The Best Casting Ensembles of our Time

We’re starting the year off lightly - there’s enough #newyearnewme stuff flying around so we thought you all might just need a good old fashioned throw back. These epic TV shows had us bingeing even before the Netflix era, remember when you had to watch recordings on VHS when you got home from school? (now we feel old). We’ll start with our #getyourshittogether in our Feb blog.


For now, sit back and relax while we take you on a journey of some of our most bingeable shows with the best cast ensembles of our time.

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Dawson’s Creek

Casting By: Lisa Mae Fincannon - she worked on a whopping 126 eps and is also known for casting One Tree Hill, RED, We’re the Millers, among many other great films and shows.

Joey’s Creek (if you are a true fan, you’ll know why this is a thing) is a classic 90s ensemble. We know there are readers on here young enough to be saying ‘what is this?’ - be gone and don’t wait until you’ve watched all ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT EPISODES.

Joshua Jackson (let’s be honest, the real star), Katie Holmes (the most painfully innocent but lovable TV character of all time), Michelle Williams (pre award winning, ground breaking and overall acting genius) and James Van Der Beak (the one who didn’t quite deserve the Creek to be named after him) make for such a pleasant ensemble of teen talent. It left us wanting more in a time when bingeing hadn’t yet been coined.

This show launched the acting careers of most of its cast.

Fun fact! Adam Brody auditioned for the role of Pacey, while Adrian Grenier also read for Dawson.

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Sex and the City

Casting By: Ellie Kanner - FRIENDS (!!!!!!!)

Ahh…the show that was only on at 9.30pm at night that even your mum didn’t watch.

There comes a point in your mid 20s when you realise Carrie Bradshaw made terrible life choices and while you thought she was a good role model, it was really Miranda you wanted to be.

Then you came full circle and after you are married with a child, you realise that Carrie Bradshaw is definitely who you want to be. Part time life anyone? Yes please.

Four unapologetically flawed women, living in NYC navigating life as singles trying to find love. It’s hard to compare a female cast ensemble since this (probably the closest to truth is Lena Dunham’s Girls).

Fun Fact! Kim Cattrall was the last one to sign on for the show, the Casting Directors had to work hard to win her over.

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Friends

Casting By: Ellie Kanner (she was OG) - known for Clueless (!), Sex and the City (!!!!), OG Sabrina the Teenage Witch (!!!!!), Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place - what a credits list!

If you haven’t, at one point in your life, wished you were friends with the Friends gang, you’re lying to yourself. Sometimes it may not be entirely convincing that this eclectic group of people could actually be besties but somehow it works.

We would argue there is no TV show now that succeeds on the basis of a group people doing absolutely nothing special, going about mundane life, primarily sitting in the same coffee shop on the same couch episode after episode. We put this down to a stellar cast showcasing some stellar characters that, regardless of plotline, can carry 10 seasons purely by making you love them so much you’ll watch them do seemingly not much but chat.

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Grey’s Anatomy

Casting By: Linda Lowy - genius CD and known for brilliant work on Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Friday Night Lights, Preacher among others.

We will admit we aren’t quite up to date on Grey’s but will still stand by the best ensemble being the early years i.e. the OG interns Meredith, Alex, George (RIP - crying emoji), Izzie (what a goddamn mystery), Christina and the OG badass bosses Bailey, Derek Shepherd (RIP - SERIOUSLY?!), Webber and Burke.

Like Friends, this gang had us convinced we’d actually enjoy being a medical intern and would survive working 18 hour days, watching sick people and being aggressively competitive about getting the best surgery opportunities.

It introduced us to needing to have your ‘person’, ‘dancing it out’ and strong female characters that have different priorities over marriage and children - a career. We’re also not sure why it wasn’t called Yang’s Anatomy because, the truth of it is - Christina Yang is probably one of the best female characters of our generation.

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Hannah Montana

Casting By: Carol Goldwasser (Freaky Friday, American Dad!) / Howard Meltzer (Raven’s Home, Lab Rats)

Alison: This might not be the most profound selection, but I will tell anyone who will listen just how good this show is. A pop culture phenomenon and one of Disney’s most successful shows to date.

If it’s not enough that Miley Cyrus basically plays herself (can you tell I’m a fan?), with her actual Dad, Billy Ray - her weird and hyperactive teen brother is played by a mid 30s Dad IRL(!). Even better, her bestie is the sister of Hayley Joel “I see dead people” Osment and the annoying kid is IMO casting gold - he’s tiny and annoying and SO brilliant. It’s endlessly entertaining.

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Charmed (THE ORIGINAL)

Casting By: Vicky Huff - 7th Heaven (!), Beverley Hills 90210 (!!).

This was an ever changing ensemble and it may not have always worked but the staples were solid. Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano obviously held the show together. Its not that the Shannen Doherty days weren’t good, but we definitely enjoyed the Rose McGowan addition the best, upping the younger sibling sass and rebellion giving Alyssa Milano a run for her money. But let’s not talk about the Kaley Cuoco days. That was weird amiright?

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The O.C

Casting By: Barbara Stordahl / Angela Terry - Angel, The Librarians

CALLIIIFOOORRRNNIIIAAAAAAAAAAAA...

We all wanted to be Summer and our hearts broke for Anna. Marissa was a bit of a train wreck but it can’t all be smooth sailing if you’re a filthy rich white girl with everything handed to you on a silver platter.

Seth was our dream guy but Ryan was really the one that surprised us.

This show was ahead of its time. Luke the half witted jock had a gay dad, Seth was addicted to smoking weed, Kirsten got checked into rehab, Jimmy fled to escape jail time for committing fraud, Marissa experimented with girls and Ryan turned out to be the most normal and well rounded human being of them all (except for the cage fighting thing...that was just weird).

Sandy Cohen was the real star of the show though - what a guy, keeping it real while keeping everyone together.

The O.C was also a platform for up and coming musicians and introduced us to Imogen Heap, Modest Mouse and The Killers.

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Heartbreak High

Casting By: Sandra McKenzie / Anita Jankovic

The show was the gritty version of Home and Away. It was arguably the most cutting edge Aussie show and tackled controversial issues like drug use, romance, religion, shoplifting, homelessness, teen pregnancy.

When it ended, we wanted more. We were frustrated for them, we cried with them. It was Australian casting at it’s finest - there was such diversity across the board. It pushed boundaries and uncovered brilliant talent.

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Home & Away

Casting By: Mullinars, various - also known for their brilliant work on Riot, Puberty Blues, Love Child.

Circa Chris Hemsworth and Amy Mizzi. Prior to that, we will never get over Noah Lawson cutting his hair and then dying. SOS. But seriously Bec Cartwright (yes, Hewitt for those not old enough) and Noah were everything our teen lives needed. Plus Chris Egan, he could knock you dead with the twinkle in his eyes. And let’s not forget the drama that was the Sutherland Family.

This show has launched the careers of countless Aussie stars both here and O/S. Including but not limited to Isabel Lucas, Chris Hemsworth, Isla Fisher, Ryan Kwanten, Luke Mitchell, Tammin Sursock.

Home & Away is known to be a great training ground for young actors straight outta drama school.

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Parks & Rec

Casting By: Dorian Frankel. Also known for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep.

The first episode of P&R sprung onto our screens TEN YEARS AGO. Wowsa. It remains one of those shows that just makes you happy. You instantly fall in love with the cast, and can easily watch the eps over and over again. This ensemble is so solid, and you can tell they have chemistry on and off screen. We all know they improvised a lot during scenes which only works if you have a lot of trust with your fellow actors. Amy Poehler is a total star - but always leaves room for her brilliant co-stars (there are too many to name!). It's fun to watch because it helped to launch the careers of Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt who play partners in the show. Also watching Nick Offerman basically play himself with the character Ron Swanson is a true treasure. Let’s not forget the ultimate scene stealer Lil’ Sebastian.

Watch for cameos from: Megan Mulally, Patricia Clarkson, Jon Hamm, Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Will Arnett, Fred Armisen, Tatiana Maslany and MICHELLE OBAMA. Just to name a few…

Fun fact! Chris Pratt’s character Andy was supposed to be a cameo, but it worked so well they wrote him in to the rest of the show.

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What we’re currently watching:

Steph: You, Tidelands, 13 Reasons Why S2, The Ted Bundy Tapes.

Al: You, Marie Kondo’s Reality Series, The Good Place, Bloom.

Laura: Easy, The Good Place, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Black Comedy.