Thursday, June 12, 2008

TV: Actors who deserve a Spinoff or Series

After I heard that Elizabeth Reaser, Alex's ex-amnesia patient Eva on "Grey's Anatomy," was getting her own CBS show called "The Ex-List," I started to think of what other guest stars or even underappreciated cast members deserved their own shot. While Reaser's time on "Grey's" may have ended, most overlooked actors continue to be under the radar because their shows get canceled. Reaser may be starring in the cult-favorite adaptation of Twilight this winter, but some of her fellow compatriots aren't as blessed. Here are a list of the casualities of cancellations who deserve--if not their own show--a shot at televised greatness.

Lucy Lui ("Cashmere Mafia")
Where most guys can admit to loving Lucy for her bad ass performance as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, most ladies worship her for her tough-as-nails act in “Ally McBeal” and her girly fierceness in Charlie’s Angels. I, personally, am fond of her inquisitive nature in Lucky Number Slevin. So naturally, I was a little disappointed in seeing her Carrie impression in that “Sex and the City” knock off “Cashmere Mafia” and was slightly overjoyed to see it tank. But at what cost? That cool chick has been relegated to voice-overs. Granted, at the moment, she’s voicing Master Viper in the animated blockbuster Kung Fu Panda, but she also did voice work in the straight-to-DVD movie Tinkerbell on shelves this October, and she didn’t even get to be the lead fairy. But I take comfort in knowing that soon she’ll be producing the adventure crime thriller of the famous Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan and reinventing a treasured classic.

Bonnie Somerville ("Cashmere Mafia")
While you may have first seen her as Ross’s girlfriend Mona on “Friends” or on the short-lived FOX show “Kitchen Confidential,” chances are you saw her true range once she joined the female ensemble cast of “Cashmere Mafia” as the sassy, bisexual Long Island native. She's just wrapped the romantic dramedy Shades of Ray opposite Chuck's Zachary Levi, playing his fiancĂ©. At the moment, she’s filming the indie comedy Nobody and the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, playing backseat to Katherine Heigl. But hopefully, she won’t get lost in the Hollywood shuffle of mid-30s blondes.

Christopher Titus ("Big Shots")
You may know this 43-year-old actor as a professional comedian, but as of 2000 when he headlined his own show “Titus,” he made a go of being a professional actor. This season’s “Big Shots” was his second attempt at a steady TV gig and unfortunately ABC viewers were just not feeling the feminized machismo and overblown dramatics. However, he was the funniest of the four main characters. Luckily, Titus is getting back into writing, and he’ll be starring in his next project Five Seconds.

Nick Kroll ("Cavemen")
Probably best known for his personal opinions on “Best Week Ever,” Kroll will still have trouble getting celebrity-spotted after his rudely sarcastic performance in ABC’s “Cavemen.” I did not expect this show to be funny, but despite it’s commercialized premise—stolen straight from GEICO commercials—it had me rolling. Balling up every racist and sexist comment known to man and repackaging it as negativity towards cavemen, actually makes for pretty funny social commentary. Unfortunately, Kroll is back to voice-overs and bit spots. This Fall, he’ll lend his vocals to a character on FOX's "Sit Down, Shut Up," and this month he’ll voice a character in an animated TV movie The Life & Times of Tim.

Sam Huntington ("Cavemen")
MIMI-SIKU!! LOL Okay, maybe I’m the only one who remembers him as a young Tarzan-like kid in Tim Allen’s Jungle 2 Jungle, but I feel no shame for it. The first time I remember seeing him after that was seven years later in Sleepover, where he plays a big brother for about 15 minutes of screen time. He redeemed himself when he played Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns in 2006. But he officially won me over when he played the pathetic, love-sick, video game obsessed, road rage-having, stalkerish loser in “Cavemen.” In just 8 episodes, he showed more sides to his character’s personality than most actors get to do during an entire series. While he does get to be in the dorkalicious ensemble cast of the long-awaited adventure comedy Fanboys this summer, he also has to be in a romantic comedy with Haylie Duff called Tug. Since Seth Rogen makes an unrecognizable cameo in Fanboys as a Trekkie, I pray to the comedy Gods that he takes Huntington under his wing and gives him a job.

Judy Greer ("Miss/Guided")
Whether you know her as the dork in Jawbreaker, the assistant in The Wedding Planner, the bitch in 13 Going on 30, the secretary in “Arrested Development,” or the hilarious best friend in 27 Dresses, you have witnessed the makings of a true comedy queen. This year she was given a shot to officially make her Hollywood debut in her very own ABC show called “Miss/Guided,” but it was illogically canceled before it could even sprout wings. Up next for the starlet are two comedies. The first is the indie Visioneers, which is about a guy who starts to feel the symptoms of an unusual epidemic of spontaneous combustion. Then she’ll star opposite Patrick Wilson in the adaptation Barry Munday, where she’ll play one of his impregnated conquests who he can’t remember sleeping with. Lastly, there’ll be the romantic drama Traveling, where she’ll take a backseat to Jennifer Aniston who’ll play the love interest to Aaron Eckhart. Here’s hoping she won’t always be known as the sidekick.

Rachel Harris ("Notes from the Underbelly")
Harris has been a professional comedian for a long time and even had a stint on “The Daily Show” as a correspondent in 2002 and “Best Week Ever” in 2004. I believe it wasn’t until 2005, when she co-starred with Kirstie Alley in Showtime's “Fat Actress” that she really got any recognition. After a few guest spots, she finally got a permanent role in ABC’s “Notes from the Underbelly,” and practically stole the whole show. While it was indeed about a couple who was having their first child, her role as the bitchy best friend who hates children and…people was by far the most entertaining. Oddly enough, in her next project she'll be taking a break from all the comedy to appear in the musical biography The Soloist alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx--ironically, two very funny men.

Kevin Rankin ("Bionic Woman")
Stuck doing guest spots for the last 10 years, Rankin finally got steady gigs when he was cast as the overly sarcastic, handicapped athlete in “Friday Night Lights" and the genius tech guy slash comic relief in “Bionic Woman.” Although the revitalized action series was canceled slash put out of its misery, he still has a spot on "FNL" and is about to start shooting a made-for-TV drama called 1%.

Josh Gad ("Back to You")
While you may have not noticed him very much in this year’s surprise hit 21, perhaps you caught him on FOX’s short-lived comedy “Back to You,” where he played the pathetically unprepared and prepubescent station producer. He is the only reason I started and kept watching. This summer, he'll not only star in the comedy The Rocker with Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), but he'll also appear in next summer’s college party comedy Mardi Gras with Reaper's Bret Harrison.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("New Amsterdam")
It’s pretty harsh to make your official American debut after mainly working the Danish film market for the last fifteen years and then get canceled. Unfortunately, FOX put a little too much confidence in Nikolaj’s ability to carry an entire show by himself. While he is pretty charming--and almost as dashing as David Boreanaz when he played an immortal--the story itself wasn’t innovative enough to keep him afloat. At the moment, he’s only got Danish films in the works, but hopefully Hollywood execs caught a few episodes and are cooking up a spot for him. I say, any cop procedural would do just fine.

Alex O'Loughlin ("Moonlight")
This Australian actor made his official debut in the crime thriller The Invisible and FX’s “The Shield.” But he obviously made a big enough impression to get his own show on CBS called “Moonlight.” Despite a devoted fan base, the show was canceled. Fortunately for his fans, Hollywood hasn’t given up on him just yet. He’s just wrapped the crime thriller Whiteout with Kate Beckinsale that’ll be in theaters this Fall.

Jason Dohring ("Moonlight")
Oh Logan, Logan, Logan! Dohring will forever be a part of the history of the legendary cult series “Veronica Mars.” Unfortunately, his follow-up endeavor “Moonlight” was canceled too and he has nothing scheduled for the future. The boy can't catch a break.

So who do you think deserves a recurring role or their own series?

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