Six Feet Under Cast Kills It In Primetime

I fully admit I've had an unnaturally rough go at dealing with the demise of my favorite family drama of all time, Six Feet Under.

Yes, yes, yes, the show has been off the air for three years. But it's hard to put this trauma behind me when the show's three leads, Peter Krause (Dirty Sexy Money), Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters) are killing it in primetime dramas, thereby constantly reminding me of television's, um, grave loss. (OK, that's the last death pun for at least a little bit.)

If I trust my memory -- and I like to think of it as the keeper of an endless cache of useless data -- no other primetime drama, cable or network, has graduated three future headliners and one extraordinary co-star (woop woop Rainn Wilson!). Seems like ol' Alan Ball knew how to pick 'em back in 2000, eh?

Strutting their stuff on Sunday night are Hall ("David Fisher") and Griffiths ("Brenda Chenowith") in their respective shows, Showtime's Dexter and ABC's Brothers & Sisters. I love how these fine actors have swapped parts: Hall went from playing restrained and buttoned-up David to functional psycho nutjob Dexter, the most disturbingly complex character ever written for television.

Meanwhile Griffiths has far less scenery to chew as restrained and buttoned-up Sarah Whedon than she did as functional psycho nutjob Brenda on Six Feet. But she's so damn good, she's managed to turn what should be a nothing part on a soapy family drama into a steely exercise in restraint. I've said it before and I'll say it again: There is nothing Aussie actors can't do.

On Wednesday nights, we get to see Krause playing ... well, pretty much Nate Fisher part two, but with a few more laughs. Nick George has a dead daddy, a rocky relationship with his wife with Lisa (also the name of Nate Fisher's wife on Six Feet, played by Lili Taylor), and emotional detachment from everyone around him. Yep, sounds about right!

Point of interest: Dirty Sexy producer and writer Craig Wright -- a Six Feet writing and producing alum -- also produces and writes Brothers & Sisters, so I'd say Krause and Griffiths need to go in on a very large canister of peanut brittle for this man at Christmas time.

Six Feet's others key players -- Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriquez, Frances Conroy, James Cromwell -- have all stayed busy in various movies and TV shows, but no other Six Feet alum has managed to put a dent in the comedy world as Rainn Wilson has. Wilson, who mugs it up as Dwight Schrute on The Office, appeared in 13 eps of Six Feet from 2004 to 2005 as the gothically geeky Arthur, whom the Fishers hire as their intern.

Wilson's near maniacal interpretation of "comedy sidekick" has reinvigorated a tired cliche, and I wonder if he'd ever had a chance to sink his teeth into the part had Alan Ball not thought to himself, "Man, this guy is as weird in looks as he is in talent. He's perfect!"

So thank you, Alan -- and your casting director -- for letting us reap the rewards of your keen eye for talent no fewer four times a week in the current primetime schedule. (Cue final morose pun here:) It's comforting to know there is life after death.