The SFX bloggers name the sci-fi actors they love to watch, even if what they’re watching them in is rubbish. Alasdair Stuart is master of ceremonies
You know the feeling. You’re watching something and you recognise an actor or actress and just, relax a little bit. It’s them, it’s him or her from that thing you like, and you know even if the rest of what you’re watching is so unbelievably horrible you’ll be picking a hole in your trouser leg to distract yourself (I’ve done this), they will, at least, be watchable. Freelance scientists have come to refer to this as The Sheppard Effect or MarkSheppardosis and this week, in the interests of science, we’re looking at exactly who causes The Sheppard Effect for us. So join us! As we answer this question:
Which actor or actress are you always happy to watch and why?
It’s not usually about the actor for me. It’s about the character and the story and the plot and the drama. Unless the acting is particularly terrible I can watch a whole host of different actors in loads of different things... If I had to list the actors I enjoy to see then we could be here all day. So who do I say? I decided to let my DVD collection speak for me. I had a look on the shelves and by sheer number of things I own with him in it Samuel L Jackson wins. I own 16 films with him in, three more films than the nearest rival Bruce Willis. so, there you go. I tried to come up with someone for TV too but I own that many boxed sets of that many shows it just made my head hurt... So, by the logic of numbers the actor I most look forward to seeing is Samuel L Jackson . Will that do?"
Up to a few months ago Michael Emerson (Ben from Lost ) was someone else I'd say I'd watch in anything. Not so much now – six episodes of Person Of Interest were quite enough thank you. He is an amazing actor though.
Will Salmon: I could watch Matt Smith all day. And intend to later on from my custom-built observation platform. Also Bernard Cribbins , who is just childhood magic personified. I gave a pathetic little cheer the other day when I saw that episode of The Avengers where he plays a knitting obsessive. And also Scarlett Johansson for tediously obvious guy reasons.
Laura McConnell: I could pick from quite a few candidates for this one, but really the choice is as plain as the four noses on your face. (What? You don’t have four noses? Well, too bad, because I have four answers.) First up is Stargate Atlantis ’s Paul McGillion , because he’s gone above and beyond the norm for his fans on several occasions that I know of and three that I’ve experienced myself. Next come Firefly ’s Nathan Fillion and Stargate SG-1 ’s Michael Shanks , for similar reasons. And finally, the internet legend that is Wil Wheaton rounds off the pack, as he seems to truly not be a dick, despite his penchant for playing them so well on some of my favourite shows.
He also played Doctor Michael Smith in the HBO series John From Cincinnati. This was a change of pace from the other roles listed, above, and though a regular character, his was very much on the sidelines. Still good to watch.
Most people know him from The Sarah Connor Chronicles where he played Cromartie/John Henry. Another change of pace, though he nailed the performance, as he always seems to do.
He was also in No Country For Old Men and the remake of The Last House On The Left . Most of the performances that would bring him to the attention of SFX ers, have been in dramatic roles. I was interested to see him play one of the leads in a new US comedy, Raising Hope, which premiered last year. Now into its second season, it has quickly become one of my favourite shows, thanks to Dillahunt and the rest of the brilliant ensemble cast.
He’s done a lot more than the shows and films I've listed above, though. His name on a cast list means it's a show or film I will definitely watch - it’s a guarantee that at least one performance will be top notch.
And, resembling nothing more than a slightly smaller version of Rollins, Tom Hardy is someone else I’m ridiculously happy to see turn up in pretty much anything. I was one of the four people on the planet who liked Nemesis and since then Hardy hasn’t turned in a bad performance. He’s great, along with the equally fun Gerard Butler and Idris Elba in Rock’n’Rolla, he all but steals the show in Inception and he’s stunningly good as an ex-marine turned Mixed Martial Artist in Warrior , the best movie very few people saw this year. In fact, put Hardy and Rollins in the same movie, it writes itself:
He's erudite, angry and tattooed!
He's laconic, angry and tattooed!
They fight crime!
I’d be first in line.
What’s your favourite geeky guilty pleasure?
Prepare for spirited defences of some of geekdom’s best misfit toys as we discuss why we love the things the rest of fandom loves to rag on. Bring your own guilty pleasures, burning torches and pitchforks and we’ll see you then.