I seldom write about television, because anybody can do that, and practically everybody does.
However, once in a while, a new series rates a mention. The latest is “Franklin & Bash,” about two flamboyant young lawyers, premiering at 9 p.m. Wednesday (June 1) on TNT.
As I sampled an advance screener of the first half a dozen episodes, the show initially struck me as a buddy formula extension of the recent film “Lincoln Lawyer,” with Matthew McConaughey’s character split in two.
Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) is the brilliant but wayward son of a revered attorney. Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) has an ex-girlfirend who works in the district attorney’s office. (In the film, it was an ex-wife, played by Marisa Tomei.)
But the flavor of “Franklin & Bash” is pure Butch and Sundance, with plenty of camaraderie, eccentricity, humor and playful sex appeal.
What really puts this new series over is a star turn by Malcolm McDowell as the legendary head of a major law firm. He rescues Franklin and Bash from their penny-ante practice to shake up his stodgy staff of staid attorneys, particularly his stuffy nephew (Reed Diamond).
McDowell delivers almost every line with an impish grin and maximum impact. To young Franklin, he says, “You’re F. Lee Bailey meets Barnum & Bailey.”
When McDowell addresses the jury, you’ll be ready to call the network the to urge clemency for his client.
Ultimately the series is more slickly produced television with nothing major to say, but with an important difference: It’s smart and it’s fun.