In many ways, this is a harder list to do than a list of the best TV shows of the year. Often a great TV show is filled with great performances from everyone involved. So if I have 20 great TV shows than I probably have 100 great performances.
But I can’t really do a list of 100 – although the first draft of this list had 40 performances – because who has time for that? And that kind of list is also not really about “best” so I decided to give myself an arbitrary cutoff – 15 – that I immediately cheated on.
Whatever. It’s my list.
By making this 15
(ish) I forced myself to really hone in on the performances that really moved me in a profoundly emotional way this year, rather than just pick technically great performances that left me a little cold or that I admired in an intellectual way.
But it’s worth just listing a few of the folks who missed the cut.
Runners-up (in order):
- Rutina Wesley, Queen Sugar
- Naturi Naughton, Power
- Constance Zimmer, UnReal
- Yael Groblas, Jane The Virgin
- Robert Buckley, iZombie
- Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Pitch
- Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
- Fred Savage, The Grinder
- Marcus Scribner, Black-ish
- Daniel Gillies, The Originals
So with that, onto the 15 (or so) performances that I personally think are the best TV performances of 2016.