TV Review: TNT’s ‘Franklin & Bash’ Adds Heather Locklear

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CHICAGO – The generally-likable and amiable TNT law dramedy “Franklin & Bash” returns tonight in a slightly new iteration designed to build buzz by adding a bit of sizzle to the show. Heather Locklear joins the cast, the boys move to a beach house that allows for a lot of shirtless shots and bikini parties, and one of the guys may even have a gorgeous love interest. But it’s still the same “Franklin & Bash,” for better or worse. It’s an easy hump day program that doesn’t challenge the viewer in any way but presents a uniformly likable cast, built on the foundation of the believable friendship of its two stars. “Franklin & Bash” is one of those modestly entertaining programs that cynical viewers who like their TV dark like “Breaking Bad” or “The Walking Dead” like to dismiss but it’s perfectly entertaining escapism — enjoyable while you watch it even if it doesn’t stick with you for a minute after it ends. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

“Franklin & Bash” did grow by 10% in season two but it still hasn’t taken off like TNT hoped it would when it premiered. TNT really needs a hit since “The Closer” shut down and they just canceled “Monday Mornings” and “Southland.” And so it’s time for a bit of a reboot of this program. Bring in Heather Locklear! The “Melrose Place” star joins the cast as Rachel King, a new partner in the firm and someone to put the two legal man-children of the title in their place.

Franklin and Bash
Franklin and Bash
Photo credit: TNT

If you’re unfamiliar, the title refers to Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), L.A.’s legal dynamic duo, a pair so infamous for their courtroom antics that one of tonight’s two premiere episodes even includes a judge who admits to being a fan of theirs. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they get the job done. And their friendship and teamwork remain the bedrock of the show. It’s easy to believe that Gosselaar and Meyer are actually friends in real life, which makes their repartee more enjoyable.

Sadly, the writing still doesn’t quite live up to the talents of the cast, including great supporting turns from Malcolm McDowell and Reed Diamond. The first two episodes center around gimmicky cases, one involving a magician played by the great Adam Goldberg and the other about a veteran who has to jump through hoops after paperwork declares him dead. I’m not saying “Franklin & Bash” needs to have serious legal drama. However, the goofy nature of the cases often detract from the show overall. There’s a balance between believability and silly legal writing that “Franklin” often misses. You’ll roll your eyes a few times tonight.

However, it comes back to that likability. As the boys move into their new Malibu home (including a gorgeous neighbor played by Nicky Whelan) and deal with challenges presented by their new boss, there’s a nice degree of Summer escapism not unlike USA’s “Royal Pains” or A&E’s “The Glades.” These shows don’t ask much from the viewer but offer a fun seasonal getaway. And having Heather Locklear along for the ride doesn’t hurt.

“Franklin & Bash” stars Breckin Meyer, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Heather Locklear, Malcolm McDowell, Reed Diamond, Dana David, and Kumail Nanjiani. It returns to TNT on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 8pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

get rid of heather locklear

If you really want to show to improve, the show needs to get rid of Heather Locklear, she’s a horrible actress and does nothing for the show…I love this show and her staying on will ruin it.

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