Maybe with good writing. But even that might be debatable. I bring this up because of two recent series you may have decided to check in on (even though I tried to scare you off). The first was Friday's premiere of "The Return of Jezebel James." You've got Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose set to make the rapid fire wit of Amy Sherman-Palladino come alive and what happens? The pilot completely implodes. The second episode fixes some of the mistakes made Friday, but Sherman-Palladino not only wrote the first episode, she directed it, too. She's got Posey jumping through dumb hoops for 22 minutes and it's just painful to watch.
What did you think? The pacing was a disaster. But the direction was the real culprit. Why have Posey act like she's drunk AND her house is on fire? The second episode resets the tone to almost correct, but by then it's way to late.
As for casting, look no further than Paul Giamatti - a wonderful actor - in "John Adams." Did anyone else find him as off-putting as I did? He constantly made me aware that I was watching Paul Giamatti trying to be John Adams. That's a bad start. But it did distract from the glacial pace and the dry writing. Part 2 ran 90 minutes and was infinitely better, giving us history and action and consequence and daring patriotism. I hate to say it, but in Part 3, the onus returns to Giamatti and this time, once you're used to him as Adams, the writing makes him unlikable. Petty, vain, a terrible father and a distant husband - no wonder it took so long for anyone to attempt to rewrite history to give him his proper due, as David McCullough did. But still, that doesn't translate. And just wait until he and Abigail (Laura Linney) have the most unromantic sex possible in Part 4.
Tough to overcome. All of it.
Thoughts on these shows and other TV series where the casting didn't work or the direction (tone) was way off? Let's keep away from failed writing at this point. That list is much too long.