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Sean Patrick Flanery

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It’s hard to keep your hair combed when you’re zipping through history on horseback. Maybe that’s Flanery’s secret: The star of ABC’s The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is in perpetual motion, which keeps him from looking like a character out of, say, Nairobi 90210. There’s that man-inside-the-boy quality that the actor, 26, lends to his 16-year-old Indy. And something appealingly off-kilter about his teen-dream face, which Flanery, in theory, approves: “Baudelaire said, ‘That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal.’ ” Never mind dead Frenchmen, just listen to the raves of USA Today (“memorably rakish”) and series casting director Janet Hirshenson (“great smile”).

As a real teen, Houston-raised Flanery buckled not his swash but the seat belt of an autocross racer. While studying prelaw in his hometown, he got hooked by drama classes. In 1989 he quit and lit out for Hollywood, waiting tables until he began to get commercials and TV movies. Indy has just been renewed, which means Flanery is hitting the road again to exotic locations. That perk makes steady relationships difficult—but not impossible. Says the bachelor: “Nothing savages my moral sensibilities more cruelly than a beautiful girl.” Baudelaire couldn’t have said it better.