I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – TNT has some of the best summer programming of any network today. Tonight kicks off the new season with the premieres of Franklin & Bash and Rizzoli & Isles, two fun and unconventional dramas. But the summer fun doesn’t end there! Three returning favorites and three additional new series also premiere over the course of the summer, keeping our TV schedules full of terrific nighttime television.
Franklin & Bash
They’re Totally Lawyers. Totally.
Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have been friends since high school. The series begins with the two sitting at a diner watching the traffic in Los Angeles while they banter back and forth like best friends do, when a fender-bender takes place directly in front of them. Racing out to the scene, they immediately offer their business cards and legal representation to the driver responsible for rear-ending another car.
Why is the driver not responsible for the crash when he clearly bumped into the car in front of his? Franklin and Bash explain that it is because the driver was distracted by the interactive advertising sign yards ahead flashing images of a sexy young woman. The young and unconventional (really unconventional) attorneys take the case to court and prompt the beautiful girl in the ad to unbutton her shirt while on the witness stand, thus proving her chest to be guilty of causing an unnecessary distraction to those driving. With that, they win their case against a large and successful law firm.
Witnessing and enjoying the unique techniques of Franklin and Bash, Stanton Infeld (played by Malcolm McDowell) offers the two friends jobs at his law firm. Along with their ex-con assistant, Carmen, and their agoraphobic clerk, Pindar, the two join the firm. The series also stars Reed Diamond as Damien Karp, the obvious successor to his uncle at the firm and the classic jerk, as well as Garcelle Beauvais as Hanna Linden, another lawyer at the firm with previous romantic ties with both Damien and Franklin.
Meyer and Gosselaar have great comedic timing and a perfect on-screen chemistry. Franklin and Bash live together, party together, and work together, yet never seem to tire of one another. Their famous “Margarita-Mondays” have already saved one of their cases and provided them the vision to defend another case successfully.
Franklin & Bash is full of unconventional (one more time to be clear) courtroom fun, and season two premieres tonight (June 5th).
Rizzoli & Isles
A Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), solve crime together.
The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s a plumber, her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges) idolizes Rizzoli and is following in her footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco). Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss. Isles was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett) where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style. How many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?
But regardless of their differences, the girls have each other. Or at least they did – season two ends with Rizzoli shooting Isles’ dad. Even though Isles has a difficult time admitting her true feelings for her biological father, he’s still her father. Will Rizzoli and Isles’ friendship survive?
The series also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak.
If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & Isles. Season three premieres tonight (June 5th).
In the upcoming weeks, we have more to look forward to:
Falling Skies follows a group of survivors led by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) after aliens invade and attack our world as we know it.
As if the practically complete destruction of our planet wasn’t bad enough, the aliens want our few surviving children and plan to attach a horrendous apparatus to the children’s spines (the harness). This device controls the children – but what are the visitor’s end goals?
Falling Skies also stars Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, the resident doctor among the survivors, and Will Patton as Captain Dan Weaver (the title “Captain” should give plenty enough away about his role among the survivors).
Courtesy of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday partner, Amber West, I learned that Falling Skies is actually inspired by the events at Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. To read her review of the sci-fi drama, click here.
Season two of Falling Skies premieres June 17th.
The Closer follows Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and the Major Case Squad as they solve L.A.’s worst crimes, while her FBI-agent/husband (Fritzy or Fritz Howard, played by Jon Tenney) provides his and the Bureau’s expertise to her team.
Brenda Leigh hails from the south, if not already evident by her accent, and has a very hard time hiding her emotions when she has a bad day – she opens her desk drawer full of chocolate and digs in. She possesses that southern charm we’ve grown to love over the years, and having been born and raised in Texas, I can personally attest to what Brenda Leigh actually means when she says, “Thank you, thank you very much.” Kyra Sedgwick perfects the sarcasm so many southerners use in our daily vocabulary.
In addition to the drama, each show promises humor, and I find myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case. Most of the fun centers on the interactions of her team: David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds), Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett) with her boss, Will Pope (J.K. Simmons).
The final six episodes of The Closer premiere July 9th.
The Leverage team consists of a group of criminals turned do-gooders that utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful. Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion behind the individual cases they accept.
Nate Ford (Academy Award winner, Timothy Hutton), is “The Mastermind” — he leads this team of otherwise misfits. He selects the team’s clients, and he uses his skills to anticipate the movement of the con’s marks while the rest of his team is in play.
Joining Nate are his “side-kicks” (without whom, the show would not be the same):
“The Grifter” — Sophie (Gina Bellman). Sophie serves as Nate’s right hand. She has secrets that even the audience is still trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Well, maybe she’s not as great on stage as she is at playing the marks of the con.
“The Hitter” — Eliot (Christian Kane. Eliot has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible. His number one job is to protect the team; but, sometimes he takes on a character role that showcases his intelligence, not just his muscle, in order to complete the con.
“The Hacker” — Hardison (Aldis Hodge). Hardison loves his computers, technology, and “Lucille,” his thoroughly pimped out techie van. He has designed the team’s headquarters twice now (they had to blow the first office up to hide their identities), and the specialized equipment the team uses on each case.
“The Thief” — Parker (Beth Reisgraf). Moving from foster home to foster home, Parker lacks many social skills, but might just have the biggest heart of all the cons. One might think that Parker lacks empathy, but when she’s emotionally involved in a case, she’ll stop at nothing to take down the bad guys. Parker is one of the best thieves around, and her supreme safe cracking skills and her extreme acrobatics make her crucial to every case.
The Leverage team gets it done, even if they are a bunch of “bad cons” converted to good. Season five premieres July 15th.
But what about new shows – does TNT have any new fresh faces to add to our television programming this summer?
One of the most anticipated programs this year is the continued story of the duel between the members of the Ewing family.
We’ll see Ewings from the ever-popular soap opera that aired from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, including Larry Hagman as J.R. (who remembers the famous slogan: Who shot J.R.?), Linda Gray as Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy as Bobby to just name a few. Additionally, we’ll meet the new Southfork generation of Ewings, played by the young, fresh, and beautiful faces of Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, and Jordana Brewster.
Bring on the oil fields, cattle ranches, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and family feuds. Dallas, we’ve missed you.
The new Dallas premieres June 13th.
Following the conclusion of The Closer, Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) takes the lead in TNT’s spinoff, Major Crimes.
For the past few seasons, we’ve tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs). But we’ve also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who has stood by Brenda Leigh and done everything in her power to protect our favorite Deputy Chief.
How will Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team? That’s right – almost the entire cast of The Closer returns for the new series, including Provenza, Flynn, Tao, Sanchez, Buzz, Taylor, and even Fritzy.
The new Major Crimes premieres August 13th.
Would TV be complete without a new medical drama?
I don’t know much about Perception, other than it stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuroscientist who specializes in complex cases for the FBI. The series also stars Rachael Leigh Cook, a former student of Dr. Pierce, and the FBI agent responsible for adding him to the team of investigators.
I guess we’ll just have to see what this is all about. Perception premieres July 19th.
Do you enjoy any of the above TNT original programs? Which of the new summer 2012 shows are you most looking forward to? I’d love to hear from you!