5 Actors Who Should Definitely Be On Your Radar

The Good Wife

There are a lot more great actors than ever get the spotlight they deserve. For every A-list star, we’d wager there are three underrated ones. That’s why we at BFTV put together a new list to start your week: the five actors who should definitely be on your radar. Five actors who are – in our opinion – the best actors we’ve ever seen, yet none of whom are necessarily Hollywood heavyweights. These are the five people that we absolutely have to watch in everything they do, no matter the project or the size of the part. Read on to familiarize yourself with our favorite five.

Josh Charles

The Good Wife

Credits: Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and People’s Choice Award winner for his current role as Will Gardner on CBS’s The Good Wife. Starred as Dan Rydell on ABC’s Sports Night. Film work includes S.W.A.T. and Four Brothers.
Why You Should Know Him: It’s all about his ability to forge an emotional connection with the audience. No matter what character he’s playing – whether it’s a highly competitive Chicago lawyer, a glib New York sports anchor, or a Los Angeles cop – he has the talent of making us feel for his character and with his character. We haven’t been counting, but his performances have probably moved us to tears more than any other actor. There’s a sincerity to his efforts, whether it’s a tough-as-nails monologue or a vulnerable scene without a single word. Now that he’s working with award-winning writing on The Good Wife, and especially having a meaty storyline this season, Charles is at his absolute best.
Must Watch: Our America. Not only does Charles do a fantastic job playing radio producer David Isay, the film itself is a moving and thought-provoking story taken from real events in Chicago.

Jason Clarke

Jason Clarke

Credits: Co-starred as Dan in the Oscar-winning film Zero Dark Thirty. Starred as Jarek Wysocki in FOX’s The Chicago Code. Will play John Connor in the upcoming Terminator: Genesis.
Why You Should Know Him: While there are plenty of supposed tough guys out there, Clarke is one performer who we legitimately would not want to cross. The Australian actor not only possesses the physicality to make him imposing, but he knows how to play it. We’re constantly taken just a little aback – in a good way – by how he controls a scene or sometimes an entire production. But Clarke’s not a one-trick pony; his characters are complicated, often messy, sometimes surprisingly funny people that never fit into a box or a cliche. It’s no wonder that he’s found big-screen stardom, because both his presence and his raw talent are huge.
Must Watch: Brotherhood. The TV series that put Clarke on the map and with good reason. Over three seasons, he tears into the role of politician Tommy Caffee, tears him apart, and puts him back together again.

Tony Goldwyn

Scandal

Credits: Currently starring as President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant on ABC’s Scandal. Appears as Andrew Prior in the film adaptation of Divergent, opening in theaters Friday.
Why You Should Know Him: Honestly, this one shouldn’t need that much explanation. Goldwyn’s been a known name in the business since at least 1990, when he played the worst friend ever opposite Patrick Swayze in Ghost. But he should be an even bigger name, because he’s been in another gear with his performance as the ridiculously complicated President Grant on Scandal. He killed somebody in cold blood last season and we still are rooting for Fitz’s re-election; Goldwyn’s performance is so good it’s like Teflon. He can sell even the most questionable moments. And if being an amazing actor isn’t enough, he’s also one of our favorite directors, including working with two of our other picks, helming episodes of The Good Wife and Kidnapped.
Must Watch: Without A Trace. He played twin brothers in the season two episode “Doppleganger” and reprised the roles a season later, and he’s so spot-on that you really will believe you’re watching separate people that just happen to look alike.

Linus Roache

Law & Order

Credits: Currently playing King Ecbert on History’s Vikings. Starred as Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter on NBC’s Law & Order and reprised the role on its spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Can be seen in theaters now in Non-Stop, opposite Liam Neeson.
Why You Should Know Him: He’s that actor we absolutely can’t look away from. When Roache is on screen, we don’t get up to make a sandwich. We don’t even talk. We just have to sit and pay attention to what he’s doing. He commands whatever he’s in simply by being in it. Roache created one of the most engaging characters in TV history as Michael Cutter on Law & Order; his intense, unpredictable performance gave every single one of his episodes perpetual rewatch value. He’s already putting us on edge with his work in Vikings, playing ruthless just as well as he played hero. Read our feature interview for more.
Must Watch: Pick an episode of Law & Order, any episode. Roache elevates the second half of the procedural by routinely startling the bad guys, the opposing counsel, and oftentimes the audience, too.

Michael Trucco

Michael Trucco

Credits: Recently starred as Billy Parker in ABC’s Killer Women. Previously played Justin Patrick in USA’s Fairly Legal and Samuel Anders in SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica.
Why You Should Know Him: He’s everything we love most about acting – someone who works hard and wrings the most, if not more, out of every role he’s given. We have yet to find a part that Trucco couldn’t play, and we’ve seen pretty much everything he’s ever done, from sitcom to drama to sci-fi. It’s amazing to watch him tackle not only so many characters, but projects that are vastly different from one another. We’re not talking the occasional departure like most actors, but real versatility. We never quite know what he’s going to turn up in next, but we do know that seeing his name in the credits means whatever it is, is worth watching. Read our feature interview for more.
Must Watch: The second season of Fairly Legal. Given a storyline for Justin that’s independent of the drama with his ex-wife, Trucco shines and really develops the character extensively over the course of the season. The joys of TV.

Who are the actors who’d make your can’t miss list? Not the big names, not even the most popular actors, but those people whose next projects you eagerly await? The ones whose complete filmographies you own, even that obscure direct-to-video movie they were in? Tell us who they are – and why they make your list – in the comments.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Michael Trucco: BFTV’s One To Watch In 2014

Michael Trucco

Michael Trucco

Consistency is an undervalued quantity in show business. There’s nothing more gratifying than discovering somebody who’s worked hard, role after role and year after year, delivering characters that surpass expectations or break the mold, knowing that you could literally watch anything they’ve done and be entertained by it. Unless it’s that actor finally breaking through and getting noticed for how damn talented they are. Such is the case with our friend Michael Trucco, who’s firing on all cylinders to make him our One To Watch in 2014.

Make no mistake about it, Michael didn’t just happen. You probably just didn’t notice him until his wonderfully nuanced turn as Samuel Anders in Battlestar Galactica. After that show ended in 2009, he then became the best thing about Fairly Legal for two seasons until 2012. And wisely, ABC then snatched him up to play a key supporting role in Killer Women. While we’re still mourning the loss of that show, he’s already working on another pilot, Sea of Fire. We cannot keep him off television, and that is a very, very good thing.

Killer Women may go down in TV history as a misfire, but you can’t say that about Michael’s performance as Billy Parker, the brother of Texas Ranger Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer), who had his own drama to deal with. For the first few episodes, Billy was mostly in the background, yet even with limited screen time, we were watching Michael build a complete character. We still grasped that Billy was a devoted father, husband and brother, with his own internal conflicts.

By the time he finally got the spotlight thrown on him near the end of the series, Michael had successfully gotten us invested in the character, to the point where he was the one we were the most worried about, even though he wasn’t the star of the show. Billy’s concluding arc resonated because we had still come to discover who he was and why we should care. That accomplishment is all the more remarkable when you consider that ABC aired Killer Women out of order, with two episodes missing, including the season finale that gives closure to its cliffhanger.

“I’m sad to see it go,” Michael reflected when we connected with him last week. “I think there was a lot of potential, and I think the show was starting to build on it. All of us, and I think a lot of fans included, wish that they would’ve just aired chronologically all eight episodes. But somewhere, there exist two unseen episodes. That cliffhanger was meant to be succeeded by episode eight.”

Whether or not we ever see the rest of Killer Women remains to be seen, but at least we got the best news possible out of its demise – that Michael has landed another project with an equally impressive cast. In Sea of Fire, centered on a wave of scandal in a small town that includes a disappearance and a murder, he’ll play Pete Harper, described as a former high school football star who is now a real estate developer. And the cast surrounding him is inspired, including another notable flying just under the radar, Jack Davenport.

“He’s fantastic. He classes up the joint,” said Michael, before going on to praise the rest of his new colleagues. “Jennifer Carpenter, it goes without saying, coming off one of the best shows on television, Dexter. I’ve got Jeffrey Nordling, who’s just fantastic in everything he does. I’m also working with Lilli Birdsell, who got her start in Pensacola: Wings of Gold.” Better known as the show in which Michael landed his first series regular role, way back in 1998. And he’s been one of those dependably good actors ever since.

But a funny thing happens when you have the opportunity to observe someone’s acting career over a period of time. You get to watch them grow. And in Michael’s case, we’ve gotten to watch him emerge – particularly over the last decade – as someone who isn’t just dependably good, he’s dependably amazing. He’s transitioned from groundbreaking science fiction epic, to comedy-drama, to straight up drama; from supporting character to male lead and back to supporting role. That’s also from humanoid machine to straight-laced Assistant District Attorney to blue-collar family man. Oh, and while he was at it, he snuck in a guest role on Intelligence as a cocky Secret Service agent, too.

That’s pretty much the definition of the term ‘diversity,’ and it’s something Michael embraces. “Yeah, a hundred percent,” he told us when we asked if he aims for a variety of parts. “I’m trying not to be this one-trick pony and do the same thing over and over again.” We really don’t think there’s much chance of that.

After all, most actors want to expand their resumes, but you don’t see many do so as aggressively as Michael has done. And you definitely don’t see them deliver like he has. He exists in a small group of actors who don’t just perform well, but always seem to improve on the material that they’re given. Refer back to Killer Women, and how he built Billy from mostly subplots. Or Fairly Legal, where his Justin Patrick stopped being just the love interest for Kate Reed, and became his own man. Even with Intelligence, we still felt like his character had a whole story of his own we wanted to hear. For years now, we’ve watched Michael elevate material, and provoke us to react, and make us remember everything he does. When we look at him, we see one of the best actors in the business.

And especially over the last five years, it seems like the rest of the TV world is catching up with us. We’ve watched him land regular roles on three series seemingly one right after another, hopefully soon to be four should Sea of Fire be greenlit to series in the near future. It’s as if everyone else has gotten the memo that this man needs to be utilized.

But does Michael feel like there’s been a difference in his career trajectory? “A little bit. There’s something to be said for momentum,” he told us. “I don’t know if they think it’s because I’m good or it’s opportunity – right place, right time. I think there’s a lot of luck in this career.”

In fact, he thinks the tide really began to turn even earlier, after the conclusion of Battlestar. “Upon being a participant in a show like Battlestar Galactica…there’s a difference walking into a room, to an interview, or to an audition,” he continued. “Suddenly I found that people knew my name, they knew my face, and by association with a product like Battlestar Galactica, it warranted a certain amount of respect. What happens is your confidence goes up.”

He’s got every reason to be confident going into the remainder of 2014. In addition to being a truly gifted actor who’s now part of a fantastically cast and written pilot (“one of the best scripts I’ve read this year,” he tells us), he also happens to be one of the best people in the business, too. The best way to articulate this is to get personal for a few sentences: having covered Fairly Legal and later Killer Women, I first met Michael just over three years ago, and we’ve been friends for the last two. In those two years, we’ve shared some of what I consider to be the best moments of my life, just because he’s such a joy to be around. I’ve seen first-hand how down-to-earth, considerate, supportive, warm and wickedly funny he is. I’m not sure I’d be the person I am today if I didn’t know him. He’s a class act, in addition to being a tremendous actor.

If you want corroboration on that, here’s some from his Killer Women spouse, Marta Milans. “Shooting with him has been a gift from God,” she said last month. “He’s been the person that I’ve obviously had to work with most, [and] every single time that we’ve been together, every single scene that we work on, having somebody that gives you so much, you’re aware of creating something special.”

So honestly, the time has really come. Audiences have watched Michael transform characters for so many years, no matter what gets thrown at him, no matter the size of the role or even the life span of the project. He’s always left an impact, whether it’s been in a multi-year role or a 42-minute guest appearance. There’s no doubt that he’s got talent just waiting to be fully appreciated. And we’ve seen how much effort he’s given, how much thought he’s put into each of those roles, and how great of a heart he’s got off-screen. Here’s a remarkable man, a phenomenal talent just waiting for that final piece to fall into place.

“I always feel like I’m right there,” he told us. “Like one of these shows will go and I’ll take it to the next level.” With his work in Killer Women and the promise of Sea of Fire, we’re feeling like Michael will break through one more time in 2014 – and we’ll be thrilled to watch it happen.

If you missed any of Killer Women, you can catch the six aired episodes on iTunes. For more on Michael, be sure you’re following him on Twitter (@MichaelTrucco).

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.