Actors who returned to the shows that made them stars
When Neighbors ended after 37 years, several former stars decided to come back for one last hurray. The episode is set to screen here next month with TVNZ promising something special. But Neighbors is just one of many TV series to have brought in former cast members for a special finale. We take a look at some of these stars.
Neighbors comes out with a bang after 37 years on screen, bringing together all of its biggest stars for its latest arc.
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan return for the finale, reprising their roles as Charlene and Scott Robinson. Minogue shared on-set photos of her and Donovan on Instagram with the caption, “Now we’re back together,” a line from their 1989 duet, Especially For You.
But they’re not the only famous cast members to return to the soap opera that dominated the TV landscape of the ’80s. Guy Pearce, who played Mike Young, will be back to bid farewell to the series that gave him his start. actor, alongside Natalie Bassingthwaite (Izzy Hoyland), Ian Smith (Harold Bishop), Mark Little (Joe Mangel) and Peter O’Brien (Shane Ramsay).
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Also returning are singer Delta Goodrem (Nina Tucker) and Margot Robbie, who will finally have the chance to wrap up her character’s story, 11 years after Donna Freedman left Erinsborough.
We’ll see the famous cast bid farewell to the soap in September, with TVNZ promising something special for the final episodes.
Neighbors is just one of many TV series to have brought in former cast members for a special finale. Things singled out some of these stars…
Shelley Long – Health
Cheers was one of the biggest sitcoms of the 80s and Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) were its power couple. Their love/hate relationship was a key factor in making the show a huge success.
Long left Cheers in 1987 at the end of season five amid speculation that she was aiming for a film career – like so many before and after her – and that she and Danson didn’t get along in real life. . Both admitted there was tension between them but denied that was the cause of his departure.
“We did a really great job at Cheers, but I decided to put my family and my new film production company first,” Long said in a statement at the time.
The actress has since admitted she felt suffocated by the show, saying in a 2007 interview that she didn’t want to “keep doing the same episode over and over again”.
When Cheers ended in 1993, fans were thrilled to see Diane return and reunite with her old flame, Sam. The couple decided to leave Boston together for Los Angeles. But after some soul-searching brought on by a delayed flight, the couple realized they were better apart and Sam returned to his first love, his bar.
Josh Charles – The Good Wife
It can be quite a dilemma once you’ve killed off a character but want them back for the finale. It was a dilemma the creators of The Good Wife struggled with while filming their final season.
Josh Charles left the show in season five to pursue other opportunities, and his character Will Gardener was shot in a courtroom by a client.
But in season seven, Will returned in a dream to enjoy a fleeting romantic reunion with Alicia (Julianna Margulies). Some fans have speculated that Will was a ghost, but the show’s creators are adamant that The Good Wife didn’t go paranormal.
“In our minds, it wasn’t a ghost,” designer Michelle King told US Weekly. “It was a fantasy in some sequences, and in others a memory. You weren’t really supposed to believe Will Gardner’s ghost came back.
House did the same when it ended, bringing back the character Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn) who died in season five, along with other deceased colleagues, as hallucinations experienced by Dr. House (Hugh Laurie).
The Neighbors have also dabbled in the realm of dreams, bringing Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) back from the dead as a ghostly vision in his son Paul’s Christmas bauble.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul – Better Call Saul
Strictly speaking, Walt and Jesse didn’t return to Better Call Saul because they were never part of the acclaimed series. But these are, of course, the main characters of Breaking Bad, the series that spawned the Better Call Saul spin-off, a Breaking Bad prequel. And as a treat for fans of the franchise, Walter White and his protege returned for episode eight of the final season, also titled Breaking Bad. Considering Better Call Saul takes place before Breaking Bad and Breaking Bad ended nine years ago, you can expect some makeup and special effects magic to be rolled out to aging actors Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul. But writer and director Thomas Schnauz told Variety that they have limited their use of this technology to go back in time.
“There’s a bit of stuff on guys’ faces to do a few lines here and there,” Schnauz said.
“There’s so much you can do before it starts to look ridiculous.”
George Clooney and Julianna Margulies – ER
When ER ended after 15 seasons, its biggest former stars, George Clooney and Julianna Margulies, didn’t make it to the finale, but they did appear in the penultimate episode of the hit medical drama.
As Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway, the pair were a popular couple on the medical series, and fans were appalled when Dr. Ross put away his stethoscope in season five.
Clooney would become one of the few TV actors for whom taking the risk of leaving a hit TV show for a movie career would pay off.
Margulies soon followed Clooney, leaving in season six. But in 2015, the pair returned to the famed show for one last low-key appearance.
Fans who had long hoped for a happy ending for the TV couple were treated to scenes of now-married doctors working together in a Seattle hospital.
Clooney and Margulies may not have returned to County General Hospital for its last day, but many more showed up. Noah Wyle, who starred on the show from the start, left in season 11, but returned once again as John Carter.
In the final episode, Carter opened a clinic for the underprivileged, with many former colleagues such as Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), and Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle) in attendance.
Ashton Kutcher – That 70s Show
For seven seasons, Ashton Kutcher played human Labrador Michael Kelso on the comedy That 70s Show.
Kutcher, who made a name for himself on the show, did not renew his contract for its eighth and final season in 2006 but appeared in a few episodes to wrap up his storyline.
Like co-star Topher Grace, who played Eric Foreman, Kutcher wanted to focus on his film career. But, ironically, he would return to television with Two And A Half Men in 2011.
Grace left at the end of season seven but both stars returned for the final episode. The series ended with a New Year’s Eve party that rang in the 1980s.
Eric has returned from Africa where he was teaching English to reunite with his friends and first love Donna (Laura Prepon) for one last celebration in the basement.
But the cast will once again be reunited with many actors, including Grace and Kutcher, returning as guest stars for Netflix’s spin-off That 90s Show.
Steve Carell – The Office
While it was a remake of the British series and the characters of David Brent and Michael Scott certainly shared some buffoonish traits, Steve Carell managed to make Michael a character entirely his own and quite distinct from his roots. British.
Carell left the show in 2011 at the end of season seven to spend more time with her family. However, according to a book called The Office: The Untold Story Of The Greatest Sitcom Of The 2000s, Carell’s contract was not renewed. Despite the arguably loss of its central figure, the series ran for two more seasons.
Michael Scott returned in May 2013 for the last episode of his story where he played the role of best man at Dwight Schrute’s wedding. Carell said on an episode of the An Oral History Of The Office podcast that he was hesitant to return for fear of upsaving the current cast, but eventually agreed, saying, “I felt like I should, out of respect for you all and out of my love for everyone, to recognize the end of this thing.
Marg Helgenberger – CSI
Marg Helgenberger starred as crime scene investigator Catherine Willows in 12 seasons of popular procedural CSI. She left to pursue other projects, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I instinctively felt it was time to end this chapter of my career. I’m 53 now and feel like I’m still young enough to change course.
But when the show ended in 2015 after 15 seasons, its former lead actress returned to bid farewell to the show and settle one last deal with her co-star William Petersen, who played Gil Grissom for nine seasons.
And while they said goodbye to their crime-solving characters, that wasn’t the end for Willows and Grissom. The two actors have come full circle with Petersen in the first season of CSI: Vegas in 2021, while Helgenberger will make his first appearance in the second season of the CSI spin-off.