It's hard to watch "Parenthood" and not think about how unfair it was that Monica Potter didn't get an Emmy nomination for her performance last year. It was marvelous work in the episodes where her character, Kristina Braverman, battled cancer.
To be fair, it was a tough year when it came to narrowing the field of strong performances down to a handful of nominees. Potter got bumped out of contention by Vera Farmiga, Claire Danes, Connie Britton, Elisabeth Moss, Michelle Dockery, Robin Wright and Kerry Washington.
One of the reasons the "Parenthood" episodes were so strong is the stories were based on events that have happened in the lives of the producers and writers. Potter's cancer story was based on the battle with breast cancer by the wife of executive producer Jason Katims.
When the episodes were being filmed, Potter didn't want to know how the storyline would go. She never doubted the character would survive, but she wanted to take that journey with fresh eyes.
The work had a major impact on Potter.
"When we finished the season, I was very depressed," says Potter, who always reminds me of Julia Roberts. "I couldn't figure out why I felt that way. I went to my doctor and told him that I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm just depressed. I felt this sense of guilt."
Potter finally realized that the episodes were more than just another acting job. During the season, she met several women who were battling cancer. They reminded her that this wasn't just another storyline.
The storyline touched Potter deeply because, after playing Kristina for so many years, she had come to really like the character. That wasn't the way from the start. She didn't like Kristina's Type-A personality that made her annoying. Potter says her character was softened by the cancer battle.
It should be rather obvious to those who have seen Malin Akerman's work in the feature films "Watchmen" and "Rock of Ages," or her ABC comedy series "Trophy Wife," why at the age of 17 she won the "Ford Supermodel of Canada" search.
What you wouldn't know without the opportunity to sit and talk with her — or at least have seen some episodes of "Childrens Hospital" — is that Akerman is one of the funniest actors on TV or film.
Akerman loves that she's starring in two different comedies with "Trophy Wife" and "Childrens Hospital." One has her at the center of a family comedy while the other puts her in the middle of medical madness.
"It's a very different comedy muscle working on these two shows," Akerman tells me during an ABC party. " 'Childrens Hospital' is so crazy and you can say any kind of word you would like to say and in any context. 'Trophy Wife' is a little grounded. It has more heart.
" 'Childrens Hospital' is completely unrelatable in the most amazing way possible."
Most of Akerman's work has been in films, but she's been looking for a network TV series for years, especially since the birth of her son in April. She loves how being on "Trophy Wife" gives her a chance to work, be funny and still be able to get home to tuck her son into bed.
Akerman wanted a show, but wasn't willing to sign on if it didn't feel right. The fact her character is considered a trophy wife, but isn't written as a vapid character, was the selling point for her.
Before settling into the new series, Akerman has appeared in projects from the film "The Heartbreak Kid" to the TV series "Suburgatory." If you want to see how much range she has as an actor, her film "CBGB" will be available on DVD on Tuesday. She plays iconic rocker Debbie Harry. Her "Trophy Wife" co-star Bradley Whitford also is in the film, but the pair didn't have any scenes together.
'Lost' and found
Just when it looked like "Lost" — the ABC series that featured polar bears, time travel, killer smoke and more oddities than a traveling sideshow — could get no weirder, Naveen Andrews reveals a surprise about his connection to the final episode. He played Sayid Jarrah so brilliantly during the six seasons it was on the air.
Andrews tells me he watched the final episode with Marilyn Manson, who spent the entire time talking about how good the show had been. And that isn't the weird part.
"I never saw the show. I only saw the pilot," Andrews says. "I didn't want to be rude because it had great significance to him."
Some of you might have thought Andrews got lost after the ABC drama ended. He didn't get stranded on a deserted island, end up in limbo or book a passage on an airplane of death, but went to England where he worked on the series "Sinbad." He also made the film "Diana," playing Dr. Hasnat Khan.
"We finished 'Lost' in 2010 and then I had a chance to work in Europe. I wanted keep my standard of work reasonably high," Andrews says.
You can see his work as Lord Akbari in "Sinbad," which now airs on the Syfy channel. He's also back on network television portraying Jafar in "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," the ABC series where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred.
He loves how "Wonderland" has as many strange and mythical storylines as "Lost," and how "Wonderland" works more in a digitally created world than the real-life settings of Hawaii because it tests his imagination.
No word on what Manson thinks of this show.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.