The Year in TV: The 15 Best Performances of 2016


USA Network

USA Network

We usually don’t tune into TV shows for the actors the way we might trek to the multiplex for the new Meryl Streep or Mark Wahlberg star vehicle. TV actors tend to worm their way into our hearts over time, as our investment in a show deepens or a character develops in unexpected ways. Sometimes an actor with a minor role will steal every scene she’s in.

For years now, film stars have been flocking to TV, and actors, directors, and writers have been singing the medium’s praises as the place to go if you have a real story to tell. We were spoiled in 2016 with a wealth of rich, dynamic acting in both drama and comedy. Below, unranked, are the year’s 15 best performances.

Portia Doubleday, Mr. Robot

Season 2 of Mr. Robot squandered its early potential, in my opinion, devoting 12 episodes to what basically amounted to a long-winded set-up for Season 3. But the performances kept me watching week after week, particularly that of Portia Doubleday, who plays Angela. After being hired at E Corp, Angela is part of the very corporation she’s been trying to take down, and Doubleday skillfully portrays the character’s emotional bind.