How Celebrity Casting Ruined Law & Order’s "Shocking Twist"

The Kidnapped reunion continued last night on Law & Order. It's one of those things that amaze me. There I was last year watching this fantastic show, but I was the only one. Now, the actors from the show (and the producers) are appearing in tons of different projects, including the aforementioned Law & Order.

Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roache are already regulars on the show, but last night Will Denton guest starred. Well, maybe he's not a big enough actor to be a guest star, but he certainly appeared on the show. For those not quite sure who Denton was on Kidnapped, that's easy enough to answer: he was the kidnapped one.

Now, Denton, as he's not that recognizable (unless you're Kidnapped-obsessed like some of us) was fine to have appear out of nowhere as the returned-from-college son of the murder victim. One didn't instantly know he was the culprit. The same was not true of the show's bit of stunt casting last night and the appearance of Sean Astin.

If Sean Astin is appearing in an episode of Law & Order, it's because he's the bad guy. There's no other reason for him to be there. It's certainly not going to be that Astin appeared to play a bit role, and that his youth minister character was only going to appear in one scene. Yet, the show took forever to build up to the arrest of Astin's character.

The storyline was interesting, but Law & Order is all about the shocking twists, and arresting Astin wasn't a shocking twist, even though the script was written with it as one. It's just a bit disappointing. Thus, I caution all you TV producers, think before you stunt cast (just like you need to think before you give those “previously on” bits that giveaway things that are going to happen that episode because you showed a character in the “previously on” that hasn't appeared in two and a half seasons).

Going beyond the “bit disappointing,” and I know I'm behind a day on this one: Miss Guided. Did you watch that? Judging by the ratings, you didn't. I know, it's from the mind of Ashton Kutcher, so I should have expected just what I got. Watching the premiere (and can we stop calling them “special previews” when a new show is placed in a different timeslot from what its regular one will be?), I think I counted no fewer than three other (better) shows it was either lovingly borrowing the style or the content from.

I'm normally not one to delete a Season Pass from my TiVo after just one episode (and a “special preview,” not even the series premiere at that), but Miss Guided is gone. It disappeared from my TiVo's To Do List as soon as the episode ended. I like the cast, I don't mind the premise, but the execution – well, it would be like having Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie appear on an episode of Law & Order in what seem to be bit parts and have the shocking twist be that they did it.


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