The crop of new TV pi­lots is at­tract­ing some high­pro­file stars, writes Guy Davis.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

light to be­come on­go­ing se­ries, let alone be­come break­out hits.

But given the cal­i­bre of ac­tor at­tached to some of these shows, you’d have to ad­mit a few of them look like pretty good bets.

Ev­ery “ pilot sea­son” in the US, there are one or two ac­tors who are on ev­ery wish list. And for the past cou­ple of years, one of them has been Ja­son Isaacs, the Bri­tish star of the gritty pay-TV drama Brother­hood. He’s per­haps bet­ter known, how­ever, as the silk­ily ven­omous Lu­cius Mal­foy in the Harry Pot­ter movies.

Isaacs re­cently won the lead role in REM, a sci-fi thriller de­scribed as a small-screen In­cep­tion. It also has a bit of a Life on Mars feel, be­ing the story of a cop who wakes up af­ter an ac­ci­dent to find him­self shift­ing be­tween two dif­fer­ent re­al­i­ties.

For a while there, Ash­ley Judd had a genre all to her­self – barely a week went by with­out her cru­sad­ing for jus­tice or go­ing head-to-head with a se­rial killer or track­ing down the peo­ple who’d be­trayed her to ex­act a lit­tle pay­back.

Her star­ring role in the up­com­ing Miss­ing looks like a vari­a­tion on that theme ( as well as a fe­male take on the Liam Nee­son thriller Taken): Judd’s char­ac­ter Becca Win­stone trav­els to Europe to track down her teenage son, who’s van­ished mys­te­ri­ously. Good thing that Becca’s a for­mer CIA op­er­a­tive, huh?

Kiefer Suther­land re­vi­talised his ca­reer with his role as around-the-clock ac­tion man Jack Bauer on 24, and this pilot sea­son sees him re­turn­ing to TV on The Con­fes­sion and Touch, play­ing the fa­ther of a mute, autis­tic child with the abil­ity to pre­dict the fu­ture.

And while Hol­ly­wood has worked overtime in the past few years to make its own ver­sion of the great UK cop drama Prime Suspect, star­ring He­len Mir­ren, its ef­forts may fi­nally have paid off: Os­carnom­i­nated ac­tress Maria Bello has been cast in the piv­otal role of a tough New York City cop try­ing to do her job in a precinct dom­i­nated by men.

Then there’s Min­nie Driver, star­ring in the crime caper Hail Mary; Ryan Philippe, ru­moured to be star­ring in Poe, a crime drama that has leg­endary au­thor Edgar Allen Poe solv­ing crimes in 19th-cen­tury Bos­ton; and Christina Ricci, who has just taken the lead role in the ’ 60s-era jet-set drama Pan Am.

Tak­ing off: Film stars Ja­son Isaacs, Alec Bald­win and Kate Winslet step over to

the small screen.

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