Fresh Faces for Fall: Who's on Our Radar (and Should Be on Yours!)
Charlie’s Angels, ABC (premiering Sept. 22)
How Fresh? | Kind of fresh. If you’re a soap fan, you might recognize Ilonzeh from her time on General Hospital. She’s also made appearances on Entourage and the Melrose Place reboot.
Why Watch? | The set-up is familiar ¬– three girls are hired by an unseen boss to take on crime ¬– but Ilonzeh’s dirty cop-turned-angel offers a new kind of flavor. These angels aren’t so squeaky clean, but ¬– lucky for fans of action heroines ¬– they still kick ass. Some things never change.
2 Broke Girls, CBS (premiering Sept. 19)
How Fresh? | Very fresh. Behrs has had small parts on Castle and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Why Watch? | Playing opposite someone with such a distinctively funny voice as Kat Dennings could be daunting, and Behrs’ newly poor debutante-turned-waitress is no wilting flower. So while it seems like the actress has quite a challenge, Behrs more than holds her own opposite her co-star. She keeps up with the punches, while giving her character more heart and backbone than you’d expect from a spoiled Park Avenue princess.
Grimm, NBC (premiering Sept. 23)
How Fresh? | Kind of fresh. The Road Rules vet has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Privileged, Eli Stone and The Deep End. He also had a memorable guest spot as a gay soldier on Grey’s Anatomy.
Why Watch? | There’s a reason Giuntoli keeps popping up on TV: He’s got the most striking blue eyes you’ve ever seen. It’s true. But in all seriousness, Giuntoli proves that a reality star transitioning into acting doesn’t have to be something that makes viewers groan. As a detective who discovers he’s a Grimm ¬– someone who can see the fairytale creatures beyond seemingly normal human faces ¬– the actor’s got that little something that just pops like those dazzling eyes.
Awake, NBC (premiering midseason)
How Fresh? | Kind of fresh. Minette’s been around the block, having played young Michael Scofield on Prison Break, and Jack’s sideways son on Lost.
Why Watch? | If there’s anyone equipped to play the estranged son of a man who wakes up to one reality in which his wife is dead and one in which his son is gone, it’s Minnette. After all, he has plenty of experience doing moody and distant, as Jack Shephard’s sullen son. Hopefully, he also picked up some crying tips from Lost‘s master of the waterworks.
Once Upon A Time, ABC (premiering Oct. 23)
How Fresh? | Kind of fresh. The third actor to play Bobby Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, Gilmore has also done guest spots on HawthoRNe and Men of a Certain Age, and appeared as Lil Bill O’Reilly on Talkshow With Spike Feresten — despite being only 11 years old.
Why Watch? | Poor kid. He’s gone from one mean mommy ¬– Mad Men‘s brittle Betty ¬– to another. Adopted by Storybrook mayor Regina (nee the Evil Queen), Gilmore’s lonely kid is so sad-beyond-his-years and adorable, you’ll wonder why his mother ever gave him up.
Suburgatory, ABC (premiering Sept. 28)
How Fresh? | Super fresh! ¬"This is my first pilot,¬" says Levy. ¬"This is my first year auditioning. This is my first year in Hollywood.¬" The ABC sitcom is only Levy’s second acting gig ever after a very different ¬– and nearly recognizable ¬– turn as Ian’s beard on Showtime’s Shameless.
Why Watch? | As a big-city girl forced to move to the ‘burbs with her single dad, Levy not only has to communicate the show’s this-is-a-nightmare jokes, but also perform something that is the dread of many ¬– the voiceover. Luckily, Levy’s got the witty, sardonic delivery thing down pat, even though she claims her character Tessa is ¬"much smarter than I am.¬" Combine that with her fiery red hair, and you’ve got an Emma Stone doppelganger.
Pan Am, ABC (premiering Sept. 25)
How Fresh? | Very fresh. Unless you’re a connoisseur of French-Canadian films, you’ve probably never seen the Quebec-born Vanasse before.
Why Watch? | While Pan Am soars into the sky with escapism and luxury, Vanasse’s kind-natured, French stewardess, Colette, is the heart that grounds the show. She’s the warm and welcoming one who takes the new girl under her wing. She’s the dreamer who falls in love in the sky. She’s the one who tends to the passengers, always with a smile on her face. All of which really makes you feel for her when… well, you’ll just have to watch.
Terra Nova, Fox (premiering Sept. 26)
How Fresh? | Kind of fresh. Degrassi: The Next Generation addicts will recognize Liboiron as Holly’s preppy ex-boyfriend Declan.
Why Watch? | Like fellow Degrassi alums Shenae Grimes (90210) and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Liboiron found his way to The CW with a brief arc on Life Unexpected. But he’s tackling something a lot bigger than high school drama on Terra Nova. The big-budget, highly anticipated time-travel series has the potential to catapult the actor to a new level. That is if doesn’t get eaten by a dinosaur or succumb to the charms of a pretty (and pretty flirty) resident of the Terra Nova colony, played by Allison Miller. OK, maybe there’s a little high school drama 85 million years in the past.
The Finder, Fox (premiering midseason)
How Fresh? | Super fresh! Like, she’s-got-no-previous-acting-credits fresh. (We even had to reach out to her via Facebook for a headshot when we broke her casting news.)
Why Watch? | We haven’t seen Hasson’s debut as Willa, a paroled teen from a family of criminals, since she joined the series post-backdoor pilot. But we’re quite curious, especially since it’s rare to see someone so new on TV. Hasson’s con girl will be tasked with helping out Walter (Geoff Stults) and Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), so creator Hart Hanson and the folks at The Finder must have seen something in this starlet to give her such a plum role.
Smash, NBC (premiering midseason)
How Fresh? | Kinda fresh. Hilty’s done a slew of guest spots on shows such as The Closer, CSI and Bones, but she’s probably best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch in Broadway’s Wicked, a role she also performed on Ugly Betty.
Why Watch? | For some reason, NBC’s promo department keeps trying to make us believe that the musical drama is ¬"introducing Katharine McPhee¬" to TV viewers. But the real discovery is Hilty as Ivy, a long-suffering, hardworking Broadway performer who’s vying against McPhee’s ingenue for her big break. As the two duke it out ¬– and belt it out ¬– for the coveted role of Marilyn Monroe in a new stage musical, Hilty’s gusto and go-for-broke vocals shine.
The Playboy Club, NBC (premiering Sept. 19)
How Fresh? | Very, despite having appeared in the big-screen remake of Fame. More notably, Naughton also played a circa-1960s “chocolate bunny” on AMC’s Mad Men. What are the odds?
Why Watch? | A lot of theatrics and scandal play out in and around The Playboy Club, but it’s Naughton as happy-go-lucky Brenda who brings the fun. It’s still hard out there for a bunny of color, Brenda reminds the new gal, but the times, they are a-changing, and she plans to take full advantage.
Revenge, ABC (premiering Sept. 21)
How Fresh? |Refreshed. Wechsler is back in his first series regular gig since co-starring as Roswell‘s Kyle ¬"Buddha Boy¬" Valenti for three years.
Why Watch? | It’s been so long since we’ve seen Wechsler on our TV that we had to pause our screener of the ABC soap to make sure our eyes weren’t deceiving us. Luckily, they weren’t. The actor makes a welcome return to television, this time in a leading man role that should expose him to a whole new audience. Wechsler is Jack, the childhood sweetheart of Emily Van Camp’s revenge-obsessed character, making him the swoon-worthy, blue-collar hunk in a sea of rich, troubled prepsters. Did we mention he named a boat after his longtime crush? Seth Cohen would be so proud.
The Secret Circle, The CW (premiering Sept. 15)
How Fresh? | Very fresh. Tonkin’s only major credits come from the Australian TV shows Home and Away, H2O: Just Add Water and Packed to the Rafters.
Why Watch? | When we say that Secret Circle‘s Faye gives us some serious Cordelia Chase vibes (circa early Buffy the Vampire Slayer), we mean that as a compliment of the highest order. Blunt, sometimes cruel and deliciously wicked, Tonkin’s bitchy witch Faye Chamberlain is the girl you love to hate and hate to love. The actress looks to be having as much fun with the role as her character is with her sudden surge of supernatural power.
American Horror Story, FX (premiering Oct. 5)
How Fresh? | As fresh as can be! The 16-year-old’s only other credit is this year’s indie Higher Ground, which was directed by and starred her older sis Vera (Up In the Air).
Why Watch? | The young Farmiga’s first big gig might scare her away from any others — literally. As the daughter of two tenuously married parents (played by Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott), and with their family freshly relocated into a unarguably haunted house, she gets put through the freaky deaky wringer plenty in the first episode alone.