It's a phenomenon that affects TV actors from time to time. Kind of the opposite of the "Midas Touch." Instead of turning to ratings gold, every television show in which they are cast is destined for failure.
Too bad because I love Nathan Fillion. (In a completely non-sexual-but-still-slightly-creepy-fan kind of way, of course.) I remember him from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place many years ago. I loved him as Caleb in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And YES, I'm one of the few people who actually saw and enjoyed Slither!
But let's face it. After TGGPP and Buffy, Nathan's track record with TV shows hasn't been anything to write Edmonton about. He starred in Firefly, Joss Whedon's sci-fi fantasy, which was a cult hit but a ratings flop. He was in a half-dozen episodes of Alicia Silverstone's doomed romantic comedy Miss Match. And now Drive is in the fast lane to the Museum of "Who's Idea Was That Show?"
Fillion has had success on the big screen with Serenity (the movie
version of Firefly) and is now earning critical acclaim for Waitress, which some are calling this year's Little Miss Sunshine. But when it comes to TV shows, as Borat would say, "Not so much."
Fillion isn't the first victim of the Anti-Midas Effect. A lot of actors have it even worse.
A quick side note about the Anti-Midas Effect. While similar in nature to the so-called "Seinfeld Curse" -- which has afflicted Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- there are a few differences. Most actors with AME had some initial success on TV, but none to the incredible levels of the Seinfeld bunch. AME is particular to TV shows. Anti-Midas-ites might be successful in other venues such as stage or film, but they're pure poison to a television program. Also, AME doesn't cause you to go on a racist tirade at a comedy club.
Here are a few other thespians who clearly suffer from the Anti-Midas Effect. WARNING!!! These people should be kept as far as possible from any future television programs.
Breckin Meyer -- Star of Inside Schwartz (2001) and Married to the Kellys (2003). Breckin has the condition pretty bad, but only when he's the star of the show. Keep him in a supporting role, and the program should survive.
Mark Fuerstein -- If you're a TV producer and you see this guy coming ... RUN! He radiates the Anti-Midas Effect. After starring in a handful of episodes of Caroline in the City in the mid-'90s, he had a string of failed programs: Fired Up (1997), Conrad Bloom (1998) and Good Morning Miami (2002-2004), which valiantly hung on for more than 30 episodes but ultimately succumbed.
Connie Britton -- You might remember her fondly as Nikki from Spin City, but The Fighting Fitzgeralds (2001) was a TKO after 10 rounds. Now Friday Night Lights is on the bubble for a second season with NBC.
Fred Savage -- Apparently The Wonder Years was not enough inoculation to protect Fred from AME. Working (1997) and Crumbs (2006) both fell victim. It's possible, however, that he has a completely different condition, "JerryMathers-itis": the total loss of appeal after people realize you're not "that cute little kid on TV" anymore.
Geena Davis -- Despite her undeniable achievements in the movies, Geena Davis should be quarantined from any television production. Sara (1985), The Geena Davis Show (2000), Commander in Chief (2005) ... need I say more? Geena's great on the big screen, but alert security if you see her going anywhere near a TV production lot.
Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.