Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pilot Review: Franklin & Bash

Franklin & Bash (TNT)
Premiered June 1 at 9pm

Summer TV on TNT is always tricky. Sometimes, you luck out with fare like “The Closer,” which is entering its seventh season and has already been commissioned for a spinoff series to follow. Then, you have poor excuses for television like the preposterous legal drama “Raising the Bar.” In the middle, you have stuff like “Trust Me,” an utterly forgettable dramatic buddy comedy. That’s a perfect show to look at alongside “Franklin & Bash,” though TNT’s newest series is admittedly far more ridiculous. It’s not as bad as something like CBS’ recently cancelled “The Defenders,” but is anyone expected to take this show seriously? To be fair, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its clever moments. As silly as they are, both Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer aren’t nearly as grating and over-the-top in all that they do as someone like, say, Jerry O’Connell. That means that they might be believable as people, even if they’re not overly compelling as lawyers. Still, most of their antics are straight out of the lawyer comedy playbook, which only makes them half as entertaining. Neither of them is particularly funny, but fortunately there are some decent supporting players in the cast. I couldn’t place Dana Davis, who plays Carmen, only to discover that she was on “Heroes” as Monica. This is a much better part for her. Reed Diamond plays seedy well, and Malcolm McDowell can be great without even trying. I’m always happy to see an “Eyes” alumna back on TV, and I’m hopeful that Garcelle Beauvais-Nixon’s character here is just as complicated as her former role. It’s also nice to see Alexandra Holden, better known as Ross’ young girlfriend Elizabeth on “Friends,” in a more mature role, and Mircea Monroe from “Episodes” on duty as DeeDee. Even with a fun cast, this show isn’t terribly original, and it’s hard to get through an episode without multiple rolls of the eyes. In a slow-starting summer like this, I’ll probably stick around for a few weeks, but doubtful for much longer.

How will it work as a series? Law shows are perhaps the most omnipresent on television, and TNT sure likes procedurals, especially ones they can run during the summer. What’s unfortunate about this otherwise creative show, however, is that it insists on having plotlines like Bash being able to look into his ex-girlfriend’s eyes and tell that she still loves him while they work together each episode. That’s going to get tiring fast, and this show’s antics might as well.
How long will it last? TNT likes to do good by their shows, and even the much-inferior Gosselaar-starring “Raising the Bar” lasted two full seasons. I’d expect that TNT wants to keep this show around for a while, and though it won’t live out a long, healthy life, a second season sometime soon probably wouldn’t be out of the question.

Pilot grade: C+

No comments: