Movie actors have about two hours to convince you of their performance. In contrast, television actors seemingly have an easier time of it, with episodes spanning over several seasons, to sell you on their story. Therefore, a pilot performance might leave much to be desired, but after a little bonding time with a character, you might get a breathtaking performance during a season finale simply because you have watched the role grow.
As viewers, due to the episodic nature of TV, we are way more forgiving of a bad TV actor, considering loads of different factors: Was the writers' material off these past couple weeks? Is the director forcing too much out of the character? Are producers looking to create some shocking headlines? Eventually, we find ourselves justifying a bad television actor's performance rather than taking it for face value.
During this time of confusion is when Salon's Julie Taylor Test comes in. The Julie Taylor Test — named after the almost irrefutably bland Friday Night Lights character — simply asks this: Is it possible to imagine the inner life of this character? If no, is it possible to imagine the inner life of the characters surrounding him or her? In other words, are you sold on the inner monologue of a character or do their eyes seem to glaze over when they are delivering their lines? And if the latter is the case, is it because of "the craft" of the star or just ridiculous writing? Just don't ask this question next time you are watching Game Of Thrones' Jon Snow. We don't want to know the answer. (Salon)
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.