Every time a film audience steps into a theater, they are stepping into a new, unique world in which they are asked to believe the actors as embodiments of fictional characters. These days it is not uncommon to have two films out in theaters at a time that feature the same actor. Yet, it never appears to be an issue that the audience just accepts that it is an actor’s job to take on new roles, and it is the producers and directors’ jobs to work with the best actors for those roles, regardless of current saturation in the industry.
Though the process of producing television is not that far from film, often the attitude towards the actors is a bit more precious because they come into our homes week after week, if we’re lucky year after year. Therefore, it can often be an adjustment to see leads—or even shows—switch gears so quickly.
Yet, in order to continuously keep current within modern media, it is inevitable that programming will adapt. The fall television season of 2012 will reflect this perhaps better than ever with the inclusion of American Horror Story, a series returning to FX for its second all-inclusive season. Though the Ryan Murphy helmed horror drama started out like any other (except it featured a Rubberman...), its first season storyline wrapped up completely within twelve episodes. When the new season rolls around—set in a new time period and location with a completely different theme, none of the characters from season one will be back—but many of the actors will.
Will audiences be able to watch season one scene stealers Jessica Lange and Evan Peters and see any characters other than their dynamic Constance and Tate, respectively? When on television show ends, the actors from it often jump to another series, but very rarely is it one so similar in genre and tone.
The CW’s Arrow has its own hurdle to jump, in that it is telling the story of Oliver Queen, a character we saw in a different, albeit lesser, incarnation on the network’s other superhero Smallville. There the role was tackled by Justin Hartley, but in the new series, Stephen Amell steps in.
“I think the audience these days are savvy enough to recognize that there's multiple iterations possible for any given character. I mean, look at The Amazing Spider-Man the movie. It's only, like, what, five years since the last Spider-Man movie?” Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim considered.
“We certainly want to chart our own course and chart our own destiny…Andrew [Kreisberg, co-executive producer] says it correctly: “Your love for Michael Keaton doesn't affect your love for Christian Bale, and Christian Bales doesn't affect your love for Adam West. There are different iterations that are possible for any character.”
Are you ready for the next one? Sound off in the comments below with whether or not you like television thinking outside of its usual box or if you’re just not ready to embrace change.