Kevin Bacon (“The Following”) should be on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“The Following” revolves around a truly boring serial killer being hunted by incompetent police: The villain is a comic mess of character who whines too much, and his pretentious quips never quite land right and his on-screen presence gets rather tedious after a while. Bacon is too good for this. Hell, the man is an icon and can potentially be connected to every working individual in Hollywood. There’s got to be greener pastures for the stallion that set our hearts on fire in such films as “Footloose” and “Apollo 13.” Our solution? The Golden Globe winner needs to shift gears and get back on the comedy trail. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is the place to be. He’d fit right in and wouldn’t even have to change his character name. He can simply “get a transfer” from one fictional FOX police department to another. Simple enough, and then Kevin’s just one of the fellas hanging with Scully and Hitchcock and cracking jokes with Jake Peralta.
ABC’s “Nashville” isn’t the worst show on television, but it’s hardly a high-profile series; as well-written as it might be, thanks to Oscar-winning creator Callie Khouri, it’ll always be stuck in the prime-time soap ghetto. And star Connie Britton, who was such a vibrant presence on “Friday Night Lights,” is thus stuck singing country tunes and feuding with Hayden Panettiere on a weekly basis. Britton deserves greater attention, though — which is why getting an opportunity to join the diverse and exciting cast of “Orange is the New Black” would give her an opportunity to not only show off her range, but maybe garner some awards attention. After all, five of the women of Litchfield Prison are now Emmy nominees for their work on the Netflix series, each playing a character unique to the realm of media. Presented with a similar chance, Britton could be unstoppable.
Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”) should be on “Veep”
No one can fault any member of “The Big Bang Theory” cast for hanging onto the show this long. It draws a massive audience and continues to make everyone involved with it very, very rich. Heck, Jim Parsons has even managed to steal three Emmys while cruising through seven seasons on the CBS cornerstone. But it’s not a good show. While Parsons has been reaping (undeserved) praise from it, the show’s female lead has gone all but unnoticed (other than for her obvious physical attributes). The best to come of it for Cuoco was a Critics Choice Award in 2013 — and that includes roles she’s snagged in other productions. While the CCA proves she’s got some respect within the industry, nothing of note jumps out on Cuoco’s resume, including the upcoming Kevin Hart comedy “The Wedding Ringer” (which has a January release). Let’s change that. Cuoco could immediately increase her prestige factor by appearing on HBO’s ruthless, lauded comedy. She’s proven her chops with sarcastic banter throughout “The Big Bang Theory’s” lengthy run, and it would be fun to see her turn truly ferocious when thrown into Armando Ianucci’s world of backstabbing politics. Perhaps she could play a rival political strategist, infuriating Amy and seducing Dan only to destroy him. No matter the role, it would be a relief to see her running lines that had nothing to do with (very limited) nerd culture.
While “House of Lies” hasn’t gotten attacked by critics in the same way some of the other shows on this list have, we don’t think it is the right place for Cheadle to express his proven talents, and “House of Cards” isn’t just the answer because of their similar names. Cheadle’s presence as an actor is unique. He has an uncanny ability to ooze confidence (when he switches this off we feel the discomfort, which made his performance in “Hotel Rwanda” so moving). Cheadle is an excellent deliverer of dialogue, but he also says a lot with his demeanor. In “House of Cards,” he could play the sort of moralistic rival who can really go toe-to-toe with Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, saying with only his body language and distinctive smirk, “You might not know I’m right, but I do, and that’s all that matters.”
Nathon Fillion (“Castle”) should be on “Community” or “Parks and Recreation”
Let’s be clear: “Castle” is one of the best shows on ABC. It’s not one of the best shows on television, though, and it’s not actually a good show if you remove the one element currently elevating its status: Nathan Fillion. His effortless charm, humor and general personality make the central, titular figure of “Castle” a pillar on which everyone else clamors to climb. But they can’t. Even his partner and endearing love interest Beckett pales in comparison, despite a complicated history and fierce demeanor. She’s the perfect foil, but nothing more. The show will occasionally drag Fillion down into its one-note drama, like when his daughter was kidnapped in a cheap “Taken” knock off — those movie homages only work when they’re silly (Fillion as Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window” is a highlight), and that’s the point here. Nathan Fillion needs to be on a comedy. Honestly, as long as it’s good, he could fit in anywhere (as he’s proven with “Much Ado About Nothing”). He made an all-too-short guest appearance on “Community” last year, and one season wouldn’t really be enough on the final year of “Parks and Recreation.” Either, though, would be a proper showcase for the man’s considerable talents, just as “Firefly” was oh so many years ago.
Famke Janssen is a campy, sexy riot in Netflix’s horror series “Hemlock Grove.” Sadly, she’s the only good thing about it. The Eli Roth-produced series started out strong in its pilot episode but sputtered out quickly in its subsequent episodes thanks to its nonsensical plot and shoddy production values. But Janssen, best remembered as Xenia Onatopp, the baddest Bond girl there ever was, would kill it on a show like NBC’s epically gruesome procedural show “Hannibal.” The show’s icy/cool tone is the perfect match for that same very quality Janssen brings to every performance.
Now that the atrocity that was NBC’s “Dracula” has been cancelled, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is free to take his perfectly-coifed self to another period piece. Meyers played a fabulously smarmy Henry VIII in Showtime’s “The Tudors” and tried to bring some of that magic to “Dracula,” but the show’s network limitations surely restricted some of the necessary violence and sex that a truly great Dracula series requires. Look no further than “Game of Thrones,” Mr. Rhys Meyers! How delectable would he be as a villain on HBO’s saga of dangers and dragons, set in a fantasy world of violence and unbridled nudity?
Ian Somerhalder (“The Vampire Diaries”) should be on “The Leftovers”
There’s no denying that the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” is campy fun, but smolder holder Ian Somehalder is actually way more talented than the sultry, brooding vampire he plays on the show. Given that the fate of his character, Damon Salvatore, is (spoiler alert) sort of up in the air at this point (or should we say on the other side?), Somerhalder might be in a prime spot to exit the show. Its fervent fans would no doubt riot were that to happen, but that doesn’t mean that Somerhalder can’t make an appearance on something a little more suited to his dramatic chops. And what better place to stretch those muscles than on HBO’s “The Leftovers”? Not only is Somerhalder’s brooding ability a perfect fit for the gloomy series, but his previous relationship with “Leftovers” showrunner Damon Lindelof on “Lost” could allow for a swift deal to be made for either a guest spot or a series role. Boone, Somerhalder’s character on “Lost,” was taken away too soon, but perhaps the duo can make magic happen once again.
90s star Madeleine Stowe (“Last of the Mohicans,” “12 Monkeys”) experienced a career setback in the new millennium, barely appearing in anything save for some TV movies and forgettable features. But she made a huge comeback in ABC’s hit show “Revenge” as Hamptons Queen Bee Victoria Grayson, arch rival to the show’s heroine Emily Thorne (played by Emily VanCamp). The show was good, saucy fun for its first season, but in its subsequent two seasons “Revenge” has lost its luster and become a confusing bore. So has Stowe’s character. The same fate hasn’t befallen “Scandal,” another ABC drama. Shonda Rhimes’ political soap has only gotten more confident as its progressed, and her characters more nuanced. It’s hard to imagine “Revenge,” entering its fourth season this September, without Stowe, but she’d be better served on “Scandal,” a show built for strong women like her.
[Casey Cipriani, Nigel. M. Smith, Liz Shannon Miller, Ben Travers, Oliver McMahon and Brandon Latham contributed to this list.]