Saturday, April 11, 2009

TV Topic: Recurring Actors

I'm a little conflicted by what I've noticed recently: a lot of guest-starring actors keep popping up all over the mini-tube.

Garret Dillahunt plays the murderous Russian Roman Nevikov on "Life" and the robotic Terminator prototype Cromartie on "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." A fellow cast member, Dean Winters, plays Sarah's ex-fiance, Liz's beeper-hawking boyfriend on "30 Rock," and Sam's dad on "Life on Mars." Armie Hammer has had the pleasure of being Serena's potential love interest on "Gossip Girl" and Sam's annoying older demon brother in "Reaper." His fellow castmate, Ken Marino, plays baby-toting, gay demon Tony, a camp counselor on "Greek," and a love interest on "In the Motherhood." Emile Danko terrifies as the mutant-killing agent on "Heroes" and also had a stint of evil on "Damages." Tricia Helfer, of "Battlestar Galactica" fame as Number Six, painstakingly played the harsh-hearted Carla on "Burn Notice" and the bitchy know-it-all Agent Alex on "Chuck." Robert John Burke used to play Bart Bass on "Gossip Girl" and now he's back on "Rescue Me" as Tommy's troubled brother.

A girl can get emotionally confused watching an actor play several characters in just one month. Normally they play the same persona, allowing directors to typecast them, like Hammer as the smooth and seductive type and Helfer as the sexy badass. It takes a pretty impressive actor to convince you they're a swarthy crime lord and a mindless robot like Dillahunt, or to juggle being a trustworthy confidant and a total douche like Winters. However, I still find that it pulls me out of the series when I'm wondering why the hell the devil's son is trying to bag Serena or why the cryptic doctor (Francois Chau), who records instructional videos for the Dharma Initiative on "Lost," is a bowling nemesis on "Gary Unmarried."

The only time I don't really mind is when it's an actor I think deserves mainstream status, like Noel Fisher ("The Riches"), or if it introduces me to a fresh face, like Erik Palladino. Recently I've seen him as a hot-headed boxer on "Reaper," a pessimistic P.I. on "Cupid," and a mysterious government agent who's sure to recur on "Fringe." Him, I'd like to see more of, but most of the other actors should find a steady gig and stop disrupting my TV viewing.

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