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9 Beloved TV Actors That You May Not Realize Are Still Employed

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | October 29, 2012 | Comments ()


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Sometimes when your favorite actor ends their run on a beloved show their next project is announced with such fanfare there's no way you can miss it. See: any Matthew Perry vehicle, or that rather disappointing Kiefer Sutherland effort. But, let's face it, quite often your favorite character is not the lead. So while the McHale's will always have the limelight, it's the Pudi's we are in danger of losing track of. I'm not saying you have to watch all the following shows. In fact, for the most part, I'd advise against it. But isn't it nice to know that somewhere out there in TV Land, your favorites are still gainfully employed?

Joshua Malina aka Will Bailey aka Jeremy Goodwin -- "Scandal": "Scandal" is such a fun show packed with great performances, political intrigue and pretty pretty people that I'm surprised it's not more popular around this joint. I just caught up with it in the past few weeks myself. (The short, 7 episode first season is available on Netflix Instant and features fan favorites Liza Weil aka Paris on "The Gilmore Girls" and Henry Ian Cusick aka Desmond from "Lost.") ABC marketing the show as "steamy," but it's far brainier than that. Witness the always sharp Joshua Malina (of "Sports Night" and "West Wing" fame) as Kerry Washington's sometime antagonist/sometime ally, ASA David Rosen. If you're missing some of the droll brio of Sorkin's heyday and are unwilling to watch The Newsroom Where Ladies Fall Down A Lot, then check out Joshua Malina on "Scandal."
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Yvonne Strahovski aka Sarah Walker -- "Dexter": Many of you gave up on "Dexter" two seasons ago. And rightly so. But this season is making a surprising rebound and, good news, if you did give up on it seasons ago, you don't need to play any catch up to know what's going on. You Whedon loyalists will enjoy the appearance of Enver Gjokai (WHY DOES THIS MAN NOT HAVE HIS OWN SHOW) in episode 1 of the season but, even better, is the presence of the lovely Yvonne Strahovski. You "Chuck" fans will enjoy watching her walk a slightly darker path than she did on the erstwhile NBC show. Yvonne is gorgeous as ever as Hannah McKay, prompting Dexter to fumble his DNA swab. Can you blame him?
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Alan Tudyk aka "Wash" -- "Suburgatory": I was so pleased to see "Suburgatory" geting a lot of love in the comments section last week here on Pajiba. And rightly so. It's a wry, sprightly little sitcom populated with an incredible amount of talent including "SNL" alums Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell and the amazing "Curb Your Enthusiasm" vet, Cheryl Hines. And, although I'm sure you know Alan Tudyk is earning his paycheck over on ABC these days, I'm surprised his show is not getting as much attention as Fillion's has. It's so much better than "Castle" and, in contrast to Fillion who gives off the "going through the paycheck motions" vibe, Tudyk is always on comedic point as the fake tanned Noah Werner, DDS.
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David Eigenberg aka "Steve" -- "Chicago Fire": Full confession, I haven't watched a second of this show. I don't plan to. There's nothing you could possibly do to persuade me. That being said, David Eigenberg was always my very favorite part of "Sex And The City" and if you join me in my delusion that the films never happened, he can be your favorite too. So while Chris Noth and John Corbett get much of the love, I'm just glad to see Eigenberg is still working.
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Alan Dale aka "Charles Widmore" aka "Caleb Nichol" aka etc etc -- "Once Upon A Time": To be fair, Alan Dale is always working. I'm fairly certain that after he's dead, they'll lug his corpse on various sets to glower and scheme and generally ruin everyone's fun. His presence on "Once Upon A Time" is unsurprising (given the show's strong "Lost" associations), but no less welcome.
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Masi Oka aka "Hiro" -- "Hawaii Five-O": Even when "Heroes" got super sh*tty, Masi Oka remained a fan favorite. So though I can't possibly suggest you watch "Hawai Five-O," isn't it nice to know that Masi Oka is entertaining your dad and your grandma?
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Gaius Charles aka "Smash" and Tina Majorino aka "Mac" -- "Grey's Anatomy": Don't watch "Grey's Anatomy." Just don't. Just do yourself a solid and keep ignoring its existence. But if you were to somehow find yourself unable to quit it, and frustrated that you can't really talk about it with anyone because all the viewers with good taste abandoned it long ago (if they ever watched it), then you were rewarded this season with a few welcome familiar faces. First of all, among the crop of new interns there's Gaius Charles (where have you been?) and Tina Majorino (you're better than this! and better than "True Blood"! do better things!). Weirder still, Sandra Oh's character is spending this season in Minneapolis (why?) becoming BFF with William Daniels aka Mr. Feeny. So am I implying that you should watch "Grey's Anatomy"? No, dear god no. Save yourself. But I will give infinite credit to their casting director.
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Maura Tierney aka "Lisa" -- "The Good Wife: I'll ring this show's bell until my arm falls off. They truly do have the best guest actors. Case in point, this season the lovely, smoky Maura Tierney is on hand to flirt with Julianna Margulies ("ER" reunion!) and threaten Chris Noth. If nothing else, seek out the scene from last week when these two ladies got drunk together. It was like a sexy voice-off.
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I was more shocked to see Julia Stiles on Dexter than anyone else. I'm glad to see she survived the 90s.

    Chris Noth always gets me. I feel like, no matter where I turn, he's there to go, "Surprise! Still big in the business!" (Which is funny because, you know, his character's name was Mr. Big .. in you know .. Sex and the City .. yeah.)

  • Kala

    David Eisenberg is the Clark Kent/Superman to my Lois Lane: I NEVER recognize him without his glasses on. Until someone says, "That's Steve," I'm just all duh.

  • Every single time you post a gif of The Good Wife I kick myself in the head for not yet watching this show. First it was those steamy sapphic-S&M-cleavage-whatever encounters (my memory's hazy - someone kicked me in the head); now it's Margulies and Tierney pronouncing the name of one my favourite (and certainly favourite-named) directors... I have a big, knock-proof head most of the time, but I'll be damned if you're not wearing this skull down.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Has someone on Pajiba reviewed "That guy...who was in that thing"? Pretty interesting documentary about working character actors. The doc went fairly in-depth about how little money they make, how often they work (or don't).

    Fairly well known actors with a middle-class workingman's lifestyle.

  • theotherone

    Jared Harris needs a new show STAT.

  • Calamity

    Alan Dale will always be Jim Robinson, the kind but firm father of my childhood who was cruelly left to die of a heart attack by his second wife!

  • Scottieboy

    WORD.

  • Arran

    This is not a reference I expected to see on this website, and I salute you for it.

  • e jerry powell

    As much as I love the show, I feel obliged to remind Joanna that "Scandal" is not produced by Aaron Sorkin, but by the bane of all things plausible, Shonda Rhimes. She did have the sense to snap up Malina, though. Obviously his character is not long for this world after last week's episode. *Sad face*

    Other than that, "steamy" is not really Kerry Washington's wheelhouse. She's definitely "brainy" with a healthy dose of so-hot-I'd-almost-consider-heterosexuality thrown in. I'm mostly attracted to the brainy, though. The way she mopped the floor with conservatives on her last Bill Maher appearance worked for me.

    Oh, and Joanna, "Suburgatory" may be better than "Castle" (though I have no frame of reference, having watched neither), but in my opinion, Fillion has a better ass. As does David Eigenberg. In fact, Eigenberg's ass is one of best reasons to watch Sex and the City, if you ask me.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I already knew that thing you said about Sorkin and Rhimes!

  • e jerry powell

    Just making sure...
    :-)

  • John G.

    She makes me fumble my DNA swab too

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    I can't possibly express in words how much I want Margulies and Tierney to make out on TGW. Especially if Tierney's character turns into a villain and it's all very...angry and sexy...but not like Kalinda and whatshisface, because that shit cray.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Yes. I did not realize until I read this how much I expect/want this to happen.

  • One word: Hustle

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    "All the viewers with good taste abandoned it long ago (if they ever watched it)"..... That was way harsh, Tai.

  • JoannaRobinson

    But I still watch it, Becky. Every damn week.

  • valerie

    Agreed! I don't care how overdramatic it gets, I don't care that there is incredibly distracting score music used in place of actual comedy, I don't care that grown human people don't talk about sex like they're teenagers forever...this show is so so entertaining and it gets me every week. It's one of those shows where if you're a fan, you've been watching so long that the plain crash finale destroyed you. I was shocked and dismayed a how much I cared about some of the deaths. I know it's not good writing...so it must just be the inventive plotlines and captivating acting. This show does not deserve to be cast aside with snark and hasn't sucked since Katherine Heigl was bani-shed.

  • Zuleikha Robinson, a.k.a. "Gaia, the whoremistress", a.k.a. "Roya Hammad", Homeland.

  • kushiro -

    She should be fine as long as she doesn't handle any dynamite.

  • TheOtherOne

    "Dynamite" = Brody?

  • theotherone

    "Dynamite" = Brody?

  • Lurkey Turkey

    Scandal has become one of my absolute favorite shows. Love how smart the characters are, and how tangled a web they weave.

  • Nadine

    Alright, here's my plan, we convince the makers of The Good Wife to cast more ER alum in The Good Wife. THEN we convince them we want The Good Wife to become a nurse for a change of pace, and then we make them think the best way to introduce this storyline is to just make the whole thing a hospital show, they cancel Greys Anatomy, we get ER back on the air and I can go back to being truly happy.

    CAROL+DOUG4LYFE

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Don't take this the wrong way, but...

    Pity upvote.

  • Nadine

    No, it's okay. I know.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I have an undying man-crush on Dr. Carter, though. I watched The Librarian trilogy for him.

    Well, for him and also for their excellent choice in female costars. Penny from Lost, Gabrielle Anwar and fake-French Stana Katic? Yum.

  • Nadine

    I absolutely hated Carter for every single second he was on the show. Every single second. Well...except for about...four minutes. It was when his baby has died a few weeks before the due date, and there's one scene when Carter walks out into a corridor, sees his father (and they never did agree on anything) and he just totally collapses, he can barely speak, he's like 'daddy' *sob sob sob*, he looks like a nine year old all eleven feet of him. It killed me. I had never actually been anything other than annoyed with him, but that left me sobbing.

    BUT IT IS NOTHING on the final few episodes with Dr Mark Greene. That was just...that was fucking traumatic shit. To this day I am haunted by those episodes.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Those Greene episodes probably define the term gutpunch. They are flat out devastating no matter how many times I see them. The Hawaii one? Ruined ukulele Wizard of Oz covers for me. Granted, it's basically just the one, But. Still.

    I mancrush the Carter, but I just flat out floved Mark Greene.

  • Nieve 'The Threadkiller Queen'

    I am behind you 100% Noodlepie! ER REPRESENT!

  • Sirilicious

    Noodlepie(TM)

    Sirilicious approves of this nickname.

  • Blake

    Alan Tudyk aka “Wash” — “Suburgatory” Tudyk is terrific in Suburgatory along with all of the mentioned above. It also has Allie Grant (Weeds), Maestro Harrell (The Wire), Carly Chaikin and soon Malin Ackerman.

    Next to Parks and Recreation it probably has the best comedy ensemble cast on television ( I'm not including Community or Happy Endings as I consider the casts on those shows to be equals).

    P.S. I love Allie Grant (she steals every scene she is in).

  • Three_nineteen

    I have to mention Jeremy Sisto, because no one else has. He is the anchor of that show. If I had gif powers, I would show you the little shaving montage from the Halloween episode that made me laugh so hard I had to pause the Tivo and then watch it three more times before I finished the episode.

  • JoannaRobinson

    That would be this. Right here. And it killed me too. http://potter-kingdom.tumblr.c...

  • John W

    Don't despair there's a good chance that Enver Gjokai could end up in Agents of SHIELD. I'll be shocked if he isn't.

    Gastmeyer and Parnell steal damn near every scene they're in.

  • Sirilicious

    I'll take that if necessary. I'd prefer to have him star in his own show, but if that would be anything like Castle and such (not a BAD show, love me some Fillion), i guess a bit part on a great and/or Whedon show is better.

    The talent on this guy is bigger than Tony Stark's ego and American Horror Story's crazy combined.

  • annie

    But he was already a little police officer in Whedon's Avengers! Just give him his own show, world. Preferably with Dichen Lachman.

  • JoannaRobinson

    This would make my world.

  • Zirza

    How come Saint Carol of Chicago and MARK GREEN?!ARE YOUR NUTS?! all got to be on really good shows and The Normal One gets to be Drunk Girl In Bar #2?

    Maura Tierney needs to be in more things.

  • She was supposed to be the Lorelai Gilmore role on Parenthood but had to drop out due to health issues (cancer I think) so she's been recuperating

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Maura Tierney stays just busy enough. She tends to choose some nice material.

  • Two words: Rescue Me

  • " Case in point, this season the lovely, smoky Maura Tierney is on hand to flirt with Julianna Margulies (“ER” reunion!) and threaten Chris Noth."

    I think she's going full villain shortly.

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