20 Actresses You Want Back on TV Right Now

Last month, TVLine brainstormed a list of 20 TV stars we’re hoping will score big, juicy roles in fall 2013 pilots.

You responded with hundreds of suggestions of your own that were so intriguing, it gave us enough material for not one, but two spinoff galleries.

RELATED | Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on NCIS, Grey’s, Army Wives, Glee, Revenge, Shameless and More!

Today, we present a countdown of the 20 actresses whose return to the small screen is being championed by tastemaking TVLine readers. Tomorrow we’ll reveal their male counterparts.

RELATED | TVLine’s All-Star Pilot Season Wish List

So click through the photo gallery of underappreciated thespians below, then hit the comments with any names your fellow readers might’ve forgotten.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Aron says:

    What about Rachel Griffiths ?!?

  2. From the mentioned I want Evangeline Lilly and Ali Larter. And from the missing I want America Ferrera, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Summer Glau…

    • Kristina says:

      Summer Glau, definitely!

      • VutTut says:

        Its my opnion that Summer Glau has had too many chances on TV and never resonated. She does not need to be back on.

        • Alan says:

          she resonated, just talk to anyone who has watched firefly or the sarah connor chronicles and they will agree with me

          • Simon Jester says:

            I liked Summer Glau in Firefly and Sarah Connor and Dollhouse and Alphas… but let’s face it, there’s not a lot of evidence that she can play a character who ISN’T emotionally stunted!

          • Alan says:

            so. sam jackson cant play a character who isnt an angry black man and nobody minds, why cant the same situation apply here

          • The Only Truth says:

            ‘so. sam jackson cant play a character who isnt an angry black man and nobody minds’

            Alan, my man! You hit the nail on the head! Add Keanu Reeves to that as well. But Summer can actually portray a wide range of emotions. The writers just don’t see her as anything more than ‘River Tam’ which is like the best character for them. And she has good taste in tv which makes her take up roles mostly in the sci-fi genre. She’s a goddess imho.

          • Wrstlgirl says:

            I’ve watched and liked those shows but I don’t agree with you.

          • ben says:

            I agree, Alan.

            Although, I prefer the soft Summer (a la River) to the hard Summer. In Firefly, she may have been damages but she still portrayed an array of emotions very well.

        • FreeHaley says:

          come on she was amazing on the Sarah Connor Chronicles!

    • omar says:

      America Ferrera :)

    • John says:

      Evangeline Lilly, Summer Glau and Ali Larter definitely.
      Evangeline is in The Hobbit. Can’t wait for that!

  3. soon says:

    I want to see Jane Badler me

  4. Amy says:

    I miss Paget Brewster!

  5. Barbara says:

    Elaine Cassidy was just on our TV screens (well in the UK anyway!) in The Paradise :)

  6. Hamza says:

    Bridget Regan also!

  7. AJ says:

    You missed Summer Glau.

  8. Kari says:

    I started The West Wing from the beginning again last night and I absolutely agree with Janel, but I would also add Allison Janey!

  9. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    Evangaline Lille, the chick from Eureka, and Gillian Anderson. Don’t care about the rest really.

  10. The Kaibosh says:

    Kandyse McClure is on Arctic Air. Season 2 starts in January on CBC tv in Canada.

  11. Sara says:

    Bridget Regan from Seeker and Erica Durance from Smallville.

  12. Princess Adora says:

    I love this list! Especially Billie, Liza and SMG (I miss Ringer!!) <3

    • LizLiz says:

      Agree Dairy of a call girl didn’t get the attention it deserved. Love Billie & Lizzy was awesome on New Girl plus she keeps making crappy movies.

  13. Naazneen says:

    Majandra Delfino! Yes!

    • Drewer says:

      She was so amazing on Roswell. I was psyched when she was cast on The Office spin-off, so I’m a little annoyed that won’t make it to series.

      • AlanM says:

        She was by far the best actor/ character on Roswell. She was my fave. I also really liked the actress that played her mother.

  14. Aviram says:

    Gillian Anderson stars in BBC’s “The Fall” this January:

  15. Aviram says:

    Marcia Cross please!

  16. sugarcookie says:

    Marcia Cross

  17. Che says:

    This list came a few months early for me. I know Fringe’s still on, but I’m so ready to miss Anna Torv (and hope she’ll be back soon). Not sure I’m quite ready to see her in another role, though. But that’s just because I love Olivia Dunham so very much

  18. wh says:

    Jennifer Garner!

  19. ABC Sunday says:

    Nicollette Sheridan!

  20. Kelli says:

    Felicity Huffman. I really want her to guest star on Shameless or Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show (since she has guest starred in all of his shows in the past and she really knows how to work the Sorkin dialogue),

    • Jane says:

      I just rewatched Sports Night and I’m reminded how awesome she was as Dana.

      • LovesGoldfish says:

        She was the best. Her and Allison Janey and Josh Charles and Mathew Perry and Josh Malina should all do a show together. Sorkin can write it, but only if he tries harder than he is w/ Newsroom.

  21. guss says:

    Gillian Anderson

  22. Toby says:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar on cable and I’ll be happy.

  23. Niki says:

    Can’t wait for Alyssa Milano’s return with MISTRESSES!!!!!!!!! :D

  24. Sara says:

    BETHANY JOY GALEOTTI (one tree hill). What a terrific actress she is, and her work in the final season was mind-blowing! I WANT YOU BACK!

    • Ashley says:

      YES. She’s often overlooked because of One Tree Hill (or pushed aside for Sophia). She’s truly a talent and deserves to be back on TV regularly. I’m excited for her guest spot on Men At Work opposite Michael Cassidy and Benjamin McKenzie.

    • EJ says:

      Agreed. She is a really great actress.

  25. Jaime says:

    I hope Billie Piper is in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. I miss Rose.

  26. Patrick Maloney says:

    Paget Brewster? Really? So that she can ruin another show by repeatedly leaving it and than returning?

    • Meg says:

      Fact Check: She didn’t choose to leave the show the first time. CBS fired AJ Cook and Paget Brewster during Season 6. When both a ratings drop and a fan outcry showed the poor nature of the decision, they were forced back because of unfulfilled contracts since CBS wanted to save the show. Therefore, Paget Brewster chose not to renew when renegotiations occurred the following season because of CBS’ unfair treatment – a recurring theme for that network. So no, she did not ruin the show, CBS ruined their own.

      • Wrstlgirl says:

        Fan outcry for her return and then she bailed. Talk about ungrateful.

        • Meg says:

          The only reason she didn’t fight it was BECAUSE of the fans. But fans don’t expect her to stay in a place where they fired her and then forced her back. It’s her life and she deserves free will. The only thing we deserve is to be happy for her. Otherwise, it’s selfish.

        • Kate says:

          Read and watch her interviews. Those are facts, not dellusions. Would you rather someone be unhappy just so you can enjoy your show?

      • Tracy says:

        Bless this “Fact Check” post.

      • Fact check: the show is hardly ruined without Prentiss. I hardly remember she was there. It’s just the same as always. It’s not better, but it’s hardly worse.

        • Meg says:

          I never said CM was ruined. Just replying to the original comment or ruining the show. Certainly the show can survive without her. CBS just hurt themselves with their poor decisions.

          • That’s my point: CBS didn’t. When they realized the mess they’d put themselves into, they brought both actresses back. That was a wise and mature decision on their part. That was AMAZING of CBS. And, look at them, the show is one of their highest rated shows (better demo than NCIS:LA) in a time of crisis! Paget leaving hasn’t affected the ratings, like when AJ Cook had left with her. And, ultimately, it was her decision to leave this time, it wasn’t CBS’s. CBS *did* mess up once, but they retracted it. They were awesome. And because of them, we have JJ back. And her void was much, much harder to fill than Prentiss’!

          • nick1372 says:

            Barbie, when you say that Paget Brewster leaving CM did not hurt the ratings, you are wrong. Criminal Minds is down ~21% from last fall, a larger drop than all other CBS dramas except for Blue Bloods (-26%), The Mentalist (-31%), and Hawaii Five-0 (-39%).

          • TheColdTruth says:

            And lets be real here. The Mentalist’s drop is due to the shift to Sundays and H50 is down because people are slowly starting to realize that the show is awful. CM, for all intents and purposes, is down due to the firing of Paget.

          • Steve says:

            Meg. You. Are. Awesome.

        • Calanthe says:

          Criminal Minds has done just fine with multiple cast changes. All I can say for certain is that *I* am not quite as excited to watch the show when Prentiss isn’t there. I still watch for the most part, however.

  27. Julie says:

    Andrea Parker, Gillian Anderson, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross and starting from February Anna Torv

  28. J says:

    Eliza Dushku, Kristin Chenowith, Maura Tierney, Heather Locklear, Laura Innes,

  29. zxc123 says:

    What about Allison Janney? I love Janel Moloney but Allison was in a class of her own.

  30. b says:

    SHANNEN DOHERTY She may have a terrible attitude but she can act she was the best actress on Charmed and the series suffered after departure

    • Nichole says:

      I agree with you that she can act, but she will bail on any show as soon as her contract is up and make everyone on set miserable until she is gone. Any show considering her is better off casting someone else than having to deal with her drama.

      • Mick says:

        Shannen may have had an attitude 15 years ago but unemployment humbles people. She apologized to Jennie Garth and has turned her life around.

    • I disagree. CHARMED and BEVERLY HILLS 90210 are literally my two favorite shows EVER, and I think both shows got waaaay better after she left. I mean, both Brenda and Prue were cool, but Valerie was a way richer character, and when she came to 90210 the show got much more exciting, and Paige? Paige was ALL love! She was funny and kind and a breath of fresh air! Prue was bitchy, mostly arrogant! When Paige arrived, the CHARMED got this new twist that it needed at that time. At some point, Paige was actually my favorite character (they all were except for Prue at some point!).

  31. Cherie says:

    I need to see Emily Procter back on my TV screen ASAP!

  32. Tracy says:

    Bless this post. Seeing Paget Brewster there makes me very happy! The only person I feel that’s missing is Kristen Bell. I know she’s doing “House of Lies”, but I need her on network television – something I can afford! Maybe I’m just still missing “Veronica Mars”…

    • Sara says:

      You can hear her in Gossip Girl.. uhm, wait, no, that isn’t worth it… she will though be in the series finale as a visible person!

  33. Dave says:

    I want Lisa Edelstein back on TV in a regular fasion!

  34. Lilly says:

    Glad to Paget Brewster there. Miss Mary McCormack and Allison Janney.

  35. Elle says:

    yes, Paget back, please and thank you, I miss her waay too much,

  36. Tee says:

    So glad to see Robin Weigert on the list. It’s great to see glimpses of her on Sons again this season, but it’s reminded me how thoroughly enjoyable she was on Deadwood and should be doing something in that capacity again.

    Allison Janney for sure. I tried to tolerate Mr Sunshine for a while just to watch her. Hope she finds something good soon!

  37. Eric says:

    Anna Friel from Pushimg Daisies!

  38. Praeger says:

    Josie Davis. I want more Josie

  39. Deb says:


  40. omabin says:

    Evangeline Lilly and Ali Larter

  41. Teresa Bileck says:

    I would live to see Gillian Anderson,Amber Tamblyn, and Kristen Bell!

    • Jen says:

      Kristin Bell will be continuing in House of Lies, when the second season starts. I’m assuming in January when Shameless comes back since I think they’re paired on Sunday nights, no?

    • FreeHaley says:

      KB is still on TV. But what we NEED from her (or really from WB) is the Veronica Mars movie! WB needs to just step up and either make it themselves or release the rights to her already and to stop acting like babies, they are afraid to make it because they don’t know if it well sell and they are afraid to release the rights just in case it sells and then they look foolish. Just pick a risk already and stand up and make a decision before it too late and you REALLY look foolish!

  42. Colleen says:

    Missing Paget Brewster, terribly; hope she makes a return to Criminal Minds where she belongs. I will accept her as a recurring character-something better than nothing.

  43. oli says:

    carla gugino would be a great addition on the good wife imo, also someone needs to give something to andrea parker.

  44. Avril says:

    I definitely want Janel Moloney, Lizzy Caplan, and Leslie Grossman back on TV! All were great on their respective series.

    • Alan says:

      lizze caplan should be in shield, her character was perfectly set up for the show at the end of item 47

    • kavyn says:

      Just so you know, Leslie Grossman had a scene in episode 3 of the Neighbors and it’s pretty hilarious (you need to see the entire episode to understand it though). It’s my favourite episode of the show.

  45. Joe says:

    Lizzy Caplan, Tania Raymonde, Traylor Howard, Alona Tal, Kristin Chenoweth, Rebecca Mader, Courtney Ford

  46. ingrid says:

    I love Gillian Anderson but its been so long she stars on a US primetime show…..

  47. Ryan says:

    Anna Friel is awesome. She was great on “Pushing Daisies”.

    Phylicia Rashad is on a show. She is part of the cast of the upcoming “Do No Harm” on NBC

  48. Billie Piper was so amazing in The Secret Diary of a call girl! I just adored her in every way as Belle! <3

    Jessalyn Gilsig, I knew her from my former beloved Boston Public!

    Now, I was thinking about this yesterday! Who I'd like to see back on tv!

    Eliza Dushku, people!!! Been too long!

    Now, anyone ever watched She Spies? No, right! Pretty sure my mom and I were the only people in the planet. But the other day Kristen Miller was guest starring in a show, and I remembered how much I loved her.

    Sherry Stringfield. Dr. Susan Chandler from ER! Saw her just the other day somewhere, too. She looked totally different.

  49. There are people I’d like to see back, but then I imagine I don’t think they could ever be another character in my mind. Like… Patricia Arquette will be forever Allison Dubois…

  50. Amaia says:

    Yeah, Paget Brewster! I miss Alisson Janney on the list.