Fall '07: The British Are Coming
New shows feature preponderance of Brit stars
TV viewers can prepare themselves for a glut of British and Australian actors starring in new series, and playing Americans, next season. A dozen actors from those two countries -- plus Denmark's Nikolaj Coster-Waldau -- will have lead roles on network shows in the coming year.
Of those, only Richard Ayoade of NBC's midseason comedy "The IT Crowd" will get to play a Brit. He starred in the British version of the show as well and is essentially reprising the character in the stateside adaptation.
Actors from the former British empire playing Americans is hardly a new trend -- Hugh Laurie ("House"), Ian McShane ("Deadwood") and Dominic West ("The Wire") are a few prominent recent examples. But the explosion of Brits and Aussies in the coming season's new shows is a rarity. Here's a rundown:
At ABC, Aussie Miranda Otto ("The Lord of the Rings") and Brit Frances O'Connor ("Iron Jawed Angels") star in the drama "Cashmere Mafia," while British actor Jonny Lee Miller plays the title character in the midseason drama "Eli Stone."
CBS cast Australian Alex O'Loughlin ("The Shield") as its vampire P.I. in "Moonlight" and Englishman Jack Davenport ("Coupling") in the midseason show "Swingtown." Londoner Lloyd Owen has the lead role in "Viva Laughlin," which is based on a British show and executive produced by Aussie Hugh Jackman (who'll also have a recurring part).
In addition to Ayoade, NBC has former "EastEnders" star Michelle Ryan as its "Bionic Woman" and two other Brits, Kevin McKidd ("Rome") and Damian Lewis ("Band of Brothers") in the lead roles of "Journeyman" and "Life," respectively.
At FOX, Coster-Waldau stars as an immortal detective in "New Amsterdam," and Lena Headey, who was born in Bermuda and raised in England, playing the title role in "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." Finally, Ed Westwick ("Children of Men") is among the ensemble in The CW's "Gossip Girl."