Tom Selleck, William Shatner and Jimmy Smits among the faces resurrected this fall on network TV
We’re used to seeing TV shows resurrected all the time; CBS is pumping new life into Hawaii Five-O and the CW is excavating La Femme Nikita this season alone.
But what surprises this fall is how many actors are finding new life on the small screen after we’ve already seen their deaths (and I’m not just talking about Jim Belushi’s career).
Here’s a list of the coolest actor resurrections coming your way this fall:
Died in: Showtime’s Dexter as wife Rita Morgan.
Resurrected in: ABC’s No Ordinary Family as workaholic scientist Stephanie Powell.
The scoop: We last saw Benz as Rita Morgan, wife to serial killer Dexter Morgan, murdered by his nemesis, John Lithgow’s Trinity killer, at the end of last season. This fall, she’s the beleaguered working mom at the heart of a disintegrating family given super powers when their plane crashes in the Amazon. If only Rita had super speed when Trinity came calling.
Died in: HBO’s The Sopranos as Christopher Moltisani.
Resurrected in: ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 as homicide Det. Louis Fitch.
The Scoop: Moltisanti died at the hands of uncle Tony Soprano, the ultimate proof of that character’s viciousness as a stone cold killer. But that death sparked a spate of cop roles for Imperioli (ABC’s Life on Mars, The Lovely Bones film) culminating in Fitch, a streetwise, damaged homicide detective chasing bad guys in the nation’s murder capital. Uncle Tony surely would be appalled.
Died: not once, but twice in the Star Trek movie Generations as James T. Kirk.
Resurrected in: CBS’ $#*! My Dad Says as the Dad.
The Scoop: Originally, Shatner’s classic starship captain was to be shot in the back (he had already been grabbed by a giant space ribbon that left people thinking he was dead), but producers of Generations called him back to film a more theatrical death scene catering to the Shat-man’s particular, um, thespian talents. Now, he’s playing an irascible father based on a real guy whose profane saying were exposed on his son’s Twitter page. It’s Shatner’s first old school sitcom, an experience in entertaining he said makes him “part minstrel, part actor.”
Died in: CBS’ Magnum P.I., before he was, um, resurrected.
Resurrected in: CBS’ Blue Bloods as New York Police Chief Frank Reagan.
The Scoop: As showbiz legend has it, Magnum producers assumed the show was going to be canceled in 1987 and wrote a surreal season ender that had Selleck’s Thomas Magnum getting killed and going to heaven. When fans freaked out, they turned it all into a dream. More than 20 years later, Selleck sports the same macho moustache as Reagan, the patriarch keeping peace between his detective son (Donnie Wahlberg) and assistant district attorney daughter (Bridget Moynihan). But no noisy Hawaiian shirts. Yet.
Died in: three different shows; Dexter, NYPD Blue and Miami Vice.
Resurrected in: NBC’s Outlaw as former Supreme Court justice Cyrus Garza.
The Scoop: Smits’ first death came in the first episode of his first series; as the unfortunate original partner of Don Johnson’s undercover cop Sonny Crockett, killed in a car explosion in Vice’s pilot. Next, came his emotional death from a heart condition as Bobby Simone on Blue, and in 2008, death by serial killer after his unhinged assistant district attorney Miguel Prado tried in vain to turn Dexter Morgan into his personal killing machine. On Wednesday, viewers will see him as Garza, a womanizing justice who leaves the court to become a defense attorney. Given his past luck with cop and law jobs, he might want to be careful.