The problem with being known for a specific role is that most of the time you can't jump right into another one. You've got to wait it out. Do a few films, if you can. Maybe try Broadway for a while. Just let the fans forget how much they loved you as this one singular character. Then come back with a few guest spots. Wet their palette a bit. And when the coast is clear, slip into a new character that'll hopefully knock their socks off again. Below, the actors who are returning for another round:
Seth Green | FOX's "Dads" (Sept. 17 - Tuesdays at 8pm)
Last Major TV Role: 4 seasons as werewolf Oz on "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"
New Role: It's been super long since he last wolfed out, and since then he's cultivated an impressive nerd fanbase due to the animated series he created, "Robot Chicken." This new role isn't that much of a stretch though. He'll play a manchild who runs a video game business with his best friend (Giovanni Ribisi). Sounds like his real-life dream job.
James Spader | NBC's "The Blacklist" (Sept. 23 - Mondays at 10pm)
Last Major TV Role: 6 seasons as lawyer Alan Shore on "The Practice" and "Boston Legal"
New Role: I never saw either shows. I'm actually going to have more trouble trying to forget his creepily serious stint on "The Office," but this new crime series seems far more fitting. He plays one of FBI's most wanted criminals, who decides to turn himself in so that he can help them find even more dangerous outlaws on a hit list he created specifically for himself. It's sure to be a suspenseful ride, like "White Collar" meets Silence of the Lambs.
Clark Gregg | ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Sept. 24 - Tuesdays at 8pm)
Last Major TV Role: 5 seasons as Richard Campbell on "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
New Role: It shouldn't be too difficult for viewers of his last sitcom to picture him as the commanding S.H.I.E.LD. Agent Phil Coulson. He's already played the role several times in Iron Man 1&2, Thor, and The Avengers. If anything, fans will find it hard to believe he use to play some douchebag ex-husband who replaced his wife for a younger woman.
James Caan | ABC's "Back in the Game" (Sept. 25 - Wednesdays at 8:30pm)
Last Major TV Role: 5 seasons as casino owner Ed Deline on "Las Vegas"
New Role: The gravelly voiced 73-year-old actor almost returned full-time in Starz's "Magic City" last season as a Chicago crime boss, unfortunately that series was cancelled. But he'll get a second shot as the estranged father in this family comedy, who's trying to make amends by helping his daughter (Maggie Lawson) raise his grandson.
Sarah Michelle Gellar | CBS's "The Crazy Ones" (Sept. 26 - Thursdays at 9pm)
Last Major TV Role: 7 seasons as the vampire hunter Buffy Summers on "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"
New Role: I know, I know, she already attempted a comeback in 2011 with the soap drama "Ringer," but how about we give her a mulligan? The poor girl has been trying to reinvent herself for a decade now. Two kids and several horrible films later, she's still trying. Hopefully, playing Robin Williams's uptight daughter in this new family-workplace sitcom will remind people that she used to be fun. Hopefully, it'll remind her, too.
Michael J. Fox | NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show" (Sept. 26 - Thursdays at 9:30pm)
Last Major TV Role: 6 seasons as deputy mayor Mike Flaherty on "Spin City"
New Role: Many would think Fox is crazy for attempting to star in a series when he's plagued by Parkinson's Disease. Is he running out of money? Is he starved for attention? Or does he just not give a...bleep? I think he just misses it. He dipped his foot in a bit with "Boston Legal," then a few years later with "Rescue Me," and again for the last few seasons of "The Good Wife." He's at his fighting weight now and I'll be the first to say, he's still got it. With life imitating art a bit, he'll play a news anchor who decides to go back to work five years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's. He'll struggle to not only do his job the best he can, but remain a family man.
Tony Shalhoub | CBS's "We Are Men" (Sept. 30 - Mondays at 8:30pm)
Last Major TV Role: 8 seasons as OCD-stricken, consulting detective Adrian Monk on "Monk"
New Role: Pure genius is what he was, comedically and dramatically. It'll be a tough role to top, but he did it once when he had to make everyone forget about "Wings." Consider this series, a sitcom about male divorcees, a cleanser though before he really plunges into a new show, because I don't expect it to last very long. Godwilling.
Spencer Grammer | NBC's "Ironside" (Oct. 2 - Wednesdays at 10pm)
Last Major TV Role: 4 seasons as the sorority girl Casey Cartwright on "Greek"
New Role: I highly doubt that fans of her debut series will be watching her new one. There won't be any keg parties or cute frat boys or mean-girl drama. No, our sweet little Casey is all grown-up, playing a feisty detective with criminal connections in this remake of the 60s cop series. However, as a fan of her previous show, I'm actually psyched to watch Grammer kick some ass in the all-boys club that is the police force. Huge fan of the underdog.
Ricardo Chavira | NBC's "Welcome to the Family" (Oct. 3 - Thursdays at 8:30pm)
Last Major TV Role: 8 seasons as Carlos Solis on "Desperate Housewives"
New Role: He seems to have a knack for playing Angry Hispanic men. The only real difference is his character is no longer rich and his wife is no longer self-absorbed and smoking hot. Viewers shouldn't be all that hard-pressed to accept his new role. They'll just have to get used to seeing a lot more of him, now that he has less actors to compete with for screen time.
Sean Hayes | NBC's "Sean Saves the World" (Oct. 3 - Thursdays at 9pm)
Last Major TV Role: 8 seasons as Jack McFarland on "Will & Grace"
New Role: You would think by now the sight of his face would not inspire fans to shout "Just Jack!," but in all fairness, he did repeat it just the right amount of annoying times to have it permanently burned into their memory. Unfortunately, they shouldn't expect any Jack-like qualities in his new character, aside from his interest in men. Hayes will be playing a divorced gay father, who's attempting to raise his teenage daughter while also juggling his hectic work schedule. Divorce? Responsibility? Work? That's so not Jack.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers | NBC's "Dracula" (Oct. 25 - Fridays at 10pm)
Last Major TV Role: 4 seasons as King Henry VIII on "The Tudors"
New Role: The actor is no stranger to playing seductive manipulators. Fans will most likely relish the opportunity to watch him entrance his conquests once again. Of course, this is primetime TV, not cable, so there will be a whole lot less nudity. I doubt that'll deter them though. In this incarnation of the original vampire's life, Dracula seeks revenge against those who betrayed him centuries earlier, but gets sidetracked when he falls in love with a woman he believes is his reincarnated wife.
Josh Holloway | CBS's "Intelligence" (Feb. 24 - Mondays at 10pm)
Last Major TV Role: 6 seasons as the con man James 'Sawyer' Ford on "Lost"
New Role: He spent so much time playing a grimy, untrustworthy bad boy that audiences might have a little trouble accepting his new brainiac do-gooder role, let alone his cleanly shaven face and haircut. However, because it's CBS and they are the masters of police procedurals, there is potential for it to not royally tank. In this series, he'll play an intelligence operative, the subject of a government test program, who has a microchip implanted in his brain, basically making him a super spy. So it's like "Chuck," but sexier.
Gillian Anderson | NBC's "Crisis" (midseason replacement)
Last Major TV Role: 9 seasons as detective of the supernatural Dana Scully on "The X-Files"
New Role: I've never really been a fan of her 90s series, but I've always thought she was badass. It's good to see that a decade later she's finally getting some momentum. I intend on streaming the BBC Two crime drama "The Fall" on Netflix eventually, and I heard she raised a few eyebrows as the title character's therapist on NBC's "Hannibal," but "Crisis" looks like it might be an opportunity for her to step out of everyone's friend zone.