The editors at TV Guide are as guilty as anyone of spending 45 minutes searching for a new show to stream, only to return to an old fave like Parks and Recreation or Friday Night Lights. But that would be a shame considering the amazing new series and breakout actors this fall TV season.
We couldn’t stand the thought of you missing out on all the talent fresh on the scene this season, so we’re casting a spotlight on 10 breakout performances by actors who are also breaking boundaries, as well as five brand new shows that kept us on the edge of our seats as we binged episode after episode. (It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it.)
Here, you’ll find the fruits our arduous labor: TV Guide’s inaugural Freshman 15 class. The Freshman 15 are the ones to watch. They’re actors who everyone will leap to say they were fans of first, and the shows that will come to join the ranks of the new classics. 2018 has proven itself an amazing year for television (if nothing else), and we hope you discover some fresh faves to stan — till next year’s Freshman 15 anyway.
Victoria Pedretti, The Haunting of Hill House
Whoever cast The Haunting of Hill House deserves all the Emmys. Not only do the actors playing the Crain family look staggeringly alike, but not one of the greener actors ever seem out of place next to Hollywood standouts like Carla Gugino and Timothy Hutton. But of all the up-and-comers in the cast, no one made quite as strong of an impression as Victoria Pedretti, who plays the youngest Crain child, Nell. With fewer credits to her name before Hill House than 13-year-old Lulu Wilson (Young Shirley), 12-year-old Mckenna Grace (Young Theo) and even 7-year-old Violet McGraw (Young Nell), Pedretti was a true Hollywood newcomer when she took on the role in the horror series. And yet Pedretti completely embodies the distraught young woman whose tragic story largely drives the first half of the season.
Pedretti’s ability to effortlessly vacillate between the most visceral turmoil to an effervescent peacefulness to literally being the ghost nightmares is not only impressive but also absolutely essential to the series, in which several of the most pivotal moments are anchored by Nell. The reveal that she is the Bent Neck Lady and has been haunting herself for decades was a powerful revelation made only more so by the horror we see reflected back in Nell’s own eyes. And the series’ surprisingly hopeful ending hinges largely on viewers believing Nell’s acceptance of her own fate and coming to terms with it much like she has. Hill House is one of the best new shows this year, horror or otherwise, and it’s hard to imagine it having such a strong impact without Pedretti’s performance providing such a captivating emotional through-line.