Franklin and Bash: The Complete First Season (Sony) stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer as Peter Bash and Jared Franklin: best friends, business partners, and most irreverent legal team on television. To call them unorthodox is an understatement. These guys border on insubordinate when they pull their antics in the courtroom. It’s effective, at least in the fictional culture of TV law, where legal theatrics are tolerated with a patience unknown to the real world. And it’s enough to attract the interest Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), a heavy-hitter attorney with a powerful law firm and an affection for underdogs and eccentrics.
So you can see where this is going: overgrown adolescents who combine total commitment to their clients with an uncontrollable urge to tweak the establishment (represented here by fellow associate Reed Diamond). So yes, it’s irreverent and bouncy and fun, the kind of courtroom circus show that hasn’t seen since “Boston Legal” left the air, with Gosselaar and Meyer doing a tag-team act as performance artist lawyers. Meanwhile, they keep their old practice alive with the help of equally unconventional assistants, ex-con Carmen Phillips (Dana Davis) and agoraphobic researcher Pindar Singh (Kumail Nanjiani). Garcelle Beauvais co-stars as one of the firm’s star lawyers and guest stars this season include Jason Alexander and Tom Arnold as clients and Beau Bridges as a rival attorney with a personal connection.
10 episodes on three discs, plus seven featurettes, three mock commercials, and a gag reel. DVD only. The second season of the TNT original series is already in progress.
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Never Apologize (Warner) is not a documentary, it’s a theater piece: Malcolm McDowell’s remembrance of director (and his longtime friend) Lindsay Anderson, who launched McDowell’s screen career by casting him in as the rebellious hero of “If…” The full title of the one-man-show, a mix of readings from Anderson’s papers, personal reminiscence and re-enactments of memorable moments, is “Never Apologize: A Personal Visit with Lindsay Anderson [And Their Celebrated Colleagues],” and along with his affectionate impression of Anderson is a collection of delicious impressions of “their celebrated colleagues,” among them Alan Bates, Richard Harris and John Ford. (The title, by the way, is a quote that Anderson appropriated from Ford’s “Rio Grande.”)
It’s a touching portrait of a great artist and a private man and McDowell brings an intimacy to the often hilarious stories, but McDowell is a raconteur rather than a biographer and this is a celebration of Anderson’s life, his tribute to a mentor, a collaborator and a friend. The production is a collection of bits and pieces from a private life, but together they offer some insight to a man who let few people past his public persona, delivered without sentiment, only affection and respect. Originally performed at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival as a tribute to the director, documentarian Mike Kaplan recorded a 2007 performance and, with the blessing of McDowell, supplements the performance with illustrative stills and film clips for this production. The production was shot on video and the visual quality of the disc is decidedly low-fidelity, but that’s not much of an issue in a production where imagery is secondary to performance. No supplements.
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