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When favorite actors go into so-so shows: Sela Ward, Nathan Fillion and others, you deserve better

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The news this week that Sela Ward would be joining the cast of CSI: NY left some of us very ambivalent. Reactions ranged from, “I love Sela Ward; so glad she got the job!” to “How unfair for Sela — that’s the best job she could get?” Count me in the latter camp; the radiant woman who starred in the glorious Once and Again should not be co-starring in the weakest, bleakest of the CSI franchises.

This is a common dilemma for TV watchers of every sort. If you are a devoted fan of the cult fave Firefly, I don’t think it’s possible to look at the perfectly pleasant Castle and believe, deep down, that Nathan Fillion is doing work that’s worthy of him.

And, sorry, How I Met Your Mother and Forgetting Sarah Marshall just don’t showcase Jason Segel’s talents the way his double-shot of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared did. (Only his reunion with Judd Apatow in Knocked Up comes close, but you’ll never convince me that even a funny film like Knocked is superior to F&G.)

What do all of my examples have in common? Obviously, all the actors I’ve cited emerged from quality shows that were low-rated, relatively quickly canceled, series. The more-admired shows were critics’ darlings, the more dubious of you might say.

I understand the business side to this. Actors need to feed and clothe themselves; there are only so many jobs around, and are hard to come by. And who among us does not want the security of steady employment?

Still, think about it. Whatever TV show Kyle Chandler or Connie Britton might move on to once Friday Night Lights ends its run, isn’t it likely that both I and you will be moaning, “But that show isn’t worthy of his/her talent!”?

Do you agree? Disagree? What other actors are in shows that simply aren’t worthy of their talents?

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