The Decade in Review: The 50 Best Television Performances, Part Two

Here is part two of my best television performances of the decade (Part one here). Feel free to comment on my choices, whether you agree or disagree, etc.

25. Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura in Heroes

The show died after its first season, but he kept on bringing the innocence that the character required. His performance never reflected the decrease in quality, at least until I stopped watching.

24. Jamie Pressly as Joy Turner in My Name is Earl

Always so angry and hateful, yet lovable.

23. Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock

Despite him defending corporate politics over anything else, he seems to be the best boss to work for.

22.John Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men

I’ve only seen a few episodes of the first season (I just couldn’t get into it), but that was enough to be won over by Hamm’s charisma, despite the awful things he does.

21. Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesley in The Office

Her interactions with all the cast is great, especially with Michael. And whenever something happens to her, you hope things work out for the best.

20. Laura Dern as Katherine Harris in Recount

I hated the character, therefore she did her job properly.

19. Jessica Lange as “Big” Edith Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens

The best performance in the entire film. I was amazed at how she embodies Big Eddie. I’m rooting for Barrymore to take the Emmy, but I would be just as pleased if she took it.

18. Ray Stevenson as Titus Pullo in Rome

On the outside he is a man’s man, but on the inside he has a heart of gold.

17. David Cross as Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development

Cross got the job of saying the most outrageous things in the entire series and he did it perfectly every time.

16. Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman in Extras

No one does dead pan delivery work as much as Gervais, and it fits this character that has been rejected time after time as an actor. Even Millman gets his big break, Gervais humor still works because of all the pain Millman feels for selling out.

15. Katee Sackhoff as Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace in Battlestar Galactica

Fearless and strong, but still susceptible to human emotion, Sackhoff never fails to show all the emotions that go through Starbuck’s head.

14. Tricia Helfer as Number Six in Battlestar Galactica

If there is one actor in the etinre BSG cast that showed the most impovement, it is Tricial Helfer. In the first season all she had to do was be hot. However, as the series progressed, we got to see the many personalities that the model six cylons have, and she was great at each part.

13. Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock

Awkward, clumsy, smart, and lovely. Only Tina Fey could play this part.

12. Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office

Carrell is perfect as a seemingly clueless man who says the most outrageous thing, but loves his job so much that he is willing to go into bankruptcy for the love of paper.

11. Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House in House M.D.

Mad genius, that fits the decription of House and the guy who plays him

10. Anna Friel as Charlotte “Chuck” Charles in Pushing Daisies

From the first moment she appeared on screen, I was in love. When the series was over, I was sad I would never see Chuck and her adventures with the pie maker.

9. Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica

She is everything a leader should be: caring towards her people, but not afraid to make the tough choices.

8. Lee Pace as Ned in Pushing Daisies

Lee Pace brings the hopeless romanticism needed to play this part and we never see him getting tired of being like that.

7. Paul Giamatti as John Adams in John Adams

A very subtle performance that wins you over as you see Adam’s life progress. His chemistry with Laura Linney is amazing.

6. Laura Linney as Abigail Adams in John Adams

Like Giamatti’s performance, it is very subtle. The reason why this is higher on the list is because without Abigail, John would not have made some of the decisions he made. Like wise, Giamatti would not have been as good if he had not been able to play opposite of such an amazing actress.

5. Marcia Cross as Bree Van DeCam/ Bree Hodge in Desperate Housewives

Cross is great as the mom who wants to have everything done perfectly all the time. Everything, from her posture to her way of speaking fits the character perfectly. No matter how things around her start becoming ridiculous, she keeps doing her thing just right.

4. Ciaran Hinds as Julius Caesar in Rome

Through Hind’s performance, we get to see the tyrant that his congress hated so much, as well as the man that helped his people and cared for his family.

3. Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcom Reynolds in Firefly

Like Mary McDonnell’s Laura Roslin, Fillion’s Malcom Reynolds is a leader that cares for his people but is not afraid to make the tough choices. That along withhis charisma makes this performance completely memorable.

2. Edward James Olmos as Admiral William Adama in Battlestar Galactica

Yet another leader that cares for his people and has to make hard choices. The thing about him is that he does sometime struggle to make them. In the final BSG episodes, as his ship is breaking down we see his desperation, his thoughts that he disappointed the people by not finding them a home in time. Any lesser actor would have made these moments unintentionally funny. But since it is Olmos, who gave the character a tough-as-nails portrayal throughout the series, watching him do this is like watching a manly male role model cry. You know it has to be something real bad to make him cry.

1.Polly Walker as Attia of the Julii in Rome.

From the moment she shows up on screen, she in complete command. She is a woman that cares about her family and her life style and her family and will do anything to protect them. Her voice, body language, and facial expressions point to a woman who will do anything, to get what she wants. She is also a lonely woman who desperately wants to fall in love, but the man she loves does not necessarily lover her back. Yet, she stands all the rejection for a chance to find love. The way she delivered her final lines in the show gave me chills and made want to stand up and cheer. One of the best performances I have ever seen.

So, that’s that. My list of the top 10 television shows this decade will be coming up soon.


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