5 Actors Who Need Their Own Shows

Actors collage

Now that pilot season is upon us, the networks are busy snatching up actors to join the casts of their prospective new comedies and dramas. Much of the casting news has been of the decidedly awesome variety so far. I was particularly giddy to find out Mindy Kaling had landed the lead role on a sitcom that will be vying for a place on the Fox lineup in the fall. Other talented actors that may soon return to our television screens include Sarah Chalke, Terry O’Quinn and Judy Greer.

The excitement of pilot season naturally got me to thinking about actors who are in dire need of their own shows. Some actors are born to lead, and it is way past time for the five actors I’ve singled out below to have their shot. I avoided actors who currently have a full-time television role (even though a strong case could be made for Maya Rudolph getting a sitcom to call her own) in favor of frequent guest stars and actors whose shows/steady gigs have recently ended. With more casting news rolling in everyday, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be seeing a few more familiar names before pilot season wraps up for another year.

1. Josh Holloway

Josh Holloway

Holloway spent six seasons playing the lovable rogue Sawyer on Lost before heading to Hollywood to try his luck in films when the show ended. While I wish him nothing but the best with his movie career, I can’t stop myself from hoping the right television project will come along to woo him back to the small screen. During his time on Lost, Holloway’s unparalleled charisma turned his character into a fan favorite. Go back and watch the Sawyer-centric episodes, it is impossible to look away from Holloway when he is on screen. He has all the charm and swagger of a bona fide leading man, all he’s missing now is the show to go along with it.

2. Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

How is it possible that Kristen Schaal doesn’t have her own sitcom yet? Her mixture of unrestrained enthusiasm and ability to make even the most manic of fans seem lovable should be endorsement enough. Not to mention the part where the woman is tireless. She routinely pops up in movies and television shows and always manages to make them roughly 99% better just by being there. She’s currently in the midst of a guest stint on 30 Rock in a role that is reminiscent of her character, Mel from Flight of the Conchords. While I would never turn down the chance to see Tina Fey and Kristen Schaal on the same show, I would be much happier to see Schaal break away from the Misery-ish supporting roles she keeps being offered and headline a project that’s all her own instead.

3. Misha Collins

misha collins

I’ll admit it: I was never a fan of the Heaven vs. Hell story on Supernatural, but one good thing did come out of the show’s descent down that particular angst-filled rabbit hole: Misha Collins. The man’s versatility is astonishing. By my calculations he has played roughly five different variations of his character (including Jimmy and an alternate universe version of himself) to date and made each one feel like a distinct and separate character. There is a raw, transformative quality to his performance that just sucks you in. Now that Supernatural appears to be winding down, I would love to see Collins find a project that continued to challenge him as a performer. My dream pick would be the new Abrams/Kripke co-production Revolution, but something tells me Collins would fit right in on an edgy cable show too.

4. Connie Britton

connie britton

The first Connie Britton project I ever watched was unfortunately American Horror Story, and while I’m not at all sure that was the best place for me to start my Britton education, it did instill in me a desire to see her take her rightful place as a leading lady. Britton’s past two roles have both found her playing a supporting role in a large ensemble cast, and that’s fine because she is clearly amazing at it, she even elevated the insanity on American Horror Story with her graceful performance, but it is past time for her to take center stage. She has a screen presence that exudes calm and strength– not at all unlike current leading ladies Glenn Close and Kyra Sedgwick. I find it baffling that no one has built a series completely around her. Get on that, Hollywood.

5. Enver Gjokaj

enver gjokaj

Everyone who has seen Dollhouse just started nodding their heads. The rest of you are probably wondering who this guy is. To understand what is so special about Gjokaj you really need to have seen Joss Whedon’s short-lived Fox series. Like Collins, Gjokaj’s greatest strength is his versatility. He can play anything, literally, anything at all, and he plays everything brilliantly. Twice over the course of the series he was tasked with taking on the roles of his castmates and both times he so thoroughly became their characters that it was almost unnerving. Joss Whedon often brings out the best in actors, but Gjokaj may just be the most naturally talented actor to ever appear on one of his shows. What kind of show would I like to see him on? It doesn’t matter, I honestly believe there is not a role out there he couldn’t pull off.


Now it’s your turn. Which actors would you like to see headlining their own shows? Is there any casting news that has you counting down the days until the series pickups are announced in May? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman