Ten Actors Who Deserve Their Own Shows

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Today we heard the unfortunate news that HBO has passed on Spring/Fall, the half-hour comedy pilot that had Téa Leoni as fashion industry type in New York. While the concept isn't that enticing (fashion, ho hum, been there), Leoni is a wily and engaging actress who deserves her own show, especially one on a prestige network like HBO. So somebody give her one! And give one to her costar, Hope Davis, and these other eight actors too. Take note, television! We have some suggestions.

Téa Leoni

The pleasantly acerbic Leoni stars as Lily Diamond, the daughter and heir of the head of a big, polluting energy concern who struggles to prove that her company isn't evil. Though as she gets to know the company more, she realizes that it kind of is. 30 Rock meets Enlightened in Diamond in the Rough, co-starring Bradley Whitford.

Hope Davis

Davis, who comes across wise and gentle but can also be surprisingly tough, stars in the thoughtful police drama Aleut as Det. Moira Hale, a policewoman based in Unalaska, AK, who investigates crimes along the Aleutian Island chain. A secret drinker, Moira must hide her problem while dealing with the harshness of the climate and, occasionally, the people. Co-starring John Hawkes as her main antagonist/love interest and Moon Bloodgood as her beautiful deputy, an Aleut native named Fox. 

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Bill Irwin

Known mostly to theater audiences and to those who saw his fine work as an emotional dad in Rachel Getting Married, now the actor stars as Damian Nichols in From the Bottom as a once-lauded theater actor and director who is forced to return to his sleepy Pennsylvania hometown and open an adult education acting school after a string of embarrassing New York flops. Here Irwin is part Corky St. Clair and part Glee's Mr. Schue in twenty years as he educates his ragtag group of students (among them Illeana Douglas, Jeffrey Tambor, and Broadway's Matt Doyle) in the art of being someone else.

Will Forte

Wiggly, weird SNL alum Forte stars as Jim Dink in Play Things, a dark comedy series about a perpetually sunny and upbeat school teacher who also owns, somewhat secretly, a fetish store. His school world and his retail world regularly collide as he struggles to make ends meet and pursues the woman of his dreams, played by Eastbound & Down's Jennifer Irwin. Jean Smart recurs as his school's hard-charging, and fetish store frequenting, principal.

Minnie Driver

Tenacious Oscar nominee Driver is Cockney crime boss Fiona Drangham in the gritty, but often quite funny, crime series Cheapside. Fiona must struggle to hold onto her territory as other gangs and, even worse, gentrifying young hipster-types encroach. Ray Winstone recurs as Fiona's gruff uncle and Misfits' Lauren Socha plays Fiona's screw-up daughter, Roz.

Samm Levine

The beloved suave dork from Freaks & Geeks returns to series television in Rogues, about a Detroit band of misfit not-so-merry men who decide they want to do the work of Robin Hood by robbing from the rich and giving to the city's many poor (themselves included). It's Tower Heist with a way higher body count, as Levine's character, Marion Sherwood, leads the gang into grimmer and grimmer situations.

Christine Taylor

Known mostly as Ben Stiller's wife, the Brady Bunch Movie and Hey Dude actress finally gets her own leading role on Human Resources, starring as Becky Black, a perky HR manager who also enjoys fatally poisoning anyone who gets in her way and then selling their organs. Taylor is a modern-day Mrs. Lovett in this midnight-black comedy that's Serial Mom meets Dexter meets Office Space. Also starring Catherine O'Hara as Becky's harridan mother (who she just can't kill) and Paul Schneider as a love interest who just happens to be a homicide detective.

Rick Moranis

Moranis comes out of retirement to star as Phil Glump, a sadsack divorcee who moves into his college-age son's apartment after his house burns down in a microwave fire. The series progresses as Moranis starts taking classes at the college, rebuilds his relationship with his son (Dan Byrd), and courts a woman (Geena Davis!) who is a human sexuality professor at the college. Generations mix and love is found in the strangest of places in Boomerang Days.

Mary Stuart Masterson

Tomboy queen of the '80s and '90s, Masterson makes a comeback playing the title character in Abby Marconi, about a dedicated surgeon who also acts as a mob doctor for her brother (Pablo Schreiber) and his fellow gangsters. The high-profile world of specialized surgery mixes with the underground workings of organized crime in this emotional thriller series.

Bess Armstrong

Just bring back My So-Called Life and everyone's happy.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.