The Top 10 Guest Spots We’d Love To See On TV
By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist
Last week, it was announced that Patton Oswalt, who hass appeared on such series as CBS’s Two and a Half Men, Fox’s Raising Hope and Showtime’s United States of Tara, will guest star on the upcoming season of FX’s Justified. He will play a former high school classmate of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant).
Great guest spots are one of my favorite aspects of television. The occurrence can combine an actor and a show that are perfect for one another — even if it’s just temporarily. It can also draw viewers to a show they haven’t checked out yet, possibly giving a struggling series a boost in ratings. Some of my favorite recent moments on series have incorporated fantastic guest stars, including Parker Posey on FX’s Louie and Fox’s New Girl, Giancarlo Esposito on NBC’s Community and Jesse Plemons on AMC’s Breaking Bad.
In the vein of wishful thinking, here are the 10 guest spots I’d love to see happen:
10. Alexis Bledel on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy
Since The CW’s Gilmore Girls ended in 2007, Bledel has been working steadily — but it doesn’t really seem that way. Aside from starring in 2008’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and 2009’s Post Grad and a supporting role in 2010’s The Conspirator, Bledel has starred in a string of small films that haven’t gotten much attention. She recently came back to TV in a guest role on the fifth season of AMC’s Mad Men, but I don’t expect to see her on the series again.
Bledel’s not the best actress, but she certainly isn’t bad, and my love for Gilmore Girls knows no bounds. And though Gilmore Girls co-star Lauren Graham has found her footing in NBC’s Parenthood, Bledel hasn’t had such luck. Grey’s Anatomy is an aging series, currently in its ninth season, but it should be on for at least one more season. Bledel guest-starred as a doctor on the series finale of NBC’s ER, so playing a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy wouldn’t be much of a stretch. Perhaps she could be a visiting plastic surgeon, reuniting her with her The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 co-star Jesse Williams.
9. Amanda Peet on HBO’s The Newsroom
The Newsroom was a disappointment in its first season, failing to reach the high expectations many critics — including me — placed on it and creator Aaron Sorkin (NBC’s The West Wing). The characters are a bit of a mess, especially the women, who are more flighty and dramatic than competent and professional. But there’s potential in the series, and its guest stars excelled in the first season. Guests included Jane Fonda (Georgia Rule), Chris Messina (Fox’s The Mindy Project) and Paul Schneider (NBC’s Parks and Recreation).
Peet would make a great love interest for Will (Jeff Daniels), and she has experience working with Sorkin from NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. She also did a fantastic job headlining NBC’s failed but wonderful comedy Bent, and will guest star on CBS’s The Good Wife this season. It only seems natural and inevitable that Peet will make her way onto The Newsroom.
8. Josh Holloway on NBC’s Revolution
Holloway appeared on an episode of Community in 2011, so he could easily move to another series on the Peacock network. Revolution seems like the perfect fit: Not only will it put him back in an action vehicle, with which he did so well on ABC’s Lost and in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but it will also reunite him with Lost co-star Elizabeth Mitchell.
Holloway has a few movies in the works, including one with Harrison Ford (Cowboys & Aliens) and Gary Oldman (Lawless), so he may not be interested in returning to TV. Still, he pretty much stole the show in Lost, and I could see him having a successful TV career. If he couldn’t headline his own series, then I could see him guest-starring as a soldier who’s a part of the militia or resistance movement in Revolution. If that could parlay into a series role for Holloway, too, it’d be even better.
7. David Walton on ABC’s The Middle
A cancellation that devastated me last season was that of NBC’s Bent, which was an adorably funny comedy that only lasted for six episodes. The best part of the series — among many wonderful ones — was Walton’s lead performance. He was hilarious and charming, and he more than held his own against Amanda Peet.
Walton also starred on other TV shows (you may know him from NBC’s 2010-2011 comedy Perfect Couples) and recently completed guest stints on ABC’s Happy Endings and New Girl. It’s only time before he lands another, more successful series, but until he does, I urge someone to get him on The Middle. Charlie McDermott, who plays Axl Heck, is the spitting image of Walton. As a result, Walton would make an ideal relative of the Heck clan or a mentor to the maturing Axl. Please, Hollywood, make this happen.
6. Jason Dohring on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries
Oh, Dohring, what has happened to you? Following the cancellation of The CW’s Veronica Mars in 2007, Dohring, who played loveable bad-boy Logan Echolls on the detective series, hasn’t been as successful as I’d hoped. He co-starred on the 2007-2008 CBS drama Moonlight, but that only lasted for a season. Since then, Dohring has guest-starred on an episode of Fox’s Lie to Me and The CW’s Supernatural, and he appeared in nine episodes of The CW’s canceled drama Ringer.
Dohring seems to have made a home for himself on The CW, and his ability to pull off clever humor fits with The Vampire Diaries. Plus, he has experience playing a vampire on Moonlight. He could portray a vampire hunter or a longtime vampire friend of Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) who makes a play for Elena (Nina Dobrev). Someone eventually has to be competition for those Salvatore brothers, right?
5. Michael Raymond-James on FX’s Sons of Anarchy
I’m not a big fan of ABC’s Once Upon a Time (Yes, I know I’m in the minority), but I’ve been watching the second season for one reason: Raymond-James. The actor is guest-starring on the fantasy series as “Mysterious Man.” He’s also recently guest-starred on AMC’s The Walking Dead, HBO’s True Blood and NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but nothing compares to his starring role on FX’s Terriers, which lasted for one season. As reformed crook Britt, Raymond-James was gruff yet lovable and just plain charming.
If Raymond-James’ Once Upon a Time guest gig doesn’t turn into a regular one, I’d love to see him as a gang member on Sons of Anarchy. If he could bring Terriers co-star Donal Logue with him, that’d be awesome, too.
4. Lizzy Caplan on NBC’s Community
Following her turn in 2008’s sci-fi film Cloverfield and on Starz’s hilarious Party Down, Caplan has become a bit of a fanboy crush. For that reason, it’s surprising she has yet to appear on Community, the series every fanboy seems to love. Though Caplan’s about to star in Showtime’s Masters of Sex, plenty of cable actors do guest work on broadcast series, and it’d be a shame if she didn’t guest star on Community. Caplan’s certainly done enough guest work, including roles on True Blood, New Girl and Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital, so what’s one more job to add to her resume? Can’t you just imagine how much fun she’d be as a love interest for Jeff (Joel McHale)? I can, too, which is why this needs to happen — if Community ever returns to our televisions. We may be entering the darkest timeline instead.
3. Louis C.K. on HBO’s Girls
With FX’s Louie not coming back until 2014, C.K. will have a little more time on his hands to do guest spots. So what better series to do one than Girls? With his arc as Dave on Parks and Recreation seemingly over, C.K. should not wait until 2014 to return to my TV. The comedian and TV star has already applauded the HBO comedy series, so he may as well show up on it. He and Girls creator, director, writer and star Lena Dunham spent time together at the 2012 Emmys, which, in a perfect world, would have been the place to start discussing such matters.
Louis C.K. may be a little too young to be one of the “girls'” parents, but he could appear as one of Hannah’s (Dunham) bosses. Season two of Girls premieres in January, so it may be too late to include him. But if he’s available for season three, C.K. would make for a pretty amazing guest star.
2. Minka Kelly on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother
Yes, I’m going to say it: I think Kelly should be the “mother.” Despite all of the young and beautiful TV actresses to come and go on the comedy, Kelly has yet to guest star. She was reportedly up for the role of Zoey in 2010, but that went to Once Upon a Time actress Jennifer Morrison. There aren’t many choices left for the role, especially if the series gets a ninth season (which it shouldn’t), and who else could make Rachel Bilson look bad (as the “mother” did)?
Kelly has completed a guest spot on NBC’s Parenthood and starred on ABC’s canceled Charlie’s Angels, but she is best known for NBC’s Friday Night Lights. It’s time for her to return to TV as the woman of Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) dreams.
1. Bill Murray on Parks and Recreation
Viewers have yet to meet the often-mentioned mayor on Parks and Recreation, but if we ever meet him, star Amy Poehler has someone in mind: NBC’s Saturday Night Live veteran Murray. When Poehler appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2011, “Bill Murray, if you’re listening, I will pay you $250 to do one episode of my show.” The comment even spawned a Facebook group called, “Bill Murray for mayor on Parks and Recreation.”
If anyone is the mayor, it has to be a big personality, and Murray would be perfect. The actor could also help to bring better ratings to the struggling comedy, which deserves to be so much more popular than it is.
What guest spots would you love to see? Let us know!
Tags: Aaron Sorkin, ABC, Adult Swim, Alexis Bledel, Amanda Peet, AMC, Amy Poehler, Bent, Bill Murray, Breaking Bad, CBS, Charlie McDermott, Charlie's Angels, Childrens Hospital, Chris Messina, Cloverfield, Community, Cowboys & Aliens, Donal Logue, ER, Fox, Friday Night Lights, FX, Gary Oldman, Georgia Rule, Giancarlo Esposito, Gilmore Girls, Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Happy Endings, Harrison Ford, HBO, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, Ian Somerhalder, Jane Fonda, Jason Dohring, Jeff Daniels, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Plemons, Jesse Williams, Joel McHale, Josh Holloway, Josh Radnor, Justified, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Lauren Graham, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Lawless, Lena Dunham, Lie to Me, Lizzy Caplan, Lost, Louie, Louis C.K., Masters of Sex, Michael Raymond-James, Milo Ventimiglia, Minka Kelly, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Moonlight, NBC, New Girl, Nina Dobrev, Once Upon a Time, Parenthood, Parker Posey, Parks and Recreation, Party Down, Paul Schneider, Perfect Couples, Post Grad, Rachel Bilson, Raising Hope, Revolution, Ringer, Saturday Night Live, Showtime, Starz, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Supernatural, Terriers, The Conspirator, The CW, The Good Wife, The Middle, The Mindy Project, The Newsroom, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, The West Wing, Timothy Olyphant, True Blood, Two and a Half Men, United States of Tara, Veronica Mars