Though Merriman had proven himself a more than capable performer with an impressive big screen debut, television was where he racked up his earliest credits. The Disney Channel hosted some of his more unlikely characters, including a computer whiz kid who designs a home that will keep his widowed father from dating ("Smart House," 1999) and a teen who finds out he is part leprechaun ("Luck of the Irish," 2001). More impressive small screen work included his turn as a teen unable to control his own violent urges in Lifetime's "Dangerous Child" (2001). Starring in Jason Alexander's 1950s coming of age comedy, "Just Looking" (1999), Merriman seemed ready to carry a film. He not only made the somewhat questionable character charming, but aced the outerborough Brooklyn accent that actors with far more experience have fumbled with. A featured role in the 2001 horror sequel "Halloween: Homecoming" would place the actor alongside some teen peers and undoubtedly reach a much wider audience than he had been exposed to before, while a co-starring role in the Disney Channel movie "A Ring of Endless Light" (aired in the 2001-02 season) would ensure that the wholesome performer didn't stray too far from the family programming that won over his initial fans.