Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, each on his 723rd TV series, pair up as best-bud legal eagles. In between playing Wii, watching "Real Housewives" and soaking in the hot tub, they take cool cases involving a dominatrix (this week's pilot) and "intentional oversexing" (next week). Throw in two quirky assistants -- a hot black ex-con (Dana Davis) and a multiphobic Indian guy (Kumail Nanjiani) -- and fold 'em all into a high-powered corporate firm whose aging owner (Malcolm McDowell) yearns to reconnect with his unruly youth.
Yes! There's a sleazy owner's nephew antagonist (Reed Diamond). Yes! There's an even hotter associate (Garcelle Beauvais) hooked up with the antagonist but attracted to Meyer's loose cannon. Yes! There's Gosselaar's ex (Claire Coffee), a straight-arrow prosecutor he yearns to win back. Yes! There's "a poppy seed colonic."
MY SAY More lighthearted drama from the cablers who are starting to eat the broadcast networks' lunch. And, yawn, more carefree boy-men at whom gorgeous adult women throw themselves without rhyme or reason.
But "Franklin & Bash" is one slick stew. The cast is a first-rate collection of familiar faces who've never quite found the right fit, till now. And the jam-packed pilot briskly sketches what's to come. "No one plays a jury better than you," McDowell tells Gosselaar. "You're F. Lee Bailey meets Barnum and Bailey," he tells Meyer.
Around some not-bad courtroom cases, lots of women show cleavage, Gosselaar shows his butt and everybody shows pop-culture acumen. Name checks range from "The Breakfast Club" to Jessica Rabbit, Susan Boyle to Mike Tyson, Coachella to the Borg cube. (Try to keep up.)
BOTTOM LINE Sometimes, you're not looking for great TV. Sometimes, you're looking for par-tay! And dudes paid "to mess with the zombie culture," while also acing the case, surely fits the bill.