On Monday night, Christian Slater will put the future of his acting career in the hands of NBC, as they premiere his new action/drama series My Own Worst Enemy. And, with that, Slater becomes the latest 1990s movie star to try and give himself a reboot through the more forgiving environment of drama TV series.
Seemingly every network has a stable of similar stars, from Kyra Sedgwick on TNT (The Closer), to Patricia Arquette also on NBC (Medium), to James Spader on ABC (Boston Legal), to Jennifer Love Hewitt on CBS (The Ghost Whisperer), to the recently canceled Anthony Michael Hall on USA (The Dead Zone). And, what about the CSI or Law and Order franchises? Those shows are a parade of second chances for former big-screen regulars, especially when it comes to original CSI star William Petersen. Petersen’s lagging movie career didn’t matter, as soon as he toplined the most successful TV franchise of the last few years.
How do many remember William Petersen back in his film days? His early successes with Manhunter or To Live and Die in L.A.? Maybe, but his last truly memorable screen role was arguably in 1990, as the legendary Pat Garrett in Young Guns II, which also featured a young star-on-the-rise named Christian Slater. Which is appropriate, considering that the casts of Young Guns and Young Guns II somehow seem poised to benefit the most from the TV-drama playground.
The “Young Guns Resurrection” in TV extends far beyond these two actors. Perhaps the two greatest examples, would be Kiefer Sutherland (both Young Guns films) and Charlie Sheen (Young Guns). Sutherland came out of virtual obscurity with the help of an immensely popular show called 24. Thanks to his Emmy-winning portrayal of agent Jack Bauer, audiences have practically washed away the memory of his suffering movie career. The same is true for Sheen, thanks to the sensational success of a truly awful sitcom called Two and a Half Men. Sheen went fron the gutter of making straight-to-DVD movies with none other than Bret Michaels, to becoming network television’s highest-paid sitcom star. Not bad.
Then, there’s Young Guns II co-star Balthazar Getty, who has found new life on ABC’s family drama Brothers & Sisters. He’s also in the tabloids for breaking up his marriage for Sienna Miller, but we won’t even bother delving into the personal lives of the Young Guns alum. That could be its own movie. So, as Christian Slater boldly goes where many of his fellow Guns have gone before, who might be next? Emilio Estevez? My money is on Lou Diamond Phillips.