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9 Best TV Shows About Struggling Actors Trying to Make It




by Xtreme HD IPTV

For decades, viewers all across the world have watched as some of their favorite characters attempted to make it big in Hollywood, chasing down their ambitious dreams no matter the cost. Naturally, most TV shows and films chronicle the many hurdles these aspiring actors must overcome, as the road to stardom is often paved with plenty of hijinks and chaos.

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From disgruntled caterers waiting for their big break to a background extra plotting his takeover as a leading man, the small screen has had some exceptional shows that chronicle the profound efforts of these diverse hopefuls. Let’s check out 9 of the best TV shows about struggling actors trying to make it.

9 Master of None

Parks and Recreation alum Aziz Ansari created and starred in the Netflix dramedy Master of None, in which the funnyman portrays the laid-back Dev Shah, an aspiring actor in New York City who hopes to move on from his successful commercial work and find satisfaction in more prominent projects, despite struggling with his perpetual indecisiveness. The series follows Dev and his fellow 30-something friends as they attempt to navigate their careers, life, and love while he also faces complex scenarios that question the way he thinks.

A Critically-Acclaimed Original

Master of None ran for three seasons, with the final season focusing on Dev’s friend Denise (Lena Waithe), and earned widespread acclaim throughout its tenure. Ansari based a lot of the events in the dramedy on his own personal experiences growing up a child of immigrants, as well as his efforts to break into the acting world and love of food and music. He became the first Asian-American performer to win a Best Actor Golden Globe Award for television, and Master of None was also the recipient of three Primetime Emmys and a Peabody. Stream on Netflix.

8 Party Down

Touting a stacked cast of talented stars including Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, and Ken Marino, the Starz original sitcom Party Down chronicles the lives of a colorful group of Hollywood hopefuls as they wait for their big break while working for the titular Los Angeles catering company. Scott leads the cast as washed-up actor Henry Pollard, who is forced to return to Party Down after a beer ad destroyed his career, and while there he meets and falls for struggling actress and comedian Casey Klein (Caplan).

Delightful Catering Hijinks

The first two seasons of Party Down attracted rave reviews from both critics and audiences, with the unruly comedy garnering praise for its sharp humor, zany characters, and sensational performances. Despite premiering to such positive fanfare, the show ultimately ended after its sophomore season in 2010 in large part due to its low ratings and Scott’s involvement with Parks and Recreation. However, 13 years later, devoted viewers were treated to a third installment, with the limited series debuting in 2023 and never missing a beat. Stream on Prime Video.

Related: Why Party Down Is The Office for Unseen Hospitality Workers

7 Entourage

Loosely inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s (who also executive produced) early days in Tinseltown as an up-and-coming actor, the HBO smash hit dramedy Entourage focuses on rising star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as he hungrily pursues his dreams of becoming a major leading man, with the show depicting the many highs-and-lows he experiences in the unpredictable profession as his lifelong pals come along for the ride.

Battle of the Brothers

In the engrossing series, Vince finds success in the entertainment industry after working his way up and moving from the East Coast, a direct contrast with the career his older half-brother Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillion) was afforded. Drama had been a C-list actor desperately trying to get his foot in the door of Hollywood, known primarily for bit roles and a lead part in a cult classic series. Entourage showcases the brothers’ dynamic with one another as well as their loyal pals as they try to make it big, airing for 8 seasons and also spawning a 2015 film. Stream on Max.

6 The Comeback

Beloved Friends star Lisa Kudrow made her triumphant return to the small screen when she created, wrote, produced, and starred in the acclaimed mockumentary The Comeback, brilliantly portraying seasoned B-list sitcom star Valerie Cherish as she attempts to reclaim her stagnant career after having originally found fame in the early ’90s on television. Valerie is offered a lead role in a new sitcom and agrees to document her return via a reality series, and is subsequently forced to face her lack of influence in Hollywood.

An Ode to Reality TV

The first season of The Comeback was depicted with a found footage approach, and Kudrow cited The Office as a major source of inspiration in addition to the massive rise of reality television in the 2000s. She called her character Valerie “your favorite actress on a talk show” and was based on a recurring persona she created while performing improv with The Groundlings. The Comeback yielded two seasons, one in 2005 and another in 2014, with talks of a potential third installment of the Emmy-nominated show being discussed. Stream on Max.

5 Hollywood

Exploring the wondrous allure of the film industry in a post World War II landscape, the Netflix miniseries Hollywood follows a diverse group of aspiring actors, directors, and writers who hope to hit the jackpot and dominate the silver screen, with the compelling show shining a light on the power struggles that took place during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The drama also exposes the homophobia and racism that many of the acting hopefuls faced while chasing their dazzling dreams.

Transported Back in Time

Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and Ian Brennan (Glee) created the spellbinding series, and David Corenswet appeared as World War II veteran Jack Castello as he heads to Los Angeles with stars in his eyes and hopes of becoming a bona fide leading man. Hollywood expertly blended a mix of fact and fiction of the iconic filmmaking era, and captured the wonder and longing so many eager young talents experienced in their quest to achieve stardom. Stream on Netflix.

4 Joey

joey

Joey

Release Date
September 9, 2004

Seasons
2

Joey. A spin-off of the juggernaut hit Friends, the show chronicled the sweet but dim-witted Joey Tribbiani as he moves from New York City to Los Angeles in an effort to finally make it as an actor; he quickly discovers fame and fortune won’t be easy to come by as he competes to create a name for himself.

A Lackluster Spin-Off

Despite being a direct spin-off of one of the most celebrated television shows of all time and attracting a whopping 18.6 million American viewers with its debut, Joey suffered from a ratings decline and was eventually canceled after just two seasons. Executive producer Kevin S. Bright blamed the failure of the sitcom on the studio and NBC executives, stating after Joey was given the ax:

“On Friends, Joey was a womanizer, but we enjoyed his exploits. He was a solid friend, a guy you knew you could count on. Joey was deconstructed to be a guy who couldn’t get a job, couldn’t ask a girl out. He became a pathetic, mopey character. I felt he was moving in the wrong direction, but I was not heard.”

Currently unavailable for streaming.

Related: 10 Sitcoms That Were Clearly Inspired by Friends

Extras

Extras

Release Date
July 21, 2005

Seasons
2

Actor, comedian, and writer extraordinaire Ricky Gervais famously starred as struggling actor and perpetual “background artist” Andy Millman in the British sitcom Extras, who becomes fed up with constantly being a faceless actor blending into the scenery and instead makes it his mission to finally do gratifying work. Andy has no problem schmoozing producers and popular celebrities in an effort to catch his big break, yet he endures hurdle after hurdle while on his hunt for stardom.

A Star-Studded Affair

Famous faces like Kate Winslet, Patrick Stewart, and Ben Stiller all made appearances in the comedy’s two sidesplitting seasons, portraying exaggerated versions and parodies of themselves to the delight of audiences everywhere. For his role as the determined and ambitious Andy, Gervais won both a Primetime Emmy and a BAFTA Television Award, and Extras also nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy following its impactful run. Stream on Peacock.

2 BoJack Horseman

Widely regarded as one of the best animated TV shows of all time, the delightfully zany Netflix comedy BoJack Horseman features Will Arnett as the titular anthropomorphic horse, a has-been actor who rose to fame back in the 1990s after starring in a sitcom and hasn’t been relevant since. BoJack plots to make his epic Hollywood comeback by writing a revealing tell-all autobiography, in hopes of reclaiming his former glory and paving a new legacy for himself.

Honest Look at Hollywood

Dynamic stars like Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, and Stanley Tucci are just a few of the performers who lent their voices to the animated adult series, which bowed out after six seasons and garnered widespread praise for its existential storylines and realistic look at celebrity status, depression, and addiction. During its run, BoJack Horseman was the recipient of three Annie Awards and four Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and has been credited with contributing to the popularity of the “sadcom” genre. Stream on Netflix.

1 Barry

Barry

Barry

Seasons
4

Creator
Bill Hader

Saturday Night Live breakout star Bill Hader showcased his exceptional range as a performer when he headlined the black comedy series Barry, in which the funnyman portrays a depressed hitman-turned-acting hopeful who pursues the new career after he becomes enchanted by the craft while on an assignment in Los Angeles. Barry longs to shed his violent past and see what new life Hollywood has to offer him, making friends with fellow actors along the way while coping with his guilt and depression.

Hader’s Knockout Performance

Fans and critics alike couldn’t get enough of Hader’s phenomenal portrayal of the savvy assassin with surprising Tinseltown dreams, and audiences couldn’t get enough of Barry as he tried to become a full-time actor while being haunted by the many sins of his former life. Hader won two Primetime Emmys (among countless other accolades) for his work on the revered HBO show, which yielded four lauded seasons and became a massive ratings hit for the network. Stream on Max.

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