With so much television,
there are obviously a ton of great performances out there. Whether it's
comedy or drama, a legendary star or a breakout fresh face, some of the
best acting work anywhere is happening on TV.
Here's my look at 10 of the best performances of the year, just a sliver of the amazing and brilliant work being done on the small screen.Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel
No one had a better 2017 than Freddie Highmore. His performance in the final season of Bates Motel
as the fully-realized, disturbed Norman Bates was masterful. His descent into madness, talking to and occasionally becoming his dead mother, was wonderfully creepy and delivered an emotional punch to the end of the series. As an added bonus, he then went straight into the breakout hit of the Fall season, playing an autistic surgeon on ABC's The Good Doctor
and proving that he can play both a hero and a villain.
Asia Kate Dillon, Billions
The most riveting part of Dillon's performance as a gender non-binary analyst for Axe Capital is that their storyline didn't revolve around gender, but on compelling intellect and greed (and in case you're confused, "they" and "them" are the proper pronouns to use for someone who is non-binary). Taylor's meteoric rise as the smartest person in every room, their struggle to fit in and their moral dilemma in whether to turn on Axe or try to become him offered tense drama.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Fargo
I dare you to find a better TV character name this year than Winstead's Nikki Swango. A cunning criminal, one of the best things about FX's anthology based on the Coen brothers' film is how the female characters are fiendishly more clever than the men. Nikki's ability to think on her feet and create situations to suit her needs made her the shining star of season 3.
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
As aging actress Joan Crawford, Lange went full-on with a perfectly over-the-top and campy performance, showing Joan's ability to act as if everything was fine even when she was hanging on by a thread. The show may have been called Feud
, but with her performance and her character's storyline, Lange stole the show from Susan Sarandon, a fitting turnabout seeing as how Joan thought that Bette stole her spotlight.
Kaitlin Olson, The Mick
For more than a decade, fans of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
have witnessed Olson's comedic brilliance as the put-upon Dee. But as the lead in her own show, Olson proved that she could give it just as well, embodying a wholly unlikeable character and embracing the darkest recesses of comedy. Simply put, she was the funniest woman on TV this year.
Danielle Brooks, Orange Is the New Black
Taystee had a breakout year in Netflix's female prison dramedy, becoming the de factor leader of the inmate riot. Brooks and her character rose to the occasion and the scene where Taystee calls out news reporters for not paying attention to what really matters was one of the most powerful TV moments of the year.
Cole Sprouse, Riverdale
When the CW decided to adapt the adventures of Archie, Betty and Veronica, no one could've guessed that Jughead, played by one of the twins from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
, would be the star. But Sprouse's intellectual, snarky and somewhat detached performance made him the rootable underdog from the wrong side of the tracks. He's the perfect mixture of intense and relaxed that makes him the most interesting character on the show.Cole Sprouse on Bughead's Break-Up>>>
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Sometimes an actor and role mesh beautifully, even if no one saw it coming. With no fanfare, McCarthy popped up in the middle of an episode hosted by Kristen Stewart as President Trump's former press secretary Sean Spicer. It may have taken a while to recognize her because the transformation was flawless. Her aggressive delivery and physical comedy created the best sketch SNL
did all year. It was relentless political satire and a brilliant parody that deservingly earned McCarthy an Emmy Award.
Justin Hartley, This Is Us
I love to be a contrarian and while I know a lot of fans initially criticized Hartley as the weakest part of the show, he's blossomed in season 2 and emerged as the best part. Kevin went from an affable rom-com leading man to a tortured soul in a downward spiral of depression. Hartley's ability to convey the pain and self-loathing beneath a pretty facade illustrates what makes his character so compelling. Turning an attractive, successful actor into a sympathetic figure is no easy feat, but Hartley captured the inner tragedy of being treated like the golden child who could do no wrong.The Worst Is Yet to Come for Kevin>>>
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
In the Netflix comedy's third season, Tituss essentially emerged as the co-lead, a character every bit as important as Kimmy. His romantic struggles and belief that he cannibalized Dionne Warwick were hilarious, but it's his "Lemonading" that earned him a spot on this list. The way he embodied Beyonce for an entire episode was inspired.
See All the Best TV Moments of 2017 Here>>>
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