The 25 Best TV Performances of 2016

     December 28, 2016


[For more of Collider’s Best of 2016 lists, click here]

With the rise of Peak TV, so too comes an expansion of excellent performances on television. This year, I decided to just do one list instead of splitting up men and women, comedy and drama (and miniseries), to try and give everyone their due regardless of category. I capped it at 25 just to force myself to make some hard choices (and they were exceptionally hard), and I didn’t allow for any repeats within the same show (which was extraordinarily hard, because so many of these series are great ensemble pieces). I cheated a little bit and split out the best breakout performances, since so many in this list are established actors, but there still wasn’t enough room to talk about everyone who was outstanding this year. And that is actually a really, really great thing.

There is definitely some bias in my list towards dramatic acting, and I didn’t realize until after I had written up all of these blurbs that more than half of the actors I picked are women, showing that there are (finally) a bevy of great roles that aren’t defined by gender. And of the 450 or so TV series this year, I “only” watched about 160 of the scripted ones, so there is bound to be some oversight. But this list (which is unranked) is all about love and appreciation, so in that spirit, consider this a reminder of how much great television we had in 2016: