Top Five Comic Book TV Show Actors of 2015
2015 was a banner year for comic book TV. Floundering shows found their feet; hit shows somehow got better.
With some marquee TV, some great writing and standout episodes, of course along came some outstanding individual performances. Success for the shows also brought more experimentation, and as writers and directors tried new things, actors really got to show off.
This is a tough list to write, narrowing things down to only five actors, but here's five that all deserve the extra recognition.
Vincent D'Onofrio, Daredevil
It's very difficult to choose which character from Marvel TV and Netflix's two series that debuted in 2015 best represented them, or stood above the rest. Well, the towering and imposing figure of Wilson Fisk certainly does that.
Vincent D'Onofrio's performance, though, is more than just that of a villain. He's as nuanced and as justified in his decisions and actions as Matt Murdock ever is. While his violence and rage are despicable, it's hard not to have sympathy and empathy for this Kingpin, and that's all in the performance.
Stand-out Moment: The intro of Wilson Fisk, back to the camera, staring at a painting, and just slightly twitching his fingers. It's also expert cinematography and Ayelet Zurer's support, but D'Onofrio pulls off a subtlety that's unexpected and amazing.prevnext
Erin Richards, Gotham
What a difference a season makes. Erin Richards and her character Barbara Kean are basically the poster child for Gotham. In season one, she started out fairly one-note, and seemed like everything about her was over-the-top to the point of parody. She wasn't a character you could believe in, because there wasn't much being presented to believe.
Then, in the Ogre storyline there was a sudden shift, and flashes of true brilliance. That carried right over into season two, where Richards turned Barbara into the best character on a much-improved show that finally found its voice. Her performances pull the viewer in - you know you're supposed to think she's crazy, or dangerous, or evil, but somehow you're still pulled in to every word she says.
Stand-out Moment: In a moment of clarity, Barbara, hanging on, is genuine, sorrowful, and above all, sad as she thinks she's saying goodbye to Jim for the final time. It's just as genuine as her happiness, her craziness, and her conniving moments.prevnext
Lennie James, The Walking Dead
After just a handful of appearances, one of the most popular questions for producers of The Walking Dead was, "where's Morgan?" When he showed up, suddenly a badass with a quarterstaff, the question became, "wait, how the heck did that happen?"
When we got to see it in the episode "Here's not Here," his backstory only made Morgan that much cooler. There's still a pain behind James' eyes, even though he's found his serenity and peace with who he is.
Stand-out Moment: Morgan learns the cage was unlocked all along - and the anger leaves his eyes for the first real time.prevnext
Tom Cavanagh, The Flash
In one calendar year, Tom Cavanagh has played three different characters on The Flash. He's been the actual Harrison Wells, he's been Eobard Thawne masquerading as Harrison Wells, and he's been Harrison Wells from Earth-2. Each character was just as believable as the last, and the amount of nuance he's managed to add to each take on a similar character has been incredibly impressive.
Stand-out Moment: Thawne/Wells tells Cisco he's been like a son to him - just before jabbing his hand directly into his heart.prevnext
Elizabeth Henstridge, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
If I was writing a "best episodes of 2015" list, "4,722 Hours" from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be at the top of that list, too. Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons showed us in one hour of television a varied depth of emotion and character that many characters, especially on genre shows, don't get in an entire season. Her play thereafter, with a mix of hope, confusion, and a very real, human take on the complexity of love, only served to make her performance that much more amazing.
Stand-out Moment: Jemma, after weeks on a mysterious planet, records what's probably her final message for Fitz, and we all sob like babies.prev