Tuesday (Aug. 9) finds Gillian Anderson not only a year older — she’s turning 48 — but deep in the middle of her own personal TV renaissance. While the “X-Files” returned to mixed reviews, it was a welcome sight seeing Dana Scully back on the small-screen.
But aside from that career-defining role, Anderson has been bringing some layered characters to TV for quite some time now. As she currently shoots the “American Gods” series with the goals of bringing Neil Gaiman’s Media to life, Zap2it wanted to take some time and shine a light on her four best TV roles.
Lady Dedlock, ‘Bleak House’
After hitting it big on “The X-Files,” Gillian Anderson made a move quite uncommon for American television actors — she crossed the pond. Instead of using her Scully prowess to further her U.S. career, Anderson dove into a bunch of meaty roles in a handful of limited series for the BBC.
Her take on Lady Dedlock in “Bleak House” — inspired by the Charles Dickens book — makes us wonder if the series would have garnered “Downton Abbey”-like attention if it came out just a few years later.
Stella Gibson, ‘The Fall’
The British sure do love their crime dramas and Gillian Anderson really fits the bill with “The Fall.” Gearing up for a Season 3 return to the BBC, Anderson plays no nonsense investigator Stella Gibson.
And while the series follows her as she tracks serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), it also succeeds at bringing Anderson’s Gibson to the screen in both a commanding and sultry manner.
Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, ‘Hannibal’
Anderson shot “The Fall” and “Hannibal” roughly around the same time, which may be why it feels like a little bit of that sexiness spilled over into Bryan Fuller’s groundbreaking genre series.
It may have been short-lived for NBC, but Anderson’s portrayal of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier made quite the impact on fans of the Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) saga. Equally fearful of and infatuated with Lecter, every scene Anderson appeared it was no less than magnetic.
Dana Scully, ‘The X-Files’
This is a no-brainer, right? We’ve mentioned “The X-Files” multiple times in this story. Sometimes, there’s just that one iconic role that follows an actor throughout their career and for Gillian Anderson, that role is Dana Scully.
And why shouldn’t it be? For whatever issues fans had with the tone and off-kilter storylines explored in the reboot, Scully is the one character Anderson has played the most. Through thick and thin, at the end of the day Scully is her best TV role. She’s cemented herself in the annals of pop culture history — appearing in multiple movies, comic books, “The Simpsons” and even a video game.
And with the news that FOX is pursuing more “X-Files” episodes, it looks like we’ve not seen the last of Dana Scully.