It’s a great time to be a TV viewer. There are more channels than ever and the increasing popularity of viewing shows on the web has almost made the term “television show” a misnomer since a lot of web apps have started creating their own content. Shows that were once popular on television have even avoided cancellation after finding new life on an internet streaming service. There is a little something for everyone these days, and a show doesn’t necessarily need massive ratings to be considered a “hit” anymore. A lot of people are even watching shows after they’ve already aired on services like Netflix, in some cases creating a revival or at least giving a show considered a dud by the networks “hit” status.
Before this wonderful era a show had to pull in a lot more viewers to be considered a hit. This makes it quite surprising that despite so many more people tuning into a show years ago, that so many of us forget an actor or actresses early work in other hit shows. If you are one of these people that don’t eat, breathe, and sleep pop culture, fear not! We have compiled a list of twelve actors and actresses in current hit series that had roles in the hit shows you may have forgotten.
12. Nicholas D’Agosto
Nicholas D’Agosto just recently joined the cast of Fox’s new hit series Gotham. Gotham tells the tales of a young Commissioner Gordon working in the fictional city during the years before Bruce Wayne takes on the role of Batman. In the series, D’Agosto plays District Attorney Harvey Dent, the man destined to become the villain known as Two-Face.
In his years before Gotham, D’Agosto has been a part of two other hit series. He has been featured on The Office as Jan Levinson’s personal assistant and quite possibly one-time-lover. Before his stint on The Office, Nicholas played West Rosen, the flying boy, on the second season of NBC’s Heroes.
11. Mark Addy
SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have yet to watch or read Game of Thrones, the following segment will contain spoilers.
Mark Addy is one of those actors that you see all over film and television, but he has such an “everyman” appearance that you can never quite remember where you’ve seen him. Addy starred in HBO’s Game of Thrones as Robert Baratheon, the king whose death triggers the actual “game of thrones” that everyone has become completely obsessed with.
Like most of the male actors in the series, Addy is hardly recognizable as his Game of Thrones character without his beard. You might remember him as Bill Miller, the father in the CBS family sit-com Still Standing.
10. Michael Weatherly
Michael Weatherly plays Agent Anthony DiNozzo on the CBS crime drama NCIS. The show is currently in its twelfth season and is arguably the most popular show on television. It almost always tops the ratings and nabs more viewers than any other show currently airing, even those it doesn’t air up against.
What some viewers may not know is that NCIS was actually a spin-off of the popular JAG series in which Weatherly also appeared as DiNozzo for a brief time. Outside of this nearly forgotten connection, Weatherly also played Logan Cale in James Cameron’s Dark Angel, a cult Sci-Fi/Action series that put Jessica Alba on the map.
9. Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman has made the move into film and doesn’t do much television these days, but if anything put the former child actor back on the map it was his role as Michael Bluth, the straight-man to his highly dysfunctional family in the series Arrested Development. The series gained most of its popularity on Netflix and DVD after it was canceled in its third season, but the new rise in popularity helped the show find a new home as a Netflix original series.
Many probably don’t realize how long Bateman has actually been in the acting game. When he was young he played David Hogan, one of the sons in the popular series Valerie that ran for over 100 episodes. Going further back, he also played the character of James Cooper Ingalls in the classic Little House on the Prairie.
8. Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Jurnee Smollett-Bell has virtually no resemblance to herself from her days as a child actor. The actress has most recently been a part of three very popular and acclaimed series. She played the character of supernatural rights crusader Nicole Wright in True Blood, Heather Hall in Parenthood, and Jess Merriweather in Friday Night Lights. Needless to say, she’s keeping busy.
Now, let me take you all the way back to the early 1990’s. You may just remember a very young Jurnee playing Michelle Tanner’s best friend Denise in later seasons of the mega-popular family sit-com Full House. Perhaps she’ll come back for the upcoming revival of the series.
7. Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion has grown in popularity since taking on the lead role of Richard Castle in ABC’s popular crime drama Castle. Fillion also has a degree of popularity in the world of cult classics for his role as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the short-lived Firefly series from Joss Whedon.
Before working with Whedon on Firefly, Fillion actually had a role in the much more popular Whedon series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the seventh and final season of the hit series, Fillion played Caleb, the not-so-Christian serial killer preacher who worked with The First Evil in an attempt to end the line of the slayer.
6. Liza Weil
How to Get Away with Murder, a new crime drama from ABC, appears to be the next big hit for the network. The show is loved by both critics and general viewers and it shows in the ratings.
How to Get Away with Murder focuses on a group of law students and their professor as they become entangled in a murder plot. Liza Weil plays the character of dedicated associate Bonnie Winterbottom. You might not recognize her as such, but Liza played the role of Paris Geller, Rory Gilmore’s “frenemy” at the Chilton Prep School in the popular Gilmore Girls series from CW.
5. David Mazouz
David Mazouz might only be 13-years-old, but he’s already been a part of two very popular series. Mazouz can currently be seen on the new hit Gotham as a young Bruce Wayne in a B-story that runs alongside the exploits of a young James Gordon before he gains his title of Commissioner. In the series, Bruce begins to try and unravel the mystery of his parent’s murder and gets his first lessons in combat.
Before his role in Gotham, Mazouz was a part of the U.S. version of The Office. He played the son to Robert California, a strange and imposing character portrayed by James Spader in the seasons that followed the departure of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott.
4. Adam Scott
Adam Scott has been seen in a number of films and television series but his most current and possibly most notable work in television is his role of Ben Wyatt in the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. Scott hasn’t been with the show since the start of its seven season run, but he has easily become one of the show’s most central characters.
A fun fact that many may not remember about Scott is his role in the very popular and long-running sit-com Boy Meets World. For a few episodes, resident bully Harley Keiner had left the school and his cronies needed a new leader. This is perfectly timed with the arrival of the mysterious and enigmatic new student Griffin Hawkins. Scott’s Hawkins wasn’t just a bully character, but more or less a student that just seemed to play by his own rules and could easily bamboozle the faculty at John Adams High.
Griffin Hawkins / Parks and Rec
3. Vincent Kartheiser
Vincent Kartheiser currently plays the role of advertising executive Pete Campbell on the popular and acclaimed series Mad Men from AMC. In fact, the AMC network has recently become quite the treasure trove for excellent and popular programming since it kicked the trend off with Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
A fun fact that a lot of people don’t remember is that Vincent played Connor, the son of the titular vampire in the popular series Angel from Joss Whedon. A lot of people probably don’t remember this by choice since the arrival of a teenage Connor after we had just seen him as a baby the episode prior marked a brief dip in quality for the series as they were dealing with the pregnancy and planned departure of actress Charisma Carpenter around the same time. The arrival of the new character and writing a lead character out of the show led to some rather strange episodes in the mid-era seasons of the show.
2. Courtney Cox
After a huge success as Monica Geller on Friends, Courtney Cox became involved with another popular sit-com called Cougar Town. The show was popular enough that when it was cancelled by its first network, TBS picked it back up almost immediately and continues to air new episodes to date.
Obviously we’re not going to try and pass off her role in Friends as a role you might not remember since everyone remembers Friends and the show still sees a lot of reruns across a number of channels. The popular series you may not remember Cox from is the classic sit-com Family Ties. Cox played Lauren Miller, the girlfriend to Michael J. Fox’s Alex P. Keaton for almost 20 episodes.
Cougar Town / Family Ties
1. Max Greenfield
Max Greenfield has caused quite a buzz with his role as the character Schmidt in the popular Fox comedy New Girl. Greenfield has been nominated for a number of high-profile awards for his work in the show as the resident “douche bag” in a loft apartment he shares with his three friends and “new girl” Jessica Day.
A few of you might not remember that Greenfield was in the popular Veronica Mars series as well. He played Deputy Leo, one of few Neptune police officers that didn’t give Veronica’s PI father a hard time. Leo would also become Veronica’s love interest for a short time. Mars wasn’t that popular when it first aired as the series was canceled after just three seasons, but a new-found interest in the show and its stars led to a theatrical continuation of the series and a series of books as well.
Officer Leo Veronica Mars / New Girl Schmidt