Launched back in 2009, ABC single-camera sitcom Modern Family has spent nearly its entire run at or near the top of the broadcast comedy ratings charts, regularly coming in second in that measure only to CBS' gargantuan hit The Big Bang Theory. Presented as sort of a mockumentary - albeit one that has never revealed why the family in question is being filmed or exactly who is filming them - Modern Family chronicles the lives of three branches of the Dunphy/Pritchett clan, as they attempt to balance the pressures of things like raising kids, maintaining marriages, and dealing with the daily curve balls thrown at them along the way.
As one might imagine, a show as popular as Modern Family has regularly been a magnet for high-profile guest stars over the course of its eight season run. Just some of the big names that have put in an appearance on Modern Family so far include Edward Norton, Nathan Lane, Catherine O'Hara, Better Call Saul's Jonathan Banks, Kevin Hart, Jesse Eisenberg, Patton Oswalt, Matthew Broderick, and Jordan Peele. To say that the above list barely scratches the surface of who has dropped by Modern Family would be a huge understatement.
The latest star to lend their shine to Modern Family is Nathan Fillion, who will of course always probably be best remembered by some for his work on Joss Whedon's short-lived sci-fi series Firefly. In more recent years, Fillion has popped into shows like Community, as well as starring on a little ABC procedural called Castle that managed to last for eight successful seasons before finally getting the axe this past spring. Now that Castle has ended, Fillion finds himself in-demand, and will tonight begin a three-episode arc on Family as a hilariously named local weatherman named Rainer Shine. TVLine has released the first photos of Fillion's tenure as Rainer, which can be seen below.
For those wondering how Fillion's character gets into the Modern Family mix, it all starts when Phil (Ty Burrell) gets invited to take part in a real estate-related segment on the local news. While there, Phil meets Rainer Shine, who is apparently a personal hero of his. Unfortunately, things get uncomfortable after Phil introduces Rainer to daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland), and sparks fly.
For reference, there is a 20-year age gap between Fillion and Hyland, which is probably only the beginning of why Phil is so unnerved by the whole thing. In addition to the age factor, Haley only recently ended her relationship with boyfriend Andy (Adam Devine), and probably isn't in the best place to be getting involved with anybody, much less a much older man. It'll be interesting to see whether Phil can get past his hero worship, and do what's in the best interests of his daughter.
Modern Family season 8 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC.