It’s great when you’re watching a show and one of the actors comes out of left field to just knock your socks off. Here are a bunch of notable scene stealers from the last year.
Lyanna Mormont - Bella Ramsey - Game of Thrones
The greatest scene stealer child actor of all time. She stole every single scene she was in on the biggest possible stage. That’s how amazing she was.
Peter Abernathy - Louis Herthum - Westworld
Easily the biggest scene stealer from HBO’s flagship replacement for Game of Thrones, Herthum proved that he has chops. He destroyed it.
Lt. Dennis Box - Bill Camp - The Night Of
You watch this heartwrenching series and right away, you’re like, “who is this actor? He’s amazing.”
Salim Khan - Peyman Mooadi - The Night Of
Lost in so many great performances was the subtle and powerful portrayal of Peyman Mooadi, who quietly (and solely) believed in his son as the entire world fell down around them both.
Michael Cilic - Nicholas Campbell - The Girlfriend Experience
This might just be a by-product of many shoulder-shrug performances, but Nicholas Campbell was a notable breath of fresh air among Christine’s psychotic or forgettable johns. His explanation of why he kept his socks on during sex was the most honest part of the show.
Murtagh Fraser - Duncan Lacroix - Outlander
Die hards won’t hear talk about anyone other than Jaime and Claire, but Murtagh is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s no better friend on television.
Lance Corcoran - Tom Hollander - The Night Manager
In a series where phenomenal casting and performances elevated sometimes iffy source material, magnificent Olivia Colman was the titan among titans. But Hollander’s Corky was oh so volatile and oh so right.
Sophie Alekan - Aure Atika - The Night Manager
A smaller role, Aure Atika brought a silver-screen tragic royalty to Le Carre’s story. Her doomed gorgeousness and regal acceptance of fate was intoxicating.
Janet - D’Arcy Carden - The Good Place
I mean, Attention: I have been murdered. Whether she was omniscient Janet, or post-reboot still uploading Janet, D’Arcy Carden’s performance was Andy Dwyer solid.
Laurie Bream - Suzanne Cryer - Silicon Valley
Often lost in the madness is Cryer’s Bream, a spectrum-y character who doesn’t devolve into caricature. There’s a plan, we stick to it. Someone this rigid is an unlikely sex-appeal candidate, but hubba hubba. This vulcan has magnetism.
Martha Hanson - Alison Wright - The Americans
This was a tough, ass-over teakettles role that Alison Wright had to wrestle into submission. I wondered about the casting when we first met her, and it felt like a minor character forced her way into being a series regular. Martha’s wounded resolve and strength when confronted with reality was nothing short of phenomenal.
Tobias Menzies - Everything (Geoffrey Dromgoole — The Night Manager, Black Jack Randall AND Frank Randall — Outlander, Dr. Harries — Catastrophe)
The #1 complaint about Tobias Menzies is his face. People can’t deal with his face. GET OVER IT. NOW. Because he is note perfect in everything he does.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that his Blackjack Randall is the most distractingly amazing character on television because he’s so far and away superior to any other actor on the lovely but often irrepressibly cheesy Outlander that it highlights how wanting everyone else is. The subtlety and malice and gamesmanship of Blackjack Randall is something the human race should be more aware of. It belongs on a better show.
And he even brings it in the comedic department. This is like, the easiest person to cast in the world. He just comes with the thunder in every role. When he walks into a scene (especially when you don’t know he’s coming) it’s like an instant 40% show upgrade. Everyone on board the Tobias Menzies train, folks. I will brook no dissension on this. He’s the next John Malkovich.
Michael Ian Black - Everything (Peepers — Another Period, Daniel — The Jim Gaffigan Show)
Michael Ian Black is the same way. His repressed butler, Peepers, singlehandedly elevates Comedy Central’s Another Period to a place it doesn’t always deserve to be. YOU SUCKED MY DICK, MADAM!
Another Period has so much potential but they just can’t seem to get to the comedic plateau that Peepers inhabits every week.
Likewise, he takes the sweet-but-average The Jim Gaffigan Show and raises the bar in every scene he’s in as the best friend of Jim’s beautiful but put-upon wife, Jeanie.
Micheal Ian Black improves everything he comes in contact with, including society. he recently had this to say about Trump picking his cabinet partially based on their looks.
If that's true, how is he justifying himself as President? He looks like a water ballon fucked a fart. https://t.co/PNs5cJCQ9p— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) December 22, 2016
Jareb - Liam Carroll - The Detour
Kid actors don’t usually get solid writing, and when they do, they don’t usually KILL IT.
Max - Mikey Madison - Better Things
Ditto. This show needs to be on your watch list, by the way. Pamela Adlon’s vehicle is inspired and while it may be too close to home for many of us, it’s life affirming and honest. Warts and all.
Winslow - Wallace Shawn - Mozart in the Jungle
It’s sooooo hard to not see Vezzini, no matter what Wallace Shawn does, but you won’t! His world-famous, glove-wearing pianist was joyous comic relief.
Anna Maria - Nora Arnezeder - Mozart in the Jungle
Ai! The passion! The blood! Dios mío!
Julian - Brandon Micheal Hall - Search Party
In a show with many kick ass performances, Hall’s Julian was the version of millennial that will inherit the earth and FIX IT.
Kurt McVeigh - Gary Cole - The Good Wife
I mean, Gary Cole. This show took such a spectacular nosedive that you felt like the estwhile Kurt McVeigh was slumming it. But watching the slow burn as his reputation was publicly destroyed for doing his wife a solid was devastating.
Edward Tavner - Michael Chernus - Patriot
You don’t know this show yet, but I’m going to pump it up like crazy. I love it and the pilot is available on Amazon. In a show with TONS of great performances, Chernus’s deeply flawed Edward is oddly who you’ll fall for.
These are the scene stealers that jumped out at me for 2016, but I’m sure there are more. Who did I forget?
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