Monday, July 08, 2013

Where Are They Now?: The Breakout Stars of Fall 2012-Spring 2013 Cancelled Shows

When the leaves are falling in September, primetime television is blooming, and when those leaves return seemingly overnight in the Spring, TV shows are just as swiftly shed to make room for next year's crop. Because of this reaping, the Fall 2012-Spring 2013 television season had a lot of tragic casualties who deserve a second shot on another series. Find out who you should be keeping an eye on in the future:
Theo James of CBS's "Golden Boy"
The 28-year-old Brit officially made his crossover leap to American audiences this season when he starred in his very own police procedural that dared to rejigger the genre's template, and tell the story of the road to power. Of course, it wasn't the first time American audiences laid eyes on him. While he did co-star with Kate Beckinsale in the poorly received sequel Underworld: Awakening, he's probably best known as the Turkish diplomat who died mid-coitus in the wildly popular and rarely racy British series "Downton Abbey." Luckily, his talents don't ebb at seduction. On "Golden Boy," James never strayed from his fake American accent, always captured the viewer with his mischievous looks and heroic self-sacrifices, and impressively carried the series better than most actors in their late 20s could've.
Suggested Roles: More than the action, James excelled at the emotional scenes, whether they were with a witness or his partner. While I still think he should carry his own series where he fights for the underdog, I wouldn't mind spotting him in "Rookie Blue" as a new love interest for Andy and BFF to Dov, an internal affairs investigator who's partnered up with Cat on "Beauty and the Beast," a do-gooding warlock that catches Rebecca's eye on "The Originals," or shock his fans and appear on "Boardwalk Empire," seeking revenge for Gyp Rosetti's murder.
Upcoming Projects: He'll play the main character's love interest in the adaptation of Divergent opposite Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Kate Winslet.

Judy Marte of CBS's "NYC 22"
More than a decade ago we were introduced to this young lady in the critically acclaimed indie Raising Victor Vargas, which poetically captured ghetto youth and its pitfalls. In CBS's ensemble cop dramedy about rookies from all walks of life policing the dangerous streets of New York, Marte played an anomaly: a kid who grew up in a dangerous family and chose a profession that would make her their enemy. The character had a lot to prove and a lot to lose, and Marte played that with guarded trepidation and tempered bravado, a volatile mix of Rosie Perez and Michelle Rodriguez.
Suggested Roles: She's been doing the indie thing for a while now, running a couple laps on the festival circuit, but I think it's time she set up some roots. Maybe she can stir things up on "The Newsroom" or play an undercover cop on FOX's upcoming series "Gang Related."

Adhir Kalyan of CBS's "Rules of Engagement"
While I'll agree that this sitcom overstayed its welcome longer than most shows that were cancelled by the network, I will miss its cleverest character, Timmy. He brought class to a lowbrow series and stole every scene, with either a scathing quip or deadpan self-pity, as the Felix Ungar to Russell's Oscar Madison. 
Suggested Roles: Kalyan's debut was in the thankfully short-lived, racially precarious CW series "Aliens in America," during their recent brief foray into sitcoms. Then he popped up in Paul Blart: The Mall Cop and co-starred with Michael Cera in Youth in Revolt, playing against type. I think he should continue down that path, and definitely stick to comedy, because he has a talent for it. He could guest star on "Big Bang Theory" as Raj's fully Americanized relative and maybe even make a play for Amy Farrah Fowler, or play someone Mindy's mother sends to woo her for an arranged marriage on "The Mindy Project," or CBS could do him a solid and add him as an intern on Robin William's new ad agency sitcom "The Crazy Ones."

Sophia Bush of CBS's "Partners"
It's been a decade since the CW introduced the world to the spitfire that was Brooke Davis. Bush played her with a free-spirited sexuality and insecure vulnerability that encapsulated many a bad girl. It'll probably be the most complex character she's ever offered in her career, but she deserves a lot better.
Suggested Roles: Bush is being typecast as a superficial fashionista. She needs something with a little more substance. Perhaps she can join "Arrow" as Laurel's competition and Oliver's bar manager, or "Hart of Dixie" as Zoe's friend and Wade's new love interest.
Andrew Rannells of "The New Normal"
Little known fact: This 34-year-old Broadway actor spent the first decade of his career doing animated voiceovers for shows like "Yu-Gi-Oh" and "Pokemon." Thank god someone recognized his talents for hyperbole and drama just in time for The Book of Mormon to hit Broadway. Otherwise, non-theatergoers would've missed out on witnessing Rannells' impressive ability to play the scene-stealing, self-absorbed and yet nurturing father-to-be last season.
Suggested Roles: While I'm aware that gay actors can do more than just play gay, I think it's about time the gay drama genre made a comeback in a big way. Rannells, Luke Macfarlane ("Brothers and Sisters"), and Katherine Moennig ("The L Word") headlining a series about modern gay romance and issues would strike a chord in these rights-challenged times.
Upcoming Projects: Nothing solid as of yet, but he could always reprise his role on "Girls."

Jeremy Jordan of NBC's "Smash"
Best known for his Broadway role in the Tony-winning musical Newsies, Jordan managed to briefly reinvigorate the ailing series with his character's cocky, bad boy charm.
Suggested Roles: I stopped watching "Glee" a while ago, but I'm sure they could use him to throw a little strife into Blaine's life, or he could be the first singing Disney prince on "Once Upon a Time."
Upcoming Projects: He'll co-star in the adaptation of the romantic dramedy musical The Last 5 Years with Anna Kendrick.

Andre Holland of NBC's "1600 Penn"
As a grossly underutilized graduate of the short-lived dating series "Friends with Benefits," Holland had a pretty good year. Not only did he get to co-star in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 as a groundbreaking sports reporter, but he also got to play the president's press secretary in the political family comedy "1600 Penn" opposite Tony-nominated actor and comedic writer Josh Gad. His exasperated incredulity and frustration at every scandal that arose perfectly complemented Gad's ignorant attempts at...basically everything.
Suggested Roles: He could be a polarizing love interest for Anne on "Parks and Recreation."
Upcoming Projects: He'll be in the race drama Black and White with Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, and Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty).

Dakota Johnson of FOX's "Ben & Kate"
The offspring of 80s icons Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith bumped around a bit in a few supporting casts on the big screen (Beastly, 21 Jump Street, and The Five-Year Long Engagement) before landing the lead female role in an unorthodox family series, where we got to see her Deschanel-esque awe-shucks bashfulness and goofy-nerd comedic delivery. 
Suggested Roles: She could be the rookie slash weakest link on the team of Josh Holloway's spy series "Intelligence" this Fall.
Upcoming Projects: She will appear in Aaron Paul's street-racing action film Need for Speed.

Eliza Coupe of ABC's "Happy Endings"
Fans may only know her as the blonde half of Brad & Jane, but her breakout role was actually on the "Scrubs" spinoff the year before, where she was a lot more hostile and tomboyish. It was quite the transformation. The girl is versatile. And her character's maniacal obsession with perfection, judgmental one-liners, and enviable relationship with her husband made her one of the best of an already awesome cast.
Suggested Roles: She's so good at delivering scathingly honest lines that I think "Veep" would make a good fit. She could also add some negativity to Robin Williams' "The Crazy Ones" or be an obnoxious authority figure on Marvel's "S.H.I.E.L.D."

Damon Wayans Jr. of ABC's "Happy Endings"
Don't say it. We're all thinking it. He should've stayed on "New Girl." No offense to Lamorne Morris, but Damon is a funny dude. True, he was a hundred times funnier on this series than he was on "New Girl," but they took a while to find their comedic footing. Now everyone's a lot funnier. Plus, "Happy Endings" was more suited to his type of physical and zany comedy. Whereas "New Girl" is one notch above Weird, "Happy Endings" is one notch above Crazy, which is oddly where most of the Wayans family feels comfortable. The Hollywood legacy has redefined what it means to be a black male character on TV, not only pushing the envelope with racial stereotypes but with heterosexual ones. 
Upcoming Projects: The comedy Someone Marry Barry with Tyler Labine ("Animal Practice") and Lucy Punch ("Ben and Kate"), and the buddy cop comedy Let's Be Cops with his old buddy Jake Johnson ("New Girl") and Nina Dobrev ("Vampire Diaries").

Mamie Gummer of The CW's "Emily Owens, M.D."
I would pat myself on the back for calling the demise of this series before it was officially announced, but, um, everyone did. In Gummer's defense, though, it wasn't her fault. She was good at playing a naive, shy glorified doormat. But it so didn't fit her. She is Meryl Streep's daughter. And, however, unfair it might be to put her on a pedestal and expect more from her, it's not without good reason. If you've ever seen her guest star on "The Good Wife," then you know this kid can act. Those wilting lily characters she's being offered because of her blonde hair and fair skin are beneath her. During her arc, she took down an opponent with far more experience and basked in the glow of her victory. She's a beast. A mini-Meryl. She may be two failed pilots deep, but we never said she wouldn't have to fight for it.
Suggested Roles: I really hope that "The Good Wife" producers were smart enough to swoop in there and offer her a recurring role as a lawyer in Cary's new firm. Not only would she butt heads with Alicia, but she could come between Kalinda and Cary. "House of Cards" might also allow her to show off her ability to give life to strong female characters.
Upcoming Projects: She'll be in the Kristen Bell dramedy The Lifeguard.

Jared Kusnitz of MTV's "Underemployed"
As the straight-laced, environmental activist turned cubicle paper-pusher, his character represented the tribe of college grads who refuse to turn into their parents but are ultimately obligated to. He was the poster child for this generation's most prevalent obstacle: the quarter life crisis. Kusnitz played him with the right amount of anxiety and indecisiveness. You commiserated with him and even turned a blind eye to his missteps, because from 9 to 5, you are him.
Suggested Roles: He could play a nerdy distraction for Felicity on "Arrow." He could totally keep up with the 80s star as an assistant on "The Michael J. Fox Show." Or he could play a really smart guy Maggie thinks is out of her league on "The Carrie Diaries."
Upcoming Projects: He'll appear in the online mockumentary "Addicts Anonymous," which was funded by Kickstarter.

Aldis Hodge of TNT's "Leverage"
After playing the intimidating and antagonistic rival football player Voodoo on "Friday Night Lights," no viewer could've ever imagined seeing him as a lovable nerdy goofball, but for four seasons that's exactly what he was. He played the overly confident, pop culture-loving hacker on a crack team of thieves and con artists—the most relatable and the funniest of the bunch.
Suggested Roles: Since I like him in group/team settings, I think he would be great on a police procedural or law series as the comedy relief.

Michelle Ang of MTV's "Underemployed"
It's not often that young Asian actors are cast in sexual roles. And when they are it's always some seedy, semi-pornographic, fetish scenario that's rather unrealistic. Ang, a Malaysian raised in New Zealand, played a young woman who was nervously discovering her sexuality and trying very hard to bravely embrace her homosexual desires. Her lesbian storyline wasn't tawdry or gratuitous. It was just another view of modern adolescent struggles.
Suggested Roles: I think it's important she continues to play against type. She could be a new lawyer at Cary's firm on "The Good Wife," do a quick arc on "Girls," or co-star in her own more diverse, generational series.

David Clayton Rogers of ABC Family's "Jane by Design"
Over the last decade, Rogers has gotten better at stealing scenes. I actually first saw him on the "Cougar Town" pilot, which wasn't really that funny, and it didn't seem like he and Courtney Cox were on the same comedic wavelength. He was doing bewildered and sane, and she was doing zany and obsessive. Regardless, once they introduced her main beau, he was rather forgettable. According to IMDb, he's been on "Gilmore Girls," "Brothers & Sisters," "Happy Endings," and "Grimm." None of it's ringing a bell. However, on this series, he has way more screen time and far more character development. Turns out "awkward" is where he excels.
Suggested Roles: He could awkwardly romance Anne on "Parks and Recreation," try to steal Jess from Nick on "New Girl," bring Quinn back from the edge on "Scandal," charm Peggy on "Mad Men," or if "Bunheads" is renewed, he could be a new small town hottie.
Upcoming Projects: He'll appear in the sci-fi thriller Uncanny with Marc Webber and Rainn Wilson.

These breakout stars managed to score new gigs:

Chris D'Elia of NBC's "Whitney"
The stand-up comedian was practically unrecognizable when this series first premiered. Just a few months earlier he was on TBS's college comedy "Glory Daze," playing a disheveled, perpetually-high super senior. Then all of a sudden he had a sober cadence, playful jibes, and a confident swagger, and it was like he aged ten years in seconds. D'Elia is of that rare breed, manly but able to appear sincere in romantic plots, which is great for comedies that are meant for both demographics.
Upcoming Projects: He'll star in NBC's upcoming sitcom "Undateable," where he'll play a Don Juan who teaches a few romantically challenged guys how to navigate the treacherous waters of the dating world. He's currently filming the comedy Flock of Dudes with Bryan Greenberg ("How to Make It In America" and Bride Wars), Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), Hilary Duff, Lea Michele, and Hannah Simone ("New Girl"). He's also doing stand-up in the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival with many comedians, including Dave Chapelle.

Zach Cregger of NBC's "Guys with Kids"
Since his debut in the sketch comedy series "The Whitest Kids U'Know," Cregger has been trying his best to land a more traditional sitcom. His first, "Friends with Benefits," put him on the back-burner, but this Jimmy Fallon-produced dude comedy showcased his talents a lot more. He played a snarky smart ass, like the male version of a frenemy. You wanted to hate him, but couldn't stop being amused.
Upcoming Project: He's currently attached to the female-driven NBC pilot "Assistance" with Krysten Ritter ("Don't Trust the B- in Apartment 23"). It's produced by Will Ferrell's company and based on a play by Bachelorette's screenwriter Leslye Headland.

Maddie Hasson of FOX's "The Finder"
This 18-year-old newbie played a feisty little loner, quick on the uptake but secretly vulnerable, as evidenced by her go-to pout and puppy-dog eyes. It's a bit uncharacteristic for blondes to have bite or for teenagers to outshine their superiors, especially for this Hollywood generation, but Hasson gives off a mysterious allure that's usually attributed to bad-boy heartthrobs, keeping you hooked.
Upcoming Projects: Currently, she stars in the ABC Family teen mystery series "Twisted," but she just completed the sport drama Underdogs.

Michael Rady of The CW's "Emily Owens, M.D."
Ohhh where do I begin? I first noticed Mr. Rady when he played the incredibly sexy Greek Kostas in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Every teenage girl's fantasy is to meet a hot foreigner with an accent and an adventurous attitude. He was like catnip for the tweens to twentysomethings. He didn't re-enter their lives in any other capacity until he briefly popped up in the ABC Family college series "Greek" and starred in the CW's "Melrose Place" reboot. Since the cancellation of those shows, he's done a few guest arcs on "House of Lies" and "The Mentalist." He definitely gets around, but he always plays the same guy: An endearing, gentle soul with a forgiving, if not ignorant, nature.
Upcoming Projects: Not only is he starring in the indie rom-com Romantic Encounters with Meghan Markle ("Suits"), but he scored a supporting role in Josh Holloway's spy thriller "Intelligence."

Phoebe Tonkin of The CW's "The Secret Circle"
I didn't want to like her character, but I couldn't help it. This little Aussie plays catty divas and wherever they go, trouble soon follows. After her Wicca-themed series "The Secret Circle" failed to build a cult following on The CW, she hopped over to "The Vampire Diaries" to seduce a werewolf and birth an Original hybrid. As a beautiful girl with ambiguous ethnicity, who's mastered bitch face and the sympathy pout, she has a lot of potential.
Upcoming Projects: She'll co-star in The CW spinoff "The Originals," and appear in the drama The Ever After, written by actors Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer, which will also star Rosario Dawson and Jaime King.

Michael Ealy of USA's "Common Law"
Those dreamy-dreamy eyes. You'd never think he started off playing a standoffish tough guy in Barbershop. Who knew his niche would be seductive charmers? Even though his supporting gig on "FlashForward" fell through, his guest star role on "The Good Wife" ran its course, and his lead role on the buddy cop series "Common Law" was short-lived, he managed to reignite the public's interest in him with last year's urban rom-com Think Like a Man, where he played a struggling chef who doted on the woman of his dreams and never felt threatened by her success. Dream guy, question mark.
Upcoming Projects: He'll star in the FOX sci-fi buddy cop series "Almost Human," where he'll play a humanized robocop of sorts. And next year, he'll star in another urban rom-com called About Last Night alongside Regina Hall and comedian Kevin Hart, and reprise his role in the Think Like a Man sequel.
Serinda Swan of A&E's "Breakout Kings"
Very few actresses can pull off badass and beautiful. To be both what men covet and fear. It isn't just the eyeliner, Swan's got a knack for it. You get the sense that she can handle herself in a fight, against either sex. There's a wave of heroines taking over pop culture, from the Katniss's to the Calisi's. And it's good to know there's more on the horizon.
Upcoming Projects: She's co-starring in USA's crime drama "Graceland."

Jimmi Simpson of A&E's "Breakout Kings"
I have no recollection of ever seeing this guy anywhere else. He's one of "those guys" that fit in anywhere and go unnoticed. Watch this series though and there's no way he won't make an impression. He played a timid, obnoxiously intelligent, mildly autistic, condescending Rain Man. Hands down, he was the best part of the series.
Suggested Roles: Since Sherlock defeated Moriarty, he could go head-to-head with him on "Elementary," or be a major political player in the next season of "Revolution."
Upcoming Projects: He'll join Netflix's "House of Cards" next season in a recurring role and this summer, he's in White House Down. He has the indie fantasy adventure Knights of Badassdom with Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones"), Summer Glau (Serenity), and Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood"), and the comedy Gravy with Sarah Silverman, written and directed by James Roday of "Psych."

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