You’d think the ensemble cast for Argo could not be challenged, but that would be a mistake. At every location, meeting, and level of government, Zero Dark Thirty is populated by familiar faces. And interestingly, many (not all) of these actors are prominently known for their television roles.
Jessica Chastain: She’s amazing. And while she is starring in basically every film that comes out these days, some people (like me!) might remember her role as Veronica Mars’s disappeared pregnant neighbor in the season one episode “The Girl Next Door.”
Jason Clarke: I associated Jason Clarke with his starring role on the defunct show, The Chicago Code. I championed that show until the bitter end, so I hope Jason Clarke at least gets a big film career as a consolation prize. Bonus!: I remember where I saw him most recently: in Texas Killing Fields being hunted by…Jessica Chastain.
Kyle Chandler: He really wins this year because he is also in Argo. Of course, his prominent television role is Friday Night Lights (I know, I know, I need to watch) but I can’t help but constantly think of his stint on Grey’s Anatomy. Remember how that one time there was a bomb and Kyle Chandler needed to diffuse it?
Jennifer Ehle: I honestly can’t look at her without thinking about her role opposite Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.
Harold Perrineau: Lost. Oz. Sons of Anarchy. The Unusuals. (And Wedding Band? Sorry, Wedding Band fans — it’s a goner.)
Mark Strong: You might know him from every film ever, but his role in Kick-Ass sticks out to me.
Jessica Collins: One of those, “don’t I know her from something?” The answer must be I know her from Rubicon. Yet another show I watched to the bitter end. It really just served to prove that AMC can and will ax shows.
Fredric Lehne: You may know him from every television show ever: American Horror Story: Asylum, Lost, Supernatural, etc. Seriously, he is the epitome of the character actor.
Mark Duplass: How can you not love him?? He’s making his mark on TV (The League, The Mindy Project) and in film (Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister’s Sister).
James Gandolfini: Tony Soprano himself!
Stephen Dillane: You may also know him from everything in the world but these days I tend to shout out (mentally) “Stannis!” whenever I see him. So, Game of Thrones but also Hunted, John Adams, etc.
John Barrowman: a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, as well as his recent gig on CW’s Arrow. Singer, actor, host and all-around constant personality…in Zero Dark Thirty. Randomly great.
Joel Edgerton: Discussion of all other roles must be preempted because I just discovered (remembered/had a flashback to) the fact he is “young” Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels. I instantly seized upon a mental image of the trading card I have (yes, I collected Star Wars cards but I was waaay more into my Lord of the Rings collection…) and knew this to be true. And then my mind exploded. I guess I should quit wondering where this Joel Edgerton guy came from if he has actually been on the fringes all these years.
Chris Pratt: Parks and Recreation! But before Parks and Rec, my thought would have been Everwood! Wow, that really takes me back…
Taylor Kinney: This guy pops up on The Vampire Diaries, then starts dating Lady GaGa, and now has a starring role in Chicago Fire. So I imagine he made some kind of deal with the devil.
Christopher Stanley: Honorable mention since whenever I see him I can only think of Mad Men; “Henry Francis.”
Mark Valley: Human Target, Fringe, Boston Legal, and Body of Proof apparently, etc. All I can think about for some reason when I see him is that he was married to Anna Torv. But not any longer…
The years since Trainspotting have seen the primary cast flirting with both film and television roles. But has there ever been a time before now when you could see so many of them in one episodic week?
Jonny Lee Miller — First appeared on network television as the star of Eli Stone. He guested on Dexter before landing Sherlock Holmes in CBS’ Elementary (which just got a full season pick-up).
Kevin McKidd — On television, he first found success with HBO’s Rome. He led the cast of the short-lived Journeyman, before finding permanent residency (and the top gig of Chief) at Seattle Grace on Grey’s Anatomy as Owen Hunt.
Robert Carlyle — Also acting steadily, his previous television job was on SyFy’s Stargate Universe (SGU). He quickly followed that up with his role as Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon a Time.
Kelly Macdonald — Kelly Macdonald breaks the mold of network television by appearing on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, along with numerous films this year alone.
Of course, had HBO picked up The Corrections, we would’ve also had Ewan McGregor on television for the first time (in a permanent role).
Ewen Bremner, you ask?
It has become clear to me the only thing that holds my attention on Grey’s Anatomy now is Kevin McKidd. Let’s just call it “Hunt’s Anatomy.” Oy, [insert your own joke here about his “anatomy.”]
I have never been so close to wanting to call it quits with Grey’s Anatomy. And I promise, I do not say that lightly. Grey’s seems hell bent on sticking to a formula that has an utter disregard for characters that are not staffers at Seattle Grace. I wish that I could separate out what feelings are my love of Scott Foley as Henry versus some other actor but that is all moot. My present bitterness may have roots in this version of the character:
But the “shocking” death of Henry on Grey’s raises a complaint I have had against Grey’s for a while: it is too predictable in its minor character dismissals. I don’t know the details, and maybe Scott really wanted to be free of Grey’s to be prepared for True Blood but after the epicness of the Henry/Teddy romance last season, I feel like I invested a lot of emotion in something that in the end, wasn’t worth it. Especially for it to be thrown away to heighten the drama on a mid-season finale. For me, it would have been much more satisfying for Henry to go to med school (a decision that would involve his own life becoming over the top busy…and a reason for a prolonged absence from the show that doesn’t involve death). And in saying this I don’t want to cheapen the performance that Kevin McKidd gave in the episode; it was pitch perfectly heartbreaking to watch the scene where he lies to Teddy.
I have seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy so I am no stranger to the idea that this is not something new. Which is precisely the problem. The Denny Duquette death was earned by the writers of Grey’s. I didn’t want it to happen; I am pretty sure I fell in love with him right along with Izzy. But his death didn’t feel contrived and while I waltzed into school heartbroken the next day, it was that type of drama that put Grey’s Anatomy on the map.
So as the seasons progressed, us fans knew not to get too invested in some patients or even major cast members. And we also knew that typically the person with the minor injuries would succumb to some unknown problem and the person teetering on death would miraculously survive.
I have always been a fan of the Grey’s finale in particular. If anything, Denny’s death in Season 2 set the bar for the standards in which the finales could be judged. I will forever be impressed with George’s death: all signs pointed to T.R. Knight exiting the show by joining the military and the shocking realization that George was the horribly disfigured hero in the Season 5 finale (when he outlines ‘007’ it hit me like a ton of bricks) was horribly fantastic. And the shooter storyline in Season 6’s finale was equal parts tension and horror, all in all a great finale.
After all of that, it seemed natural to me that last season’s finale was a bit more contained and that its shocker relied solely on the ramifications of Meredith’s decision to mess with Derek’s clinical trial and Alex’s betrayal…especially after Grey’s hit a creative renaissance. Another big payoff was the return of James Tupper to mess with Teddy and Henry’s almost relationship. Teddy realized she was in love with Henry and all was well in the world. Except this is Grey’s and now after ALL of that, Henry is also dead.
This is a television show that thrives on drama, and the rules dictate that mid-season finales must take it to the next level. I have accepted all of the creative decisions of Grey’s writers in the past, but this time it feels unnecessary and downright cruel. In an episode where you also have Alex and Meredith with a newborn baby stuck in overturned ambulance that may or may not explode, there was plenty of drama to go around. His death gave brilliant scenes to Kevin McKidd, Kim Raver (unknowingly), and Sandra Oh and the ramifications will surely play out for the rest of the season. But the fact that the Grey’s track record (and ominous writing surrounding the event) made me positive Henry’s death would be the end result of this episode, makes me earn for a new, more unpredictable method of delivering the drama.