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8 Great Performers Who Are Currently Boxing Well Below Their Weight Class

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | July 8, 2013 | Comments ()


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The Summer TV landscape is a barren one. This we know. Now is the perfect time to catch up on shows you’ve fallen behind on. And sure, there are a few diamonds in the rough this summer, but, well, overall it’s pretty rough. And that’s not the end of the world. We can temper/lower our expectations and enjoy what Dustin and I have taken to calling “solid, B-level Summer entertainment.” But it can hurt to see a great actor slumming it in material that is beneath them. I mean. We’ll get over it. Everyone has to work. And, for the most part, the following folks are doing their level best to elevate the material. I just wish they had been given better material to work with.

William Fichtner — “Crossing Lines”: This is a totally fine show. It’s an Avengers Assemble sort of procedural with more accents than you can shake Fichtner’s shriveled hand at. I don’t watch a lot of procedurals so I can’t tell you how it rates in comparison to say “Criminal Minds” or “NCIS,” but I can tell you that Fichtner deserves better than “former cop done dirty by his department with a crippled hand, a crippling morphine addiction and a crippled heart.”
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Dean Norris — “Under The Dome”: I mean, basically the snobbiest TV watchers among us are just twiddling our thumbs until “Breaking Bad” comes back on the air. Norris has been an unending delight o that show and all signs point to Uncle Hank having a big role to play in the final eight episodes. Until then we have to see him squint his way through this increasingly dreary Stephen King adaptation. The pilot was fine and it looks like the dome peaked there.
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Gina Torres — “Suits”: After being badgered into submission, I’ve come around to a grudging affection for this USA legal procedural. The two interchangeably affable leads are perfectly adequate in their roles. But Ms. Torres. Mrs. Zoe Washburne? She’s slumming. She looks good doing it. But she can do better.
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Donal Logue — “Copper”: It’s hard for any of us who were huge “Terriers” fans to watch Donal Logue in anything else. The role of Hank Dolwarth fit him like a pair of slouchy jeans. It’s not to say the man doesn’t have range, I just don’t know that he’ll ever see that show’s like again. And while at least during his brief stint on “Sons Of Anarchy” he was surrounded by competent performers, he’s been given very little to work with on both “Vikings” and “Copper.” And I’ll tell you one thing, the hammy Irish brogue isn’t helping.
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Rutger Hauer — “True Blood”: Last week I implied that I was happy to see Rutger Hauer on “True Blood.” And I am. The vampire-lore symmetry of it all is appealing. And he’s doing a great job. But still. This is Roy Batty. And now he’s the King Of The Fairies. Something about that is deeply broken.
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Scott Foley — “The Goodwin Games”: Once again, I was bullied into watching this show’s seven episode run and the way in which the three leads fit into the tone of the series is actually really interesting. TJ Miller (one of my favorite podcasters) is completely out of his depth. He does not have a handle on any of the acting required of him. The lovely Becky Newton, on the other hand, is right at home. This is exactly what her light comedic talent is suited for. Scott Foley? Noel? Just. No. I love this man. He is a televisual treasure. He crops up everywhere and he always absolutely shines. But here the slapstick and the cartoonishly bright color-palette just don’t work for him. It’s a disaster. Fingers crossed they bring him back to “Scandal” where he belongs.
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Charlotte Rampling — “Dexter”: Of all the shows on this list “Dexter” is the only one that was ever truly great. And once upon a time it made sense for a ridiculously talented actor to appear for a season. See: Lithgow, John. But the bloom is well off the rose and though the show is better than it has been, it’s still rattling out its last gasp. Rampling who is a screen legend and an enduring sex symbol can do much better.
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Donald Sutherland — “Crossing Lines”: Unlike Fichtner who is at least throwing himself crippled body and crippled soul into “Crossing Lines, Sutherland is absolutely asleep. And who can blame him? His role is peripheral and his dialogue plodding. They actually had him talking to pigeons at one point. You can’t make that up. Don’t forget who you are, Hawkeye.
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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • mslewis

    I have adored William Fichtner since "Heat" and I'm always so pleased when I see him in anything. So, yeah, he's slumming but a guy has to make a living and it's tough out there.

    Series like "Under the Dome" ALWAYS peak at the pilot. I didn't even make an effort to watch this mess so I really don't know, or care, who is in it. (Before I wrote this I was hurting my brain trying to think of another series but I can't. I remember I had been looking forward to that one where families go back in time to live with dinosaurs but I can't remember the title; also the one where the submarine went to some island to avoid killing Pakistan or something. There have been several that sound good, I want to see them, and I then last maybe the pilot and two episodes. Why bother.)

  • ,

    I hope I was just dreaming, but I think I saw a promo ad for some sitcom with the great Andre Braugher.

    And now ... Robin Williams too. Of course, Williams has been boxing below his weight for what, 25 years?

  • anikitty

    William Fichtner was in daytime. So he is probably above his weight class. Not that I ever watched soaps as a pre-teen.

  • LuLu

    I love him but my first thought when I see him is always "hey, it's Lily's dad from As the World Turns."

  • Greg!

    Does Donal Logue film Copper during the Terriers offseason? I don't see how he can do both, and I hope the next season of Terriers doesn't suffer from Donal overextending himself.

  • kirbyjay

    Greg as Fantasy Denial Director?

  • Tinkerville

    Since you brought up Terriers, I'd throw in Michael Raymond-James on Once Upon a Time. I say that as a OUAT fan.

  • John W

    Let's recast them.

    William Fichtner goes to Homeland as the new Director of the CIA.

    Gina Torres goes to Game of Thrones as Arianne one of the Sand Snakes.

    Charlotte Rampling goes to Hannibal where she'll match wits with Hannibal.

    Donald Sutherland goes to Community where he'll reprise his role from Animal House as Professor Jennings still smoking weeds and bedding his students.

    Donal Logue goes to Walking Dead as another survivor of the Zombie apocalypse.

    Scott Foley goes to Parks and Recreation as Ann's new love interest.

    Rutger Hauer goes to SHIELD as Baron Von Strucker head of Hydra.

    Dean Norris goes to Veep as a Presidential nominee running against VP Selina Meyer.

  • MissAmynae

    really effing well done there, John W!!

  • Wednesday

    Show of hands...who votes for John W to be Fantasy Casting Director?

  • foca9

    YES, YES. THIS. PLEASE, GOD (and I'm an atheist).

  • eag46

    I don't really see a problem with actors picking an "easy" part on a TV series. They have to make a living, and it's a nice steady paycheck and schedule in a field where stability is a rare commodity. So what if they're sleepwalking? They're getting the bills paid! [This is also why I don't really care if actors do commercials.]

  • Nessa2074

    "Of all the shows on this list “Dexter” is the only one that was ever truly great." What?! Breaking Bad, for christ's sake...

  • apsutter

    BB is not on this list tho. They simply say Dean Norris is slumming it on a different show while also being on the best drama on television.

  • Nessa2074

    Oops :)

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Donal Logue's hammy brogue made me giggle.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    And I mean that rhyming phrase as much as his portrayal.

  • Jerce

    The Under the Dome was fucking TERRIBLE. I mean, I'm THAT bored with no TV to watch and I STILL couldn't bring myself to watch any more of that shitshow. I was deleting that mess off my DVR record list before the credits were done running.

  • Sirilicious

    I really liked the pilot. There were too many idiots in the second episode.

  • ,

    I thought the idiots were in the premier. So I gave it a second chance and ... nope, still mostly idiots. And I don't think I have to throw up a SPOILER ALERT to say the third ep was so boring it made my eyes itch.

    That's it, I'm outta Chester's Mill (hahahaha I got out!!! and those shmucks are still stuck there) and on my way to Wiki to see what happens in the end.

  • ,

    ... Geez Louise, is that ever fucking stupid. If I had read that synopsis I never would have started watching the fucking thing.

  • Jack

    LOVE the actor, but Donal Logue's Irish accent in "Copper" is a strong contender to take away Nicolas Cage's crown for Worst Accent by an Actor of the Same Ethnic Group as His Character that Cage won for Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

  • PaddyDog

    Donald Faison in Exes and that dreadful prank show. How can he be the least successful post-Scrubs actor?

  • apsutter

    I think this all the time! He deserves better

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Crossing Lines is not "fine". It's absolutely abysmal.

  • Sirilicious

    It is that. It's also boring. It has some fine actors and wastes them. American movies and series using foreigners and watching them talk amongst themselves in ENGLISH WITH AN ACCENT is bad when they do it on occasion, but here it is staple. The [retracted] dying in the double episode pilot was very unsurprising. The trucker fighting ring was laughable. A pox on you, Crossing Lines!

  • sean

    "basically the snobbiest TV watchers among us are just twiddling our thumbs until “Breaking Bad” comes back on the air." Yes. Exactly.

  • ZizoAH

    Scott Foley will be a regular on Scandal's third season.

  • PerpetualIntern

    For reals? Yay!

  • pajiba

    DAMNIT JOANNA. What have we talked about with regard to "Suits"? It is perfectly suited to Ms. Torres estimable talents.

    And Goodwin Games? NOW YOU'RE JUST PICKING ON ME.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Kisses!

  • DehydrationStation

    William Fichtner should have become a leading man simply from his standout role playing Kent Clark the blind radio astronomer in 'Contact'. Especially in contrast to how bland Matthew McConaughey was.

  • delle

    Ms. Torres would manage to look good while cleaning public toilets using a weasel.

  • MissAmynae

    so does that mean the toilets would be....(tears off sunglasses) Squeaky clean? YEEAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    y'know, cause weasels squeak...and stuff...

  • Three-nineteen

    Have you seen her wardrobe on Suits? It's to die for. Even if you don't think the show is great, you can just watch Torres walk around in those clothes.

  • flojnl
  • Mrs. Julien

    That Rutger Hauer picture is ... I don't even have an adjective for it. Could someone German please provide me with the appropriate portmanteau of:
    amazing+shocking+delightful+fremdschamen+hilarious+transcendent.

  • PerpetualIntern

    Scrumtrulescent?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I give up.

  • BWeaves

    It's Spectorish (aka Phil).

    It's like he's auditioning for the part of King of the Fairies in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

  • Mrs. Julien

    At least Hauer seems to have gotten the memo that "you never go full spector".

  • Kala

    "It's like he's auditioning for the part of King of the Fairies in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell."

    My breathing just came to a halt. OH MY GOD. *Dead*

  • dizzylucy

    With that hair, Rutger Hauer needs to stroll on over to Justified. That's what I imagine Boyd will look like in another few decades.

    I'm hoping that Rampling isn't wasted on Dexter - given that it's the end, maybe they'll manage to pull off something pretty good, and she's sort of the catalyst?

  • jeannebean

    If he's supposed to be Sookie's Fairy King great-grandfather, the Make-up department should be shot en masse - or at least taken to rehab and forcibly weaned off whatever hallucinogen they're all on.
    He's SUPPOSED to be inhumanly beautiful with long, flowing silver hair.
    Good God, HE LOOKS LIKE PHIL SPECTOR!

  • koko temur

    you give him too much (less?) credit. This is Boyd within 3 years and Dickie Bennet in 2.

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