Saturday, July 13, 2013

10 TV actresses that deserve better careers

By Sati. Saturday, July 13, 2013 ,
Underrated actresses. I bet every one of you could name at least 5 women who for you fit that category. But as I'm currently rewatching Rome and I'm, practically at any given month, rewatching Game of Thrones, I decided to create a sub-category - underrated TV actresses.

I truly hope that the days when TV was considered inferior to movies are behind us. Hell, if I look at the movies nominated for Academy Awards last year and shows that are still airing like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Homeland...it is TV that is actually superior. These actresses below deserve better roles in better projects they appeared in. More often than not the role I highlighted in this article was a big break for them, but sadly not much happened afterwards.

as Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Dairies
10. Nina Dobrev
Granted, I have not seen The Vampire Diaries in a long time, but the episodes I saw were pretty fun and Dobrev was surprisingly great, considering the material she is working with - her character is just a little bit above Bella Swan, yet she is so much more interesting and much less annoying. She also gets to play a villain - Catherine - and she is pretty damn good doing that as well. One can't ignore the fact that she is also incredibly beautiful. The only other performance from her I've seen was a brief role in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and she was incredibly memorable there. She only has one movie lined up right now, which seems like a big waste of her talent.
as Jenny Schecter in The L Word
9. Mia Kirshner
Lovely Mia Kirshner has been underrated her whole career - and it's really puzzling. When I see what crap she is nowadays, it's simply saddening - for example the sequel to 30 Days of Night. She was just splendid in The L Word (a show filled with very talented actresses) as well as in The Black Dahlia - hell, her performance in Brian De Palma's fiasco was so good it made the movie worth watching. She really should be getting better roles - she was only in a handful of 24 episodes yet her work there was so memorable I still remember most of her scenes.
as Julia McNamara in Nip/Tuck
8. Joely Richardson
Richardson was one of the very few things that kept me watching the most disgusting show ever made - Nip/Tuck. It's amazing, but her performance almost kept the series somewhat grounded in reality. Richardson, daughter of amazing Vanessa Redgrave (who also appeared in several episodes of the show as Richardson's character's mother), also provided very warm and interesting turn as rarely portrayed Katherine Parr in 4th season of The Tudors. She appeared in Fincher's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but still, she deserves better and more prominent roles.
as Alice Morgan in Luther
7. Ruth Wilson
As great as Idris Elba is in Luther, when you are watching it, you are just waiting for HER. Wilson is splendid as the TV's most adorable psychopath - brilliant, ruthless Alice Morgan who is also very charming, joyful and even playful. She was largely absent in season 2 of Luther which is actually my primary reason for considering season 2 to be the worst one in the series. Wilson was also splendid in BBC version of Jane Eyre (she was much better than Wasikowska, as good as Mia was) and she was one of the very few good things in last year's Anna Karenina. She currently can be seen in The Lone Ranger. Yeah. She deserves much better.
as Trixie in Deadwood
6. Paula Malcolmson
This is the only actress on the list, whose name I actually had to look up, even though Deadwood is my second favorite series of all time. This alone should tell you that this woman should be in more good movies. She is in The Hunger Games, though. As Katniss's mother. Granted I only saw that movie once and I won't see it again, on account of it being really boring, but I cannot remember her at all which tells me it's not much of a role. And that's a shame, because her Trixie was the true heart of Deadwood. She created very interesting and likable character, despite the fact Trixie had a very difficult life and tough personality. I kept rooting for Trixie and it was admirable how she was able to survive and keep her good heart from being corrupted in such a brutal world. Interesting fact is that as Polly Walker, who is a bit higher on the list, she was also on the show Caprica, which I sadly haven't seen. She was also in two episodes of Lost, sharing screen with another lovely actress on the list, Evangeline Lilly.
as Claire Fisher in Six Feet Under
5. Lauren Ambrose
Lauren's performance as Claire Fisher in HBO's Six Feet Under is one of my favorite TV performances of all time. Claire is also one of my favorite TV characters. Lauren is so talented and has such interesting beauty, yet her career didn't blossom as much as it should have. I read somewhere she focused on her family instead of her career, which is lovely and admirable but I still miss her. Recently she starred in TV movie Coma, which was awful but she was good in it and in a very memorable albeit not very ambitious turn in Wanderlust.
as Kate Austen in Lost
4.Evangeline Lilly 
Things are turning around for Evangeline as she seems to have pretty major role in next two The Hobbit movies. Still, I cannot believe how long it took for her to get an important role in truly anticipated blockbuster. I know many people don't like Kate in Lost which sadly drives them to under appreciate Lilly's work there, but I always thought her performance was one of the better roles in the show. Even in awful season 6 she was consistently amazing. She did appear in Academy Award winning The Hurt Locker,, but her role there was very small. She also starred in big Reel Steel, but that's not exactly compelling material. Hopefully the fact she is in The Hobbit will send some good and interesting roles her way.
as lady Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones
3. Michelle Fairley
It is stunning to me that even though Fairley has been acting for 20 years it is only now that her time has finally come. Though we will no longer see her on Game of Thrones (wink wink to book readers - she is currently in Northern Ireland where the filming for season 4 started last week), where at least for me, she was the best in the cast, she has just joined TV series Suits and she seems to be playing a very interesting character there. Still, I must say that when I read the books I didn't much care about Catelyn, but Fairley's fierceness and this incredible sense of dignity, warmth and strength she projected onto her character made her into my favorite. Remember when she addressed all the men gathered in the inn and asked them to seize Tyrion and they all did just that, because of the respect they had for her? I was in love right there.
as Atia of the Julii in Rome
2. Polly Walker
10 years after Rome aired and Polly Walker is still on TV, though in much worse shows. She was in Clash of the Titans, for about 5 minutes, and even when she landed a role in a show that wasn't awful, it got cancelled. Saddening, seeing how amazing her Atia was - Rome is one of those shows that should have never been cancelled,. Seriously how awful is HBO when it comes to handling money? Can't they hire accountants or something? Still, I'm grateful there is at least one fantastic movie with her (and Alan Rickman) called Dark Harbor. If you didn't see this one, I highly recommend it.
as Queen Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
1. Lena Headey
Lena Headey has appeared in a number of TV series and films, but out of those only the quality of Game of Thrones truly matches her talent. In the show she plays ruthless Queen Cersei, the most villainous female in the series. I once wrote that George R.R. Martin gave us a villain, but it is Lena who gave us a person. Peter Dinklage even said that he thinks Lena understands Cersei more than Martin does - and it's tough to argue with that statement. In the books Cersei is just a villain - a very entertaining villain, yes - but she is pure evil. There are no shades of grey there. Whenever there is a room for vulnerability, Cersei cloaks herself in pride. In the show however, Headey gets to depict that vulnerability, weakness and pain. We don't see just a villain, but also a very lonely, bitter woman, loving mother and devoted daughter who looks up to her father. Headey is also seriously badass actress - she was just terrific in Dredd (a film that is much better than you might think) and as Sarah Connor in TV's Sarah Connor Chronicles. Why is it then that her future projects include what I suspect to be small parts in the sequel to 300 and Mortal Instruments?

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32 comments:

  1. I haven't been much exposed to some of the actresses you've mentioned in the post but I'd LOVE to see Ruth Wilson and Michelle Fairley getting more roles. I've only seen them both in their signature roles but they were phenomenal in that.

    Lena Headey has been great as Cersei as well but I think she is somehow getting typecast as that strong but bitchy woman. Maybe, I haven't seen her playing other roles but it will be great to see her breaking away from that.

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    1. I really hope they will, Wilson has some projects line up and Fairley is getting a lot of positive buzz for season 3.

      I think back in 90's she played a lovely lesbian florist in some movie :)

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  2. you forgot Anneliese van der Pol (Disney's That's So Raven). that girl kept that show hilarious and her last big gig was being the last Belle on Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. she should be a bigger star.

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    1. Well I never saw this one, so that's why she's not here.

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  3. Great list Sati! I'm not familiar w/ all of these but I so agree about Lena Headey, so gorgeous and so bad ass, ahah. I do think she deserves to get more film roles. I like Lilly too, looking forward to seeing her in The Hobbit 2 & 3! Lucky her to be in a movie w/ Lee Pace AND Richard Armitage, oh my!

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    1. Thank you! She really does, she can do it all. Lilly is getting so much undeserved hate, she deserves better.

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  4. Have to agree on Wilson. She's a great actress as proven from Luther (and also from a two-part BBC mini-series called Small Island), and yet Hollywood doesn't really know what to do with her.

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    1. YES! She's amazing, long overdue for a big Hollywood role.

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  5. Im only familiar with Lena,Michelle, and Nina(Who i generally find more interesting to watch as Catherine than Elena, although there was a scene with her as Elena where she managed to portray a sense of emotional numbness surprisingly well). But i guess that is why the others are underrated

    Btw the actress who i was thinking of when talking to you on twitter is Gabrielle Union. She amazed me in Cadillac Records,and i've been anxious to see her in a good role again

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    1. I only saw Gabrielle in one Friends episode, but she was cute there. I see she was in Running with Scissors but I don't remember her there :(

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  6. I can totally agree with list. In fact, most actresses on good TV deserve better.

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    1. That's true! I cannot believe Kelly Macdonald is only now becoming famous, she was starring in movies for 20 years now.

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  7. SO MUCH YES to this excellent list. Ruth Wilson is truly a brilliant actress. Lena Headey and Michelle Fairley, too - I believe that all three of them are on par with actors like Meryl Streep or others celebrated for their craft. I am optimistic about Ruth Wilson - I think she chooses great projects (perhaps, being British, she has better things to choose from) and is very young.

    Lena Headey has indeed been typecast, and I hope she is able to break out of that and do more (though i happen to love that type). I also agree that Nina Dobrev and Evangeline Lilly are wonderful actresses, especially the former, and I hope to see more of them too!

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully the one good thing will come from The Lone Ranger and she will get noticed by American producers.

      Dobrev and Lilly are getting so much hate, it's just disturbing. It's like people don't distinguish the quality of a performance and the quality of a material an actress has to work with.

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  8. Awesome list! I'm so glad you brought up Mia Kirshner, I thought she was excellent in The Black Dahlia. Much better than both Johansson and Swank were. Plus her eyes, she's drop dead gorgeous. I couldn't imagine anyone but Lena playing Cersei, she really does get her. I can't wait until we get further in the series and we really get to see how crazy Cersei can get.

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    1. Thank you! :) Oh God, yes, Swank was especially awful, one of the worst fake accents I've ever heard, I was shocked my ears didn't bleed from this.

      Lena is such an amazing Cersei. I know people whine she is 'too old' for the part, but I think she looks 10 years younger than she really is and she is just perfect in the role.

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  9. Its true these girls deserve better if they're good because my initial reaction and after reading the other comments they are not that recognizable at all. I'm only familiar with 2 out of the 10: Evangeline Lily and Lena Headey. But then again I don't watch a lot TV nowadays.

    But yeah, TV can produce better material than movies. I remember an interview with Quentin Tarantino where he said TV shows was so good at that time that he was considering making Inglorious Basterds for TV!!

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    1. You know I bet that series would actually be even better than the movie. Tarantino should totally do a TV series.

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  10. Michelle Fairley is a great actress Lena Headey I liked only in the film Aberdeen

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    1. I really hope both of them will have great and long careers.

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  11. Polly Walker just did a recurring part on Warehouse 13, and she definitely rose above the material. She also was really strong in Caprica. It's cool that she's getting good work, but nothing's on the level of Rome. Paula Malcolmson was also very good in Caprica, and I agree with her pick as well. I think Lena Heady is having a pretty great career with Sarah Connor and Game of Thrones. Still, I agree that her movie roles haven't been too great.

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    1. I really need to check out Caprica. I think Lena would sadly be lost with GoT - she is allegedly broke (though it may be a divorce tactic), The Purge flopped, I think, Dredd is not getting a sequel...

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  12. *Sorry for my derp comment before. Should have read title more carefully

    Im familiar with only 3 of the actresses listed(Lena,Michelle, and Nina) so i guess they really are underrated.

    For me, Deborah Ann Woll would be my top choice. jessica was my fav character on true Blood(At least until that horrible Jason/Hoyt triangle shit) and i think her performance is a major reason why. After seeing her excel in what was overall a small role in the Mothers Day remake, i became a absolute fanboy of hers. I keep waiting for her to get a major movie role,but so far that hasn't happened yet.

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    1. I love Deborah! Unfortunately, the writers are really screwing up Jessica, the triangle thing was bad but the shit that is happening in this season is even worse. She definitely deserves better, such a beauty and such a talent.

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  13. Nice list. I'm not familiar with all of these actresses, but I'd like to see Lena Headey, Evangeline Lilly, Joely Richardson and Mia Kirshner get better roles. Lilly probably has the best shot with The Hobbit movies, though.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, it does seem like she has a big part in upcoming two movies, which is great cause the first film was such a sausage fest :P

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  14. Really strong list. I'm glad you highlighted Lauren Ambrose -- she was one of the best parts of Six Feet Under. I haven't seen her in much lately, though she was quite good in the criminally-overlooked Sleepwalk With Me.

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    1. Thank you! Sleepwalk With Me is on my watchlist!

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  15. I agree with most of these.. I also think Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter Morgan's sister deserves much more than she has. Good post to read during my lunch break! :D

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    1. Thanks! :) I like her on the show and she did well in Exorcisms of Emily Rose, good actress!

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  16. I’m so with you on a lot of these. I’ve been a big fan of Kirchner, Richardson, Malcolmson and Lilly for a long time now. All very talented women who deserve more.

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    1. Great that you agree! It's awful how little work Malcolmson is getting, she practically disappeared after Deadwood :/

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