Of the various feature stories we run at ComicBook.com, few are harder than when you have to narrow a list that should be 10 down to just five.
With a bunch of great comics-to-TV adaptations on the air right now, there are a number of actors who deserve wider recognition. So we're going to look not just at talent and performances here, btu who inspires us, who engages us and who makes us want to watch more of their show just by virtue of...being there.
These are the five comic book TV actors we're most thankful for.
Gregg has one characteristic that we love to see on these shows: he's a fan.
That's actually one of the recurring things you'll see on this list. Maybe it helps inform the performance, maybe the performance is all just craft and the fandom simply brings out a passion that you wouldn't necessarily see in other actors...but Gregg, like seemingly everyone on this list, loves his job.
"I grew up reading Marvel Comics and loving this stuff, and when I saw they were putting together that kind of cast for Iron Man, as a geek I was just like, 'Oh, this is going to be incredible,'" Gregg told us in a 2012 interview in support of Marvel's The Avengers. "And so when Favreau called up and said, 'It's just a little bit--it isn't much but we'd be lucky to have you,' I was like, 'Yeah! Absolutely!' And so to have it turn into this is kind of a teenage fantasy of mine."
You can see it reflected in the way he interacts with fans, too; Gregg stays if not necessarily in-characer then at least defensive enough of his character to make it fun to watch him in interviews, on social media and the like...and he's fiercely protective of spoilers.
When his character was going to die in The Avengers, and the information had leaked, co-star Tom Hiddleston warned us against asking him any questions about it, implying that Gregg might actually be that Marvel employee actors are always joking will kill you if you break your non-disclosure agreement.
Robin Lord Taylor
Gotham itself has been somewhat uneven, drawing middling reviews for many of its episodes, but the performances have generally been terrific. Child actors David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova have earned acclaim -- something uncommon for younger talent on a genre show, who are usually given a hard time (just ask Chandler Riggs).
But the undeniable standout is Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot.
He elevates every scene he's in, and when the show is at its best tends to be when the story focuses heavily on The Penguin's subplots. A supremely talented actor, it's hard to imagine the casting folks on The Walking Dead aren't kicking themselves a little for doing away with him so fast.
Speaking of whom...!
McBride is delivering one of the best performances on television as Carol Peletier, domestic abuse survivor, and a mother who's had to bury three daughters in the time we've known her.
The material she has to work with certainly helps -- Carol is cooler and stronger in the TV series than she ever was in the comics -- but we've heard producers say in the past that it's actually McBride's powerhouse performance that inspired them to do so.
'I don’t know why they took Carol in a different direction but I'm happy that they did," McBride told us in an October interview. "If I had anything to do with it, then I'm happy about that."
The Arrow star remains the face of DC Entertainment's TV adaptations, even despite the record-setting ratings success of The Flash and the bigger names on FOX's Gotham.
Why? Well, in part because he's a master of fan interaction.
His Facebook page, which boasts nearly 3 million likes, is constantly bombarded with activity, as Amell interacts with viewers, answers questions, plays games and promotes not only the show, but his charity work as well and the work and passions of other Arrow cast members.
His onscreen heroic persona is sometimes outstripped by his off-screen one, in fact, making Stephen Amell the hero that Oliver Queen often strives to be.
The star of NBC's Constantine is filming his season finale this week -- and will be livetweeting the episode on Black Friday.
How do we know? Because he's live-tweeted every episode and, according to executive producer Daniel Cerone, more or less of his own volition.
"Our entire cast live-tweets every episode," Cerone told us today, saying that they'd been asked once and then took it upon themselves to continue.
During our interview with Cerone -- which will run on Friday ahead of the new episode of Constantine -- one thing was made imminently clear: the cast and crew of the series are incredibly passionate. They want to bring Hellblazer to life in the best way possible, and Ryan himself lives and breathes the show.
That's good -- because the series could easily have been a train wreck with the wrong casting...and if fans had hated it, it would have been a good while before they gave the property a third chance (the 2005 Keanu Reeves movie didn't win many fans, although it is on sale for just $5.99 digitally on Amazon right now).
Ryan and his co-star Angelica Celaya will be appearing today in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so check them out there!