Grading 5 Movie Stars Who Are Moving to Primetime This Fall

Movie actors think they can escape to television and avoid the scrutiny of film critics, but never fear: Movieline found five border-hoppers planning to debut on the small screen this fall (or during midseason), and we're evaluating their work.

Anjelica Huston, NBC's Smash

There's something curious about Anjelica Huston's role in the trailer for the upcoming Broadway drama Smash: She does not speak. She is Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston, and she does not speak. She's supposed to be an imposing Broadway figure, which I suspect is an important role in the show, and we don't hear her speak. Am I annoyed? Intrigued? Worried? Studying her taut smirk too much? I can only assign a fearful average grade to her work here and applaud the slightly grim Morticia throwback.

Grade: C- / N/A

Christina Ricci, ABC's Pan Am

The flight attendant drama hopes to conjure the glamor of early '60s international travel (as exhibited by Bad Movie We Love The V.I.P.s), but so far it just captures the prickliness of your average headmistress. Ricci says roughly three lines in the trailer, but she looks great in the sky-blue stewardess regalia! Hooray.

Grade: B

Kerry Washington, ABC's Scandal

The "unconventional legal drama" is pretty overplayed at this point. Outlaw, anyone? Harry's Law? The Deep End? But Ray alum Kerry Washington is hoping to make the genre relevant using... unsmiling authority. It's just about the most cliched act of all.

Grade: D+

Jonah Hill, Fox's Allen Gregory

Jonah Hill's voice is suited for the animated world, as it combines Family Guy's quick wit with, eh, Life with Louie cynicism? Just about? As the titular prodigy on the new Fox cartoon, he seems right -- if a little obvious, actually -- as a casually brilliant elementary school student.

Grade: B+

Zooey Deschanel, Fox's The New Girl

Yes, Zooey Deschanel is giving us her typically ho-hum comic delivery, but I like how unusual she is as a TV protagonist. She's not ostentatious or even very kinetic the way most TV topliners are; she draws you in and makes this otherwise typical comedy refreshingly subtle. I'm in.

Grade: A-


  • TN says:

    I love you always Christina Ricci. And Smash looks like it could be different/good. Although, "Introducing Kathrine McPhee"?

  • Tommy Marx says:

    Odd. I am now excited by Smash and The New Girl, but Scandal will be cancelled in a matter of minutes and Allen Gregory just looks really, really bad. FOX does realize they already cancelled Stewie and then brought him back, right? Pan Am is a definite wild card. How weird that the networks are chasing after Mad Men legitimacy when the show doesn't even have high ratings. I would be extremely surprised if Pan Am lasts more than a season, but I'm intrigued enough to give it a try anyway.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    The "Introducing Katharine McPhee" credit is amazingly condescending!

  • Travis Weir says:

    Sobbing through "Dirty Dancing" like a Nonna at a sicilian wake. Just when you think Zooey D's gonna zig she ZAGS.

  • Mini says:

    haha This is now the show I'm most excited for after seeing the preview and I've never really noticed Zooey beyond that episode she appeared on 'Bones.'

  • Elias says:

    So far I’ve only really been interested in The New Girl, which I enjoy, and Allen Gregory, which I hope will be fun. I think Zooey is perfectly Zooey in her new show, and I don’t think she’s trying to be much else, which is why I love her so much.

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