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Why Tom Cruise Should Make the Migration to Television — Very Good TV Podcast

"American Made" and "The Mummy" made for a disappointing summer on the big screen, so is now the time for Tom Cruise to go small?

Tom Cruise The Mummy

Universal Pictures

Remember the time when an actor was perceived to be taking a fall when moving from the big screen to the small screen? Well, thankfully, those times are gone and we can see A-listers grace all screens without judgement. Just look at the gang from “Big Little Lies” or Dwayne Johnson in “Ballers.” And yet there are still some actors that have not (yet) dipped their toes in television and the crucial question is: Should they even try?

Tom Cruise — whose most recent film, “American Made,” just debuted in the No. 2 spot during a particularly slow box office weekend — is the actor in question for this week’s Very Good TV Podcast. IndieWire’s TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers weigh in on the pros and cons of Tom Cruise trying out television.

Cruise is a quality actor, and proof of that can be seen in his exceptional performances from movies like Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia.” So one could argue the ideal scenario is pairing him with a filmmaker who pushes and challenges him; perhaps he could make a “Mildred Pierce”-esque HBO miniseries with a director who inspires him as much as Todd Haynes inspired Kate Winslet. Maybe someone from his past, like Paul Thomas Anderson, can lure him to a passion project only suitable for the small screen.

But such an idea seems unlikely due to his latest career choices. With boffo box office for “Mission Impossible” movies, Cruise can’t be feeling too pressured to try out more intimate character studies again. Even with “The Mummy” tanking and “American Made” failing to be the R-rated “Top Gun” hit many had hoped, he’s still making an actual “Top Gun” sequel instead of trying out challenging, original work. Maybe the only way the move to TV can happen is if Netflix gives him a ton of money to make whatever he wants? Who knows? It might even involve VR.

In any case, one question resonates: If you were to put Tom Cruise in a TV show, where would you put him? Listen to the podcast above to find out what Liz and Ben think, and be sure to leave comments below or e-mail the hosts directly.

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