Sarahjanemorris_brothersandsisters_240 Through Sunday (Oct. 29) night’s episode of Brothers and Sisters, Sarah Jane Morris was probably TV’s most underused cast regular.

Although she’s nestled in the opening credits right under Rachel Griffiths, Morris — Julia, attractive wife of Balthazar Getty’s Thomas — averaged less than a line per episode during the ABC melodrama’s first five episodes. Morris was stuck in the background at every family dinner and she was as often discussed ("You have a hot wife, Thomas") as she was part of the discussion.

Morris — you may or may not recognize her from Felicity or from NBC’s summer series Windfall — finally got a showcase on Sunday with an episode that focused, at least partially, on Julia and Thomas’ inability to have children. The part of the loving wife who wants a baby more than anything in the world isn’t exactly progressive as female characters go, but at least she got to appear in the week’s very first segment mounting Getty’s character in a sexual position that’s allegedly Tantric. The 29-year-old actress is too lovely and talented to spend much time as a series 10th banana, but the idea of Morris somehow stealing time from the show’s roster of established stars also seems unlikely, which may auger poorly for the character’s future.

But Morris isn’t the only regular on a new series who seems to be slipping into the background. On CBS’ Jericho last week, both of the show’s ostensible female leads — Ashley Scott and Sprague Grayden — nearly vanished entirely and neither actress has had a full story arc for several weeks as the series’ focus has mostly been on Lennie James’ intriguing and mysterious Hawkins and Skeet Ulrich’s equally mysterious but much less intriguing Jake.

Some other characters from new shows who have already been a bit lost in the mix:

  • Michael Cudlitz and Gina Torres on FOX’s Standoff
  • Dorian Missick on ABC’s Six Degrees (because more Damian might mean more Omar [Michael K. Williams])
  • Beth Lacke on FOX’s Happy Hour (she’s the only redeeming part of an otherwise awful show, so it stands to reason…)

    Chime in, dear readers… What characters/actors on new shows deserve more screen-time?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg