20 Actors Who Can Make Any TV Show an Instant Hit

Some actors in Hollywood seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to TV, consistently delivering top-notch performances and appearing in hit after hit. A recent internet poll asked audiences for their favorite choices, and here they are.

David Duchovny 

David Duchovny X-files Fox
Photo Credit: Fox Televison.

“He’s in The X-Files, Californication, and Twin Peaks; all brilliant shows!”

“I was going to say David Duchovny for The X-Files and Californication.”

Richard Madden

Richard Madden Medici Big Light Productions
Photo Credit: Medici Big Light Productions.

“On the newer side of things, Richard Madden was in GOT, Medici, and The Bodyguard.”

“Who would have thought, out of all the young talent, that he would have the most post-GOT success?”

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston Seinfeld Giggling Goose Productions
Photo Credit: Giggling Goose Productions.

He’s been in a few heavy hitters; Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle, and Seinfeld.”

“I’m watching Seinfeld for the first time, and it’s cool looking forward to all the guest appearances from people who are really famous now.”

Martin Freeman 

Martin Freeman The Office UK BBC
Photo Credit: BBC.

“Martin Freeman has been in The Office, Sherlock, and Fargo (I didn’t like it personally, but he was good, and most people seem to love it).”

“I want to give Martin Freeman a shout-out for Fargo, Sherlock, and the UK version of The Office.”

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson The X-files Fox
Photo Credit: Fox TV.

“The X-Files, Hannibal, The Fall; even Sex Education was great, but it hasn’t run long enough to cement its status as an all-time great addition to her filmography.”

“She’ll be in The Crown Season 4, so that’s another great show to add.”

Ted Danson

Ted Danson CSI CBS Broadcasting
Photo Credit: CBS Broadcasting.

“Ted Danson has a pretty good list: Cheers, Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Good Place (plus CSI, Bored to Death, Fargo, etc.).”

“Ted Danson is a delightful face in all the shows he’s in. He even made CSI likable.”

Julie Louis-Dreyfus

Julie Louis-Dreyfus Seinfeld Castle Rock Entertainment
Photo Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

“She has three big hits; Seinfeld, Veep, and Old Christine.”

“The New Adventures of Old Christine was great, and she won a couple of Emmys.”

“The plot gets wacky in the later seasons, and you start to hate some of the characters, but the jokes always land.”

Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk Breaking Bad AMC
Photo Credit: AMC.

“I’m talking Breaking Bad, Fargo, and Better Call Saul.”

“How can you talk about Bob Odenkirk and not mention Mr. Show with Bob and David?”

“And one memorable episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

David Tennant

David Tennant Dr Who BBC
Photo Credit: BBC.

“David Tennant is in Doctor Who & Jessica Jones, oh and Broadchurch.”

“Agreed. I also have high hopes for him in Good Omens.”

Michael C Hall 

Michael C Hall Dexter Showtime
Photo Credit: Showtime.

“For two shows: 6 Feet Under and, of course, Dexter.”

“He was a TV powerhouse for 12 consecutive years, even if the end of Dexter was a drop in quality.”

“Safe on Netflix as well, which I liked. And isn’t he Kennedy in The Crown?”

Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion Two Guys FX Network
Photo Credit: FX Network.

“I love him for Firefly, and Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place was great.”

“The Rookie is getting very good reviews. Castle ran for eight seasons. He was in a season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. He’s had roles on Modern Family and Santa Clarita Diet.”

“He’s definitely had a significant presence in multiple well-regarded shows.”

Damian Lewis

Damian Lewis Life NBC Universal Television
Photo Credit: NBC Universal Television.

“Band of Brothers, Homeland, Billions. It blew my mind when I learned he was English. His accent is so good!”

“He was also the lead on Life, which ran for a couple of seasons. He starred across Sarah Shahi, who is another good one with recurring roles.”

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell Veronica Mars Hulu Original
Photo Credit: Hulu Original.

“Speaking of The Good Place, Kristen Bell. Veronica Mars, House of Lies, TGP, various encounters with sloths.”

“Yes! Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars, The Good Place, Heroes, and House of Lies.”

“She was of one of the best parts of Heroes, a show that was rapidly going downhill.”

Amy Acker 

Amy Acker Person of Interest Warner Bros Television
Photo Credit: Warner Bros Television.

“She’s been in Alias, Person of Interest, Dollhouse, and Angel.”

“Don’t forget The Gifted; I’d say having Amy Acker is enough of a qualification to be a great show at this point.”

“Definitely, she’s one of the main things that makes the show better.”

Alison Brie 

Alison Brie Mad Men AMC
Photo Credit: AMC.

“Brie has been in Community, Bojack Horseman, GLOW, and Mad Men. All amazing shows.”

“Unfortunately, for Mad Men, they just didn’t have the budget to make her a regular. They’d rather give Don a third family than give Pete even one. The world isn’t fair.”

Katey Sagal

Katey Sagal Married with children Fox
Photo Credit: Fox TV.

“Sagal starred in Married with Children, 8 Simple Rules, Futurama, and Sons of Anarchy.”

“Futurama did a parody episode of Married with Children with an alien named Al.”

“I love her on Shameless as Frank’s unstable girlfriend.”

Elizabeth Moss

Elizabeth Moss The Handsmaids Tale Hulu
Photo Credit: Hulu.

“Elisabeth Moss? With West Wing, Mad Men, and The Handmaid’s Tale.”

“She was my first thought. Also Top of the Lake.”

“Shame she’s also the Scientologist poster girl!”

Aiden Gillen

Aiden Gillen Peaky Blinders BBC.
Photo Credit: BBC.

“He has been in The Wire, Game of Thrones, and Peaky Blinders, which are all top-level!”

“Yes, but you’re forgetting Love Hate.”

David Boreanaz 

David Boreanaz Buffy Sandollar Television
Photo Credit: Sandollar Television.

“He was in Buffy, Angel, Bones, and SEAL Team as well (but I haven’t seen that yet).

“In the past 22 years, he’s only missed the 2004-2005 TV season. 21 out of those 22 years he’s been part of the main cast of four network TV shows on three different networks.”

Carrie Coon

Carrie Coon The Leftovers HBO
Photo Credit: HBO.

“Carrie Coon is in The Leftovers, Fargo, and The Sinner.”

“Can’t believe I had to scroll this far to find her. The first two are obviously in a different league than the Sinner.”

“This is who I was going to mention. For just quality alone, The Leftovers and Fargo are on their own level.”

Lee Pace

Lee Pace Wonderfalls 20th Century Fox Studios
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Studios.

“Lee Pace for Pushing Daisies, and Halt and Catch Fire.”

“He was in Wonderfalls, too. Criminally under-appreciated show.”