dramas.
All kidding aside, the series is a snappy legal drama that leans heavily towards the lighter side. The show stars Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Jared Franklin and Peter Bash, two young lawyers and best friends who are recruited by a giant law firm after they score a win against them in a very high-profile case.
They are recruited by the giant firm of Infield-Davis and senior partner, Stanton Infield (a terrific Malcolm McDowell), who sees something he's fond of in the approach of the two lawyers, who he's been following for some time. They are assisted by the agoraphobic Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani) and ex-con Carmen (Dana Davis).
The first case in the early moments of the first episode is a little bit ripped off from the Sue Ellen Mischke character from "Seinfeld", but the series starts rolling more smoothly from there out. The two have been invited to join the larger law firm in order to shake things up a little bit and bring some fresh energy to the firm. However, they are not welcomed with open arms by everyone: Infeld's nephew, Damien Karp (Reed Diamond), instantly doesn't take well to the freewheeling new duo.
While the top layer of the series offers "Ally McBeal"-meets-Spike TV scenarios (with the two dealing with cases that involve things like a woman who sexed her old billionaire husband to death to a family feud over a baseball to a prostitution case that involves Peter's ex-girlfriend's fiance), the underlying story of office politics is well-handled and gives some weight and a bit of tension to a series that otherwise coasts mostly on fairly light riffs.
The series definitely doesn't try anything new - it's a familiar, testosterone-driven take on "Ally McBeal", but it clicks more often than not thanks to the two leads, who are believable friends and have their timing spot-on. The supporting cast, including Nanjiani, Davis and McDowell, are fun and fit well. I wouldn't go as far as to call the series "memorable" (as cable buddy shows go, I think "Royal Pains" is more satisfying), but it more than qualifies as fun.
• Season 1
1 01/Jun/11 Pilot
2 08/Jun/11 She Came Upstairs to Kill Me
3 15/Jun/11 Jennifer of Troy
4 22/Jun/11 Bro-Bono
5 29/Jun/11 You Can't Take It With You
6 06/Jul/11 Big Fish
7 13/Jul/11 Franklin vs. Bash
8 20/Jul/11 The Bangover
9 27/Jul/11 Bachelor Party
10 03/Aug/11 Go Tell It on the Mountain
VIDEO: Sony Pictures presents the series with a crisp 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Sharpness and detail are not outstanding, but more than pleasing for a TV series. Aside from a couple of slight instances of artifacting, the presentation looked clean, with no issues with the source material or additional problems. Colors looked bright, pure and well-saturated.
SOUND: Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation, although there isn't a great deal for the surrounds to do during this dialogue-driven presentation.
EXTRAS: 3 "Franklin and Bash" TV ads, a gag reel and several featurettes - "Man Cave Tour" (a very funny "Cribs"-style tour of the main set, hosted by the leads, who crack jokes), "Behind the Scenes" (a very brief generic promo), "Franklin and Bash: Friendship" (again, quick), "Creating the Cases" (an enjoyable discussion of the creative process behind creating stories), "Working for Franklin and Bash" (supporting characters), "Malcolm McDowell's Office Tour" (what it sounds like) and "Behind the Behind".
Final Thoughts: I wouldn't go as far as to call "Franklin and Bash" memorable, but the series does have a solid cast and remains breezy and fun. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and a couple of minor extras. Recommended.