03rd Nov2014

‘Franklin & Bash: The Complete Third Season’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Breckin Meyer, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Reed Diamond, Dana Davis, Kumail Nanjiani, Malcolm McDowell, Heather Locklear | Created by Bill Chais, Kevin Falls

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Bill Chais and Kevin Falls, who both previously worked together as writers on the short-lived Emmy-nominated James Woods legal drama Shark, teamed up in 2011 for an all-new legal drama, Franklin & Bash, which follows lawyers and lifelong friends Jared Franklin and Peter Bash, a pair of unconventional lawyers whose M.O. typically involves them doing everything a lawyer shouldn’t (drinking in court, hitting on clients) in order to win their cases. Once such case sees the duo score legal win against the large and prestigious law firm Infield Daniels, which brings them to the attention of Stanton Infield, one of the said firm’s major partners, who recruits the pair to work for the very firm they beat in court – bringing both their legal skills and their sense of fun to the stuffy Infield Daniels.

And that’s the basic premise of the show.

But Franklin & Bash is anything but basic. Mixing legalese, comedy and drama, the show (which is now in its fourth year on American television) rises above the aforementioned show, and other legal dramas of the same ilk, thanks to some of the best TV casting in eons: the duo of Meyer and Gosselaar as Franklin & Bash is one of the most perfect pairings in years, reminding me of such greats as Hope & Crosby and Abbott & Costello. If my mind doesn’t deceive me, I remember reading a story (back when the series was announced) that Gosselaar wouldn’t do the show if he found the network couldn’t find the right co-star for him. Now that sounds big-headed of the former Saved by the Bell star, but what that decision actually did was solidfy the series as a TV great…right from the very first episode all those years ago. Without that attention to casting I very much doubt whether the series would work as well.

Franklin & Bash: The Complete Third Season sees Jared and Peter deal with a new boss and adjust to new surroundings as they move into a beach house in Malibu. The cases the guys tackle include a world-famous magician, defending a dead man who is in fact alive, a heckling baseball fan and the owner of a space meteor.

Despite being named after them, of course the series is not all about Franklin & Bash, there are a number of other legal eagles at Infield Daniels that make up the shows great ensemble cast – the Infield Daniels lawyers: Malcolm McDowell as Stanton Infield seems to be channeling William Shatner’s Denny Crane, plus there’s Reed Diamond as Infield’s nephew Damien, who has a disdain for the duo despite realising how good they are as lawyers.

Then there’s Franklin & Bash’s legal team – Dana Davis as paralegal Carmen Phillips, who has a less than stellar background and Kumail Nanjiani as Pindar Singh, who is both an IT genius, researcher extraordinaire and a phobia-ridden mess, so much so that he refuses to leave the house and tele-commutes into meetings. The third series also sees popular US television star Heather Locklear join the cast as Rachel King, the one woman who got the best of Franklin & Bash in court – so much so that she becomes their aforementioned new boss at Infield Daniels for this season!

A superb series that should not be missed by anyone who likes legal dramas, quirky comedy or just quality television, Franklin & Bash: The Complete Third Season is out now on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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