The Decade in Review: The 50 Best Television performances, Part One

It is time for me to start mentioning the best television had to offer this decade. For me, the decade was over before the summer TV season started because some shows start in the fall and go in in the spring. Weir, but that’s how my mind works

Before I go on to mention the 10 best television shows of the decade, I’ll list my 50 favorite performances of the decade, in two parts. Since I’m not a big TV watcher due to my lack of time and cable TV, I will not talk about shows like Lost, Entourage, Breaking Bad, etc. The list is definitely subjective, shown by the fact that I have listend some performances that will make people say “WTF?!” but these are performances that I love.

This list mostly features performances from shows that came out this decade (there is one exception) as well as mini series and TV movies.

Here are numbers 26-50 in descending order:

50. Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen in Commander in Chief

If there is an actress that seriously needs to come back, it is Geena Davis. This looked like it was the beginning of her great comeback, but sadly the show was cancelled. That didn’t stop her from giving a great performance as the first woman president. She is great as the strong woman who must step in to defend her country in a time of crisis while at the same time believing she was way over her head in taking the job.

49. Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl

It is easy to be over the top when playing a character like Blair Waldor, but Meester pulls it off. Her performance is restrained and calm, and even her temper tantrums feel natural. She is part of what makes GG a better show than what anyone expects.

48. Salma Hayek as Elisa in 30 Rock

Her role here is not that big, she was only in five or six episodes, but her performance left a big impression on me. I guess the reason for this is because I’ve known people liker Elisa, and she plays it to perfection.

47.Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan in 30 Rock

Outside of 30 Rock, I don’t find Tracy Morgan that funny. However, the reason why he is in this list is because his comedic timing combined with the great writing for the show makes him an unforgettable character.

46. Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton in True Blood

The reason why this (and the next entry) is not higher on the list is because I’ve only seen the first season, which was pretty flawed. The accent, plus his chemistry with Anna Paquin and his charm makes him worthy of being in a list of the best TV performances of the decade.

45. Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse in True Blood

See 46

44. Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin in John Adams

I had never seen anyone play Franklin like this. He plays it the way he actually was a filthy, but smart drunk, without going over the top into unintentionally funny territory.

43. Kristen Wiig in Saturday Night Live

I like SNL, but there is no doubt that it could have better writers. However, no matter how bad the writing in one skit is, Wiig always saves it with her witty and clever take on the characters.

42. Bret McKenzie as Bret in Flight of the Conchords

Bret and Jemain’s dry humor, plus their songs is what makes the show so great. Even if they had remained as writers, if the actors had been different the show would have failed.

41. Jemaine Clement as Jemaine in Flight of the Conchords

See 42

40. Lindsay Duncan as Servilia of the Junii in Rome

One moment, she is a woman in love. The next, she is a woman bathing in blood and out for revenge. Never have I been so afraid of a woman, and that is all because of her.

39. James Spader as Alan Shore in Boston Legal

The actor playing this role had to have some great comedic timing, as well as be able to be able to be convincing during the dramatic scenes. He pulled it off.

38. Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson in How I met Your Mother

Awesome and legendary!

37. Teri Hatcher as Susan Myers in Desperate Housewives

As the show progressed, her character became annoying and ridiculous, but she never faltered.

36. Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo in Desperate Housewives

The most realistic character in Housewives, she has the charm and dramatic chops to make her relatable.

35. Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois in Medium

Like Huffman in Desperate Housewives, she has what it takes to make her character relatable because of her interaction with her family, but also kicks ass as a paranormal investigator

34. Jeffrey Tambor as George Bluth in Arrested Development

No one, except maybe John Lithgow, could have pulled this character off. Great use of his talent as a comedian

33. Jessica Walters as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development

Says some of the most outrageous lines in the show without ever seeming repulsed by or thinking she is better than what she was saying

32. Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development

Although his performance is not the best in the show, you’ll see which later, he is great as the person who carries the show. He is supposed to be the most serious person in the Bluth family, but is definitely the second-funniest.

31. James Callis as Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica

It is hard for an actor to make me like him, hate him, or want to throw a show at the TV. Callis has managed to make me fell all three things.

30. Kristen Chenoweth as Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies

Although the show only lasted two seasons, it was a great treat to see her in every episode. She made me smile every time she came on screen.

29. James Purefoy as Marc Anthony in Rome

I don’t know if it is because I am not a history buff, but I had not heard of Marc Anthony being like this. He is a sleaze ball, and purefoy plays it to perfection

28. Glen Close as Patty Hewes in Damages

Because of Close’s take on the character, no matter how good the paycheck was, I would not want to work for this woman

27. Drew Barrymore as “Little” Edith Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens

Barrymore’s best performance. She completely embodies Little Eddie. She should have been an Oscar nominee, but the Emmy nom will do.

26. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII in The Tudors

I had always seen kings portrayed as sleaze balls, but because of Meyer’s looks and youth, his performance is even more believeable.

Part two (numbers 25-1) will be up sometime soon.


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