TV shows flip a very dangerous coin when they cast roles for children. While occasionally the show can strike gold, often a bad child actor can drag the show to a screeching halt. Not only that, but often they will stick out like the sorest and most annoyingly precocious thumb imaginable. Here are 7 child actors who stick out but in an excellent way. From Game of Thrones to Bones, these child actors are able to steal scenes with ease from their much older co-stars.
1. Ian Chen as Evan Huang, Fresh Off the Boat
When Fresh Off the Boat began, the Huang sons who weren’t Eddie were pretty indistinguishable. Over the course of time, though, younger son Evan really began to shine thanks to the young actor playing him. Ian Chen is able to perfectly capture Evan’s wise-beyond-his-years attitude and frequently has the best lines any given episode. His heartfelt, “Every step we take in our non-velcro shoes is another step towards the grave,” is a personal favorite.
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2. Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont, Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones used to be the go-to destination for excellent child actors. The show has run for so long, though, that the child actors that started off the show are now in their late teenage and early adult years. It was an undeniable symptom of Game of Thrones‘ wise plan to update the ages of many of the children characters from the books.
With Lyanna Mormont, however, Game of Thrones fans get a chance to see what the show would be like if they had stuck to the original ages of characters like Robb, Sansa, Arya and Bran. Young but absolutely commanding, Bella Ramsey left the audience wanting so much more from Lyanna Mormont. She thankfully washed out the bad taste left in our metaphorical mouths by Olly, one of the worst child characters/actors on Game of Thrones.
3. Sunnie Pelant as Christine Booth, Bones
It is a deceptively tall order for a young child actor to capture the personalities of their two fictional parents. Sunnie Pelant on Bones manages to do it beautifully, embodying Brennan’s intelligence and Booth’s heart. In many ways Sunnie’s acting of Christine just makes her seem like a normal kid. It’s easy to forget that she’s not really Booth and Brennan’s daughter and that their family only exists on TV screens.
4. Albert Tsai as Dave, Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken is, in no uncertain terms, an absolutely awful show. It’s so aggressively not funny, it’s offensive. There is a star on Dr. Ken and it is not leading man Ken Jeong. Instead it is Albert Tsai who plays Dave. Albert Tsai has bounced around ABC’s sitcoms for years before landing on Dr. Ken and he’s been excellent in them all. He has impeccable comedic timing and delivery. He can turn the biggest stinker of a joke into a real laugh-out-loud moment.
5. Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily Tucker-Pritchett, Modern Family
If you want to be unduly harsh on a toddler’s acting skills, Lily used to be the worst part of Modern Family. Since it is highly probable that when Aubrey Anderson-Emmons was first cast as Lily on Modern Family that she couldn’t read, it really felt like every line was being feed to her. In the remaining years, though, Lily has become the funniest character on Modern Family and not only steals scenes from her fictional cousins. She often has better delivery and jokes than her adult counterparts.
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6. Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings, The Americans
At 19, Holly Taylor is pushing the term “child actress.” Still, she wasn’t always 19 on The Americans and since the very first season Holly Taylor’s Paige has been on equal footing with her adult co-stars and fictional parents played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. It would be so easy for Paige to be insufferable as the “whiny” older child of the Jennings family. Instead Holly Taylor imbues Paige with enough intelligence, wit and emotion that she quickly becomes the focal point of any The Americans scene.
7. Yasmeene Ball as Amara, Supernatural
Though Amara might best be remembered as adult woman in a very low-cut dress, we first met Amara as a youngster on Supernatural. While there is something to be said for young Amara and later teenage Amara, it is the Amara in between the teenager and kindergarten years that really terrified us. More than any other actress, Yasmeene Ball was able to embody that steady and unwavering confidence that adult Amara would show by the end of the season. She wasn’t Supernatural audience’s first impression of the character of the Darkness but she left one of the strongest.
But what do you think? Who are some of your favorite child actors and actresses? Which child characters do you just love watching?
(Images courtesy of ABC, FX, HBO and The CW)