I will not deny that I watch a lot of TV… a lot. It is hard to believe I didnt even own a DVR/TiVo until 2006. Thankfully I knew how to program a VCR, or else I would just wait ‘till the summer to watch the re-runs. Sadly, now a days summers are filled with reality TV and primetime game shows that underestimate the intellegence of the American people. But now I have a DVR, and all is well.
Watching the amount of TV that I do, one can’t help but notice the moves actors make in the careers. Sometimes a show goes off the air, sometimes an actor just gets a better offer (I assume). I was reminded of this recently while watching Peter MacNicol on 24. Some moves are great, some… not so great. Here are the noticable moves I have seen this season, rated using my official Penguin Scale:
=Excelent choice, you are going places
= I liked you before, and I still like you now
= Aren’t you that guy, from that other show?
= No suprizes here, what range you have cough**cough**
Back in the day, MacNicol was a quarky lawery John Cage on Ally McBeal, and the part suited him. Then, he moved on to be a quarky/brainy math proffesor Dr. Larry Fleinhardt on Numb3rs, and again… we bought it. A change but simple enough that we don’t have to alter our entire perception of whole this guy is.
Well, Larry on Numb3rs get put on a shuttle and launched into space, and MacNicol moved to 24. We are now to assume that he is a top presidential consultant with lax views on civil libertiy and the constitution. After 10 years of being the intellgent yet socially awkward guy, we are now supposed to believe he is a powerful, threatening man aiding in a plot to oust the President? For me, the move from Numb3rs to 24 was too drastic and happend over too short a time period.
Speaking of Numb3rs, I also have to mention Navi Rawat. Let me begin by mentioning that several actors on Numbers have had previous prominant roles, but have managed to successful transition into their current characters. Rob Morrow was the Dr. Joel Fleischman on Northern Exposure and Judd Hirsch is from Taxi. Navi Rawat is not as easy of a transition for me, which may only be a reflection of my TV viewing habbits. You see, Navi Rawat was playing Ryan’s pregnant ex-girlfriend from Chino on The OC in Nov 2003. By Jan 2005, she is appearing as Charlie’s student/colleuge/romantic interest on Numb3rs... while continuing to appear on The OC. Now, every time I see her when I watch Numb3rs, I want to yell at the screen “You had Ryan’s baby and didn’t even tell him?!? How could you!?” Two similar characters on 2 different shows at the same time just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe the thought was that Numb3rs and The OC wouldn’t hit the same demographic.
Speaking of The OC, do you remember Kathleen York? She played the pregnant mistress of Caleb Nichol (whose daughter grew up and started to date Ryan, before she found out she was his aunt). Well, York is currently playing the pregnant mistress turned murder victum on Desperate Housewives. She was also the pregnant ex-wife of Toby Ziegler on The West Wing. Literally, every major TV progam arch she has been this decade has had her in painfully similar roles. I say down with type-casting, and please Miss York look for a different role to challenge yourself.
The West Wing
Though it is more of an entity, one can truely say that the whole program The West Wing danced the small screen shuffle. Any true fan of The West Wing who now has seen an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip would have to agree with me. From the fast-pased wity dialogue, to the well written plot twists to the endearing and plosable interpersonal relationships… Studio 60 is clearly the brainchild of The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin . Sorkin even pulled some of the great talents from The West Wing to star in Studio 60 including Bradley Whitford, Timothy Busfield and Matthew Perry (Perry played an award worthy guest role on the The West Wing). What is a bit confusing at first is that Busfield played “Danny” on The West Wing, but now on Studio 60, Whitford’s character is named “Danny.” And Matthew Perry’s character is named Matt. Not to creative in the name department, but other than that, I really enjoy Studio 60. The West Wing closed its doors at the right time, brushed itself off and switched coasts. A great move all around, bravo!
DulÃ© HillI have met DulÃ©!... well, not actually met, but he walked right by me when I was an extra for The West Wing back in September 2000… but I digress. DulÃ© Hill played Charlie on The West Wing, but did not transition over to Studio 60. Instead, he switched from drama to comedy, playing opposite James Roday on the new series PSYCH. At first the premise of the show seemed a bit goofy… an overly observant and easy-on-the-eyes Shawn (Roday) convinces the Santa Barbara police that he is physcic. Shawn and his best friend Gus (Hill) are regular consultants to the police and help solve crime… and by the way, this show is on USA. What may have seemed like a step down for Hill now seems to be some decision making. PSYCH is one of THE FUNNIEST shows I have seen in years… not just smirk/laugh to yourself funny, but laugh OUT LOUD, slap you knee funny. It is a detective show that is light-hearted enough to not get mixed up in the wave of Law & Order/CSI crime dramas that are everywhere. The dialogue is witty and will keep you entertained for a full hour. Seriously, start watching PSYCH! Great move DulÃ©!
The best move I have seen this season goes to Brad Garrett. After years of playing Robert Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, being identified at the quirky, 6’8” brother… you would think it’d be difficult to move on to something else (dare I mention the Sienfield curse… PS I hate that show). But Garrett’s transition to Eddie Stark on ‘Til Death has been seamless. He maintains aspects of his previous character, but inhanced to handle a leading role in a sitcom. ‘Til Death was almost overly-hyped before it’s premier, setting high expectations for what seemd like a funny premise: A pair of newlyweds move in next door to a veteran married couple of 25 years. Garrett and his TV wife (Joely Fisher) have great chemistry and have fun every week making fun of the little truths that make up married life. ‘Til Death should definatly be on your DVR. Congrats to Garrett on stepping into the lead.