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Why Henry From Into The Dark: The Current Occupant Looks So Familiar

Though they don't get quite as much credit for their original programming as competitors like Netflix and Amazon, the folks running Hulu have actually been releasing some of the best original content in the world of streaming in recent years. While critically lauded hits like The Handmaid's TaleCastle Rock, and High Fidelity have been grabbing most of the headlines in Hulu's growing slate of in-house productions, the streamer has quietly made a name for itself in the horror realm via their partnership with indie genre powerhouse Blumhouse Productions.

That partnership resulted in Hulu's ongoing horror anthology series, Into the Dark, which centers each of its unique, feature-length tales of terror around a widely celebrated holiday (Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc). The Into the Dark series is on the verge of wrapping up its second season on Hulu, and is looking to do so with some serious fireworks in the guise of the Independence Day themed episode "The Current Occupant."

The second season finale of Into the Dark follows the travails of a tormented man with no memory who's being subjected to radical psychiatric testing in a mysterious hospital ward. Oh, and he may also be the current President of the United States. Then again, he might just be a severely disturbed man with vivid delusions of conspiracy. Whatever the case, there's solid odds you'll recognize the actor portraying the afflicted man in "The Current Occupant." His name is Barry Watson, and at one point in time he was one of the hottest names in Hollywood. Here's why Henry from Into the Dark looks so familiar.

Barry Watson became a teen hearthrob on 7th Heaven

All the '90s kids out there no doubt recall that Barry Watson's rising star status was cemented in the Fall of 1996, pretty much the moment the floppy-haired actor made his first appearance on the The WB Network's long-running family drama 7th Heaven.

Produced by small-screen icon Aaron Spelling (Charlie's AngelsBeverly Hills, 90210, and more), 7th Heaven was one of The WB's first big hits, and ran for a staggering 243 episodes on the network (which later became The CW) over 11 seasons. The series followed the ongoing stories of the Camden family, headed by an amiable minister (Stephen Collins) and his devoted wife (Catherine Hicks). Much of the drama on 7th Heaven revolved around the raising of their numerous children, the eldest of which was Matt, who was portrayed over the course of 155-episodes by Barry Watson.

While many of 7th Heaven's story arcs were of the "family and faith can cure all ills" nature, the show did frequently teeter on the edge of controversial topics, most of which were covered through storylines involving the teen Camdens. While Watson's co-star Jessica Biel's post-7th Heaven career has probably panned out a little better than Watson's, even we'd have to admit she was frequently outshone by her on-screen big bro throughout their time on the show.  

Barry Watson tangled with a screen legend in Teaching Mrs. Tingle

Those '90s kids who were first introduced to Barry Watson through the moralizing stories of 7th Heaven would likely tell you it was far from the only teen drama he featured in that decade. While the actor had already claimed roles on series like Sister, SisterThe Nanny, and Baywatch prior to his 7th Heaven breakout, afterwards he joined the stacked cast of one of the more under-appreciated genre offerings of 1999, Teaching Mrs. Tingle

To be clear, we're in no way claiming Teaching Mrs. Tingle to be some sort of unheralded classic of the era. It isn't. But as far as angsty teen thrillers with a toe in horror and another in pitch-black comedy go, Teaching Mrs. Tingle was a lot more fun than most, and probably deserved a bit better than the dreadful reviews and disastrous box office it drew upon release.

Teaching Mrs. Tingle marked the directorial debut of Kevin Williamson who, prior to the film's release, was the toast of Tinseltown having already scored massive hits in the '90s penning teen classics Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and masterminding the iconic WB series Dawson's Creek. Williamson looked to add directing to his repertoire with Teaching Mrs. Tingle, and hoped pitting rising stars like Barry Watson, Katie Holmes, and Marisa Coughlin against the likes screen icon Helen Mirren and the always-entertaining Jeffrey Tambor would make for another hit.

That plan obviously didn't pan out, but Teaching Mrs. Tingle still made for a compellingly flawed, oddly transfixing genre experiment, in which Barry Watson was actually quite good.

Barry Watson was briefly trapped in the tangled webs of Gossip Girl

After 7th Heaven finally ran its course, Barry Watson made a solid go at becoming a big screen star, and briefly even fronted his own network hour-long (ABC's tragically short-lived dramedy What About Brian?). None of those ventures panned out quite the way Watson wanted, but in 2012 the talented actor proved that one could actually go home again when he returned to the The CW by joining the cast of its soapy teen drama Gossip Girl.

Of course, by the time Watson joined the guilty pleasure grind of Gossip Girl in its sixth and final season, most of the characters on the show were no longer teens, even if most were still acting out as such. Watson turned up in the series' final season as Steven Spence, a newly divorced dad who was also the CEO of a successful vitamin company. Over his six-episode arc, Watson's Steven carried on a torrid romance with Serena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl breakout Blake Lively), and very nearly made the Upper East Side princess his bride before the pair called it quits, leaving Serena to run off with Penn Badgley's Dan Humphrey.

Though he only got a six-episode arc on Gossip Girl, hardcore fans of the series would tell you Watson made the most of his CW return. Some might even say Serena would've been better off with the kind-hearted Steven. Perhaps not many, but surely there are still some Steven-Serena fans out there, right?

Barry Watson played the son of a media tyrant on The Loudest Voice

In the years since his memorable Gossip Girl run, Barry Watson has kept himself quite busy, appearing on a rash of notable small screen offerings including WilfredHart of Dixie, and Masters of Sex. In 2019, the actor added another impressive television venture to his resume when he appeared on Showtime's electrifying mini-series even The Loudest Voice. He joined an absolutely stacked cast of A-listers including Russell Crowe, Sienna Miller, Naomi Watts, Seth MacFarlane, and more. 

The series came with a touch of controversy, as the seven episode series told the sordid tale of the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, the Fox News mastermind who was unceremoniously excused from the infamously divisive network he founded after a wave of sexual harassment accusations brought his reign to a disgraceful end. Russell Crowe portrayed the late media mogul, scoring a Golden Globe for his efforts. Barry Watson appeared on three episodes of The Loudest Voice as Lachlan Murdoch, the wildly ambitious eldest son of News Corp titan Rupert Murdoch (who helped launch Fox News back in 1996).

The Loudest Voice is easily among the highest-profile projects Barry Watson has appeared in to date, and gave him the chance to face off with some of the biggest names in showbiz. He more than held his own amongst the series' heavy-hitters too, which should only help open a few more doors for the actor moving forward.