News Column

10 to watch: New TV season features new crop of young talent

October 19, 2013


Oct. 19--Another year, another new TV season, another batch of new actors.

The networks have been launching their new programs since early September, and there are six more new shows you haven't yet seen. But, there was no way of waiting until Nov. 8, when FOX finally launches "Enlisted," to announce this year's list of the most promising actors on new shows. Several of the new shows will likely be gone by November.

As always, this list of potential stars doesn't include performers like Robin Williams on "The Crazy Ones," who launched a huge film career while away from network television. I'm looking for those with little or no TV exposure.

This will be the 16th fall TV season where I've selected 10 actors to watch. Some of my predictions have been on target, such as the 2003 pick Amber Tamblyn for "Joan of Arcadia" or the 2007 selection of Jim Parsons on "The Big Bang Theory." No need to talk about the misses.

Last year was a bad year: Only four of the 10 shows that produced last year's Top 10 are still on the air. The surviving shows include "Arrow," which features Stephen Amell from last year's list.

Here's the 2013 list:

Megan Boone, "The Blacklist," on NBC: James Spader's getting all of the attention playing creepy criminal Raymond Reddington, but it's Boone's work as Elizabeth Keen that's the key to the show. Just like she's the young agent who's the link between the master criminal and the FBI, she's the link between the show and the audience. Her past work includes the short-lived "Law & Order: LA."

Sadie Calvano, "Mom," on CBS: Despite only minor credits on shows such as "Kickin' It" and "Melissa & Joey," Calvano proves an acting equal to her co-stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney.

Joseph Haro, "Welcome to the Family," on NBC: This series about two families forced together by their children having a baby is full of big actors, who will get the lion's share of scenes. Haro's role is as the calming force, and he handles that job well. Past work includes MTV's "Awkward" and FOX's "Glee," as part of the Warblers.

Adelaide Kane, "Reign," on CW: The Australian actor, who previously starred on "Power Rangers R.P.M.," has a formidable task. Not only must she provide the teen angst that's a mainstay of CW programming, she has to do it in a period series about Mary, Queen of Scots. She's going to make people love history.

Peyton List, "The Tomorrow People," on CW: In playing Cara, List shows her versatility as she goes from portraying Jane Sterling in the '60s set "Mad Men" to starring in this sci-fi series. She shows a toughness that will make this character popular.

Sophie Lowe, "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," on ABC: The British actress is being introduced to an American audience with the biggest role in the series, Alice. She needs to find a way to make Alice different than other portrayals to be interesting.

Tom Mison, "Sleepy Hollow," on FOX: The British actor brings just the right mix of emotional determination and skittish curiosity to his performance as Ichabod Crane. He must sell the idea of what it would be like to wake up more than two centuries into the future for the show to work. His performance is timeless.

Emma Rigby, "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," on ABC: Every good series needs a good villain and Rigby was born to play The Red Queen. The British actor brings a fun wickedness to the role that makes the character -- and the series -- work. Her credits in Britain includes the series "Hollyoaks."

Chris Smith, "We Are Men," on CBS: The actor, whose feature film credits include "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and "Paranormal Activity 3," is starring in a series with three actors who all have longer acting credits. The sweetness he brings to the role helps him stand out in the comedy crowd.

Parker Young, "Enlisted," on FOX: It's hard to make an impression when you are the least known member of a comedy cast. That hasn't stopped Young, last seen on "Suburgatory," in this military comedy. He brings an energy to the show that will help keep the tempo from slowing down.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at


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