Michael Emerson broke out on Lost as the strange Ben Linus, and when that show ended, it seemed inevitable he'd return. He plays a similarly odd, possibly-maybe ominous guy on CBS's surveillance thriller Person Of Interest.
There's probably nobody making as hard a turn this fall as Kelsey Grammer, who is leaving Frasier Crane entirely behind as a ruthless Chicago mayor in the Starz drama Boss.
Chuck Hodes/Starz Media
Some shows bring back more than one familiar face. CBS's comedy How To Be A Gentleman brings Entourage star Kevin Dillon to a new home as a macho doofus teaching a polite guy how to be "a real man." But that's not all.
Gentleman also stars Dave Foley — Kids In The Hall veteran whose biggest exposure on American television came on NewsRadio — as the polite guy's boss.
Aaaand it also stars Mary Lynn Rajskub, much loved by fans as 24's Chloe, as the sister of the well-mannered man Dillon's character is charged with teaching about whatever being a "real man" supposedly is.
Jaime Pressly, who won an Emmy for My Name Is Earl, seen here with Tony Award winner and one-time Wonderfalls star Katie Finneran, will be on Fox's I Hate My Teenage Daughter, as a mom who fears that her daughter is turning into a so-called "mean girl."
Hank Azaria has been around — he's a voice on The Simpsons, he starred on Huff, and he made countless appearances on shows like Friends and Mad About You. Now, he'll be half of a dysfunctional semi-couple on NBC's Free Agents, playing opposite Kathryn Hahn.
Minka Kelly spent a few years on Friday Night Lights as cheerleader Lyla Garrity. She's still kicking, but this time as one of the three leads of ABC's Charlie's Angels remake.
Claire Danes is still remembered with great warmth for her work as Angela Chase on the short-lived My So-Called Life. She's more than fifteen years older now, and things are getting substantially heavier for her in Homeland, a new Showtime drama about a soldier who gets out of captivity to find himself suspected of being a traitor.
If there's anyone who is trying to precisely duplicate past success, it's Tim Allen, whose role as a beleaguered "man's man" on ABC's Last Man Standing looks an awful lot like his role as Tim Taylor on the network's Home Improvement. Playing his wife: TV veteran Nancy Travis.
Jennifer Morrison is familiar from House, where she played Dr. Allison Cameron for several seasons. Now, she's on ABC's Once Upon A Time, one of two creepy fairy-tale adaptations coming this fall.
Jeremy Sisto's last big regular TV role was as Detective Cyrus Lupo on late seasons of Law & Order. He's going back to comedy — where he's been before, as fans of the original Clueless remember quite well — in ABC's Suburgatory, about a single dad who takes his precocious daughter out of the city to a new home.
Everyone already knew Margo Martindale was a great character actress. But then, on FX's Justified, she blew everybody else off the screen as matriarch Mags Bennett. Now, she's on CBS's drama A Gifted Man, as the wisecracking assistant to a prickly doctor (Patrick Wilson). If they're smart, they'll give her plenty to do.
Who's in that fedora? Why, it's Dylan McDermott, who spent years as the fiery lead of The Practice. Now, he's the husband in the terrorized family at the center of FX's creepy American Horror Story. Playing his wife is Connie Britton, Emmy-nominated for her work as Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights.
Sarah Michelle Gellar became massively famous as Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Now, she'll be on the CW's Ringer, playing a pair of identical twins.
JoJo Whilden/The CW
But keep in mind: you don't have to be a decorated actor to make a comeback. Ask Eddie Cibrian, who's bounced from Sunset Beach to Third Watch to Vanished to last fall's quickly canceled Chase. He is the man who cannot be kept down, and this fall, he's back on NBC's The Playboy Club — as is David Krumholtz, who recently departed CBS's Numb3rs.
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This fall, like every fall, not only brings a bunch of new faces to television, but also reunites viewers with folks they've liked — or disliked — in the past. Some of these actors are beloved, some are less so, but all of them are known from at least one significant TV project in the past. (Some as recently as last year.)
From Emmy winners to distinctly not-Emmy-winners who simply can't be kept down, it's time to review some of the old favorites and non-favorites who will be popping up again soon.