Every season of TV brings a mix of returning shows, big new ideas and, well, new shows that look a lot like old shows. But it also means a set of new faces, any one of whom might become the big name TV stars of tomorrow. Now that we’re a few weeks into the TV season, here’s who we think will be 2015’s big breakout stars.
1. Priyanka Chopra
Bollywood star Chopra is making her big American debut in “Quantico,” a show that somehow combines the DNA of both “Homeland” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Those might seem like an odd pairing, but when it comes down to it, photogenic young people in dangerous situations are always pretty appealing. The show’s premiere episode attracted quite a bit of attention, and Chopra, as the show’s star, is poised to become the face of that success.
2. Jaimie Alexander
The concept of “Blindspot” might have sounded a little goofy — tattooed, naked amnesiac discovered in Times Square has crime clues hidden in her tattoos — but it’s a concept that people have tuned in for. No doubt, that’s partly because of Alexander’s grounded portrayal of someone who behaves with an appealing mix of fear and bravado when it comes to figuring out just what’s happened to her, and who was involved.
3. Fred Savage
OK, hear us out: This guy might not exactly be a new name. But Savage hasn’t taken a starring onscreen role since 2006, and has mostly been a director in the years since he charmed everyone as the youthful protagonist of “The Wonder Years.” His starring role in Fox’s “The Grinder” is a helpful reminder that he’s actually a pretty compelling and naturalistic performer, with a keen sense of comic timing even when he’s playing the straight man.
4. Rachel Bloom
Talk about your big breaks: Prior to getting the lead in musical comedy “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” Bloom had mostly done voiceover work, though she had a thriving career as a writer and performer of comedic songs. Classics such as an ode to wanting to be seduced by famed scifi author Ray Bradbury and a desperate attempt to find a theater nerd to watch the Tonys with were no doubt part of what got her the role.
5. Jussie Smollett
Sure, “Empire” came out last year, but the show’s first season was all about viewers falling in love with Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie. Now that the show is returning, it might be time for the rest of the cast to get a little attention, and Smollett’s turn as tortured, talented, ambitious Jamal seems likely to get him plenty of star power. Plus, the show seems to be setting him up as the villain this season, which is always a good way to show off your skills.