You again! TV Stars who tasted success on two shows #AtoZChallenge

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Becoming an icon on a television show is no easy feat with ratings wars and finicky fan followings for each show. Over the years, many have starred in various shows with very few breaking the code. But there are the rare few who are lucky enough to taste success not once but twice, known across generations for two iconic roles. This post focuses on those talented stars who cracked the code twice in different shows and had us going 'You again! I know you!'.  

Hugh Laurie - House MD / Jeeves & Wooster

As Jeeves, he is the hilariously silly rich British kid from the 1900's with no brains who is dependent on his butler to get him out of trouble.
Decades later, House MD would turn it all upside down, leaving him an genius, drug addled, scowl-faced American doctor who solves medical mysteries that nobody else can.

Nathan Fillion - Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Castle / Firefly / 2 Guys and a Girl

Yes, you love him today as Castle. 
But if you knew the sadistic woman-hating sociopath priest he played in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wonder how you would have reacted if you met him on the streets.
Credit to him for being a versatile actor. He would follow it up with a comic turn in 2 Guys & a Girl (which also starred actor Ryan Reynolds).He then became the iconic captain of the spaceship Serenity in Firefly, a show still loved by fans a decade after it went off air.

What you are seeing below is an episode of Castle where he basically dresses up as himself from Firefly & gets admonished by his daughter for: 
a) thinking the outfit was cool for Halloween.
b) in a truly meta sense of humor, for still carrying hopes that the show would return to TV screens someday!

Charlie Sheen - Anger Management / Two and a Half Men

Both roles are basically Charlie Sheen playing himself in real life.
But God help us! He plays that role so well.

William Shatner - Star Trek / Boston legal

As Captain James Kirk, he is the iconic captain of the Starship Enterprise that sails across galaxies seeking out new planets.
As Denny Crane, he is a pompous old partner of a law firm with a tongue that knows no license, living on his laurels and possibly suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

James Spader - Boston Legal / The Blacklist

If Shatner's tongue knows no license in this show, Spader was able to showcase his lingual abilities in Boston Legal. As the senior lawyer often taking on difficult cases, he has such a beautiful gift of gab that he could win from the brink of defeat with his closing summaries.
Blacklist though gave him exactly what he needed - a show that turned the spotlight solely on him. Here he is a famous assassin who surrenders to the government on the condition of helping them solve other cases while having his own secret agenda.

Bryan Cranston

A supremely gifted actor. Before he immortalized the 'drug manufacturing high school teacher with cancer' role of Walter White in the crime drama Breaking Bad, he was the dim-witted dad in the hilarious Malcolm in the Middle, trying to keep up with his genius son.

Courtney Cox - Friends / Cougar Town

FRIENDS made stars out of all 6 main leads. But only Courtney Cox can claim to have two shows that lasted for a 100 episodes.

David Caruso - NYPD Blues / CSI: Miami

Before he became the awesome Lieutenant Horatio Caine who solved crimes with sunglasses attached, he won his only Golden Globe award for the role of John Kelly, an upcoming detective whose career gets sidetracked when he helps a fellow officer kill a mob boss.

David Duchovny - X files / Californication

How do you top becoming a pop culture legend in your first TV show as FBI agent Mulder chasing aliens and all paranormal stuff?
Well, you become a writer who is a major sex addict! (Note to self: Time to update life goals)

Gillian Anderson - X-Files / The Fall

After being an FBI agent hunting the paranormal, Gillian decided it was time to settle for something more simpler, thus choosing to hunt serial killers for a change. Either way, she is damn good at it. 

Bob Saget - Full house / How I Met Your Mother

Everyone guessed Full House. But where was he in How I Met Your Mother? 
You guessed it. He was the voice of the narrator you heard from the very first episode to the show finale. 

Rowan Atkinson - Bean / Blackadder

Admit it. He could read the dictionary and still make you laugh!

David Hasselhoff - Baywatch / Knight Rider

Knightrider. Baywatch. 'nuff said.

Scott Bakula - Quantum Leap / Enterprise 

Sci-fi loves him and vice versa! From the guy trying to correct things gone wrong in the past after
being trapped in a time machine that malfunctions in Quantum Leap to being the Captain of Earth's first long range interstellar ship in the Star Trek series.

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss - Seinfeld / Veep

Took her awhile after the high of Seinfeld but Julia Louis found her comic timing once more as the comical Vice President of America.

Morena Baccarin - Homeland / Firefly

You've seen her recently being courted by Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool. But before that, she has been the beautiful but mysterious Courtesan licensed by the union of allied planets, the beautiful but mysterious Dr Leslie Thompkins in Gotham and won an Emmy as the beautiful but mysterious wife of ex-marine Brody who was captured by terrorists.

Why yes. I do find her beautiful and mysterious. How did you know?

David Tennant - Dr Who / Broadchurch / Jessica Jones

Charismatic, enigmatic, creepy, sullen, snarky.
Ask him to change his shades and this actor does it on cue. 

Mandy Patinkin - Chicago Hope / Criminal Minds / Homeland

Be it as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on Chicago Hope or Jason Gideon, the former Behavioural Analysis Unit chief in Criminal Minds or Saul Berenson, the CIA's Middle East Division Chief in Homeland, he is simply a superior breed of actor.

Thomas Gibson - Chicago Hope / Dharma & Greg / Criminal minds 

Yes, same two shows as Mandy Patinkin above and same professions too in these shows. But he's also got the hilarious Dharma & Greg in his repertoire.

Doris Roberts - Remington Steele / Everybody Loves Raymond

Sigh. What a way to end a fine list. Rest in peace, Doris. Thanks for all the laughs.

To see all the shows  I have talked about till date, please CLICK HERE.

Authors note:
Turns out I missed a few.

  • Neil Patrick Harris for Doogie Howser M.D. and How I Met Your Mother should definitely have been there.
  • Also David Boraneaz for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Bones.
  • Julie Bowen for Boston Legal & Modern Family.
  • Dennis Franz for Hill Street Blues & NYPD Blues.
  • Martin Freeman for The Office (UK) and Sherlock.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Of these I remember Doris Roberts in Remington Steele and Everybody Loves Raymond. She was the best. But, what a list Roshan!

  2. It's amazing how the same actor can act in a really different role but somehow I always remember and associate the actor forever in the very first role I saw him.

    1. Oh that happens with all of us at some level. I still see Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard while the whole world says Professor X.

  3. Truly an amazing list Roshan! Hats off for compiling this fantastic post! I can't make up my mind which ones to comment on! Nathan Fillion is really versatile, so is Hugh Laurie. Charlie Sheen more or less the same style in both these shows. Shatner I didn't like much in Boston Legal but his character was such.Bryan Cranston is just unbelievable, Atkinson a riot and Duchovny did what? Resetting your life goals are you doc? I think this may be my favorite post yet!
    @KalaRavi16 from

    1. Thanks.. This was one which took a lot of effort. But it was part of the Trivia I wanted to share. So many would not have known they were watching the same guy in some cases

  4. Love love the post and it shows your passion. Love Haselhoff in Knight Rider:)

  5. I love star trek but not the original series, and James Spader is the only reason I watch the Blacklist. Plus both of em are amazing on Boston Legal! So glad to see them mentioned. / #atozchallenge

    1. Totally agree. Boston Legal was a joy to watch... and Blacklist was so written for James Spader's style

  6. Wow, what a comprehensive list ! Amazing work doc :)
    Add to the list, Julie Brown for Modern Family and a stint in Boston Legal !

  7. Loved this comprehensive post! I loved James Spader as Alan Shore in Boston Legal. Must watch him in Blacklist too.

    1. Blacklist is tailor made for his style.. trust me. You will watch it for him alone in the end :)

  8. It is so hard to imagine Castle as something else! He's so awesome as Castle!

    1. He was devastatingly evil as Caleb... for those who watched Buffy a decade ago, seeing him as Castle is the oddity :)

  9. Clever use of the letter "Y"! ☺ I'm familiar with most of these shows. Love Nathan Fillion! You mentioned David Caruso, but what about the other guy in the picture? Dennis Franz was in Hill Street Blues, Beverly Hills Buntz and NYPD Blue. Another favourite of mine. The A to Z is almost finished. Can you believe it? Cheers!

    1. I totally did not think of him :) Yes, will check it out.
      And yes, its a lot to imagine for me too... completing a month long blogging challenge!

  10. Clever use of the letter "Y"! ☺ I'm familiar with most of these shows. Love Nathan Fillion! You mentioned David Caruso, but what about the other guy in the picture? Dennis Franz was in Hill Street Blues, Beverly Hills Buntz and NYPD Blue. Another favourite of mine. The A to Z is almost finished. Can you believe it? Cheers!

  11. Martin Freeman - The Office Uk and Sherlock

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