Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's the Men of Primetime! Who's the Finest of Them All?

There are definitely more than a few good men on primetime television, that's for sure (same holds true for the ladies, but we'll get to them tomorrow)! They move us, make us swoon, inspire us, and definitely leave us wanting more. They're the talented men who are lighting up our favorite dramas and comedies. I had a difficult time narrowing down my selections, and thus we have a tie. Anyway, here are my favorite television actors.

5. Christopher Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler, Law & Order: SVU) - Although he's been overlooked year after year by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their annual Emmy Awards, Christopher is definitely one of the best. He brings such raw and honest emotion to Stabler every week. Stabler is a hot-head, but Christopher allows us to see the motivation behind it. The character could easily be written off as a stereotypical male, but Chris brings heart and depth to him instead. It's difficult to stand out and prove yourself in a case heavy procedural, but Chris proves that it's definitely not impossible. He beautifully navigated through an especially difficult episode this season where an alleged rape victim accused Stabler of touching her inappropriately, and we learned that his wife took the kids and moved out. Two difficult blows, and Chris gave each of them a very human quality.

5. Michael Vartan (not? Michael Vaughn, Alias) - He provided us with the most shocking scene in primetime last season, but that's not the only impressive thing about Michael. He gives Vaughn a real, cool edge that allows him to work through the tense and demanding assignments of A.P.O. And when he's not keeping the country save from rogue organizations, he's romancing Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner). Michael easily moves between the intense scenes of searching for his father to the more tender scenes with Sydney. And then there's that ending scene where he tried to gently tell Sydney that Vaughn isn't Vaughn. It was a loaded statement that seemed to imply there's more to learn. Hopefully, Michael will be back next season to tell us all about it (even though rumors have him leaving the show sometime next season - most likely Alias' last).

4. Naveen Andrews (Sayid Jarrah, Lost) - Naveen burst on the scene this past season with the blockbuster hit Lost, but it's the simple nuances that he brings to Sayid that earn him a spot on this list. Considering that Sayid was a member of Saddam's Republican Guard, it would have been easy to make him a terrorist, but the character (thankfully) wasn't written that way. Naveen brings a quiet, gentle, and even-tone to Sayid, making him the most level-headed of the survivors. When it was time for Sayid's backstory to take center stage, Naveen did not disappoint. The way he played Sayid's heartache and turmoil was amazing. I hope we get to see more of his abilities this season as well. Naveen is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy.

3. Enrique Murciano (Danny Taylor, Without A Trace) - The procedural format is difficult to break out because very little emphasis is placed on the characters that enter into our living rooms every week, but Enrique is another example of an actor who is able to move around the boundaries and give a full, interesting character. He brings such compassion and serenity to Danny while also displaying his nice camaraderie with his fellow F.B.I Agents. Enrique carried his own episode this season when Danny's troubled brother went missing after supposedly getting his life together. It was a difficult and (obviously) deeply personal case for Danny because he had a hard time believing that his brother had cleaned up. Enrique took us through Danny's journey, allowing his faults to creep through and provide more insight into Danny. It was a well acted episode that cemented Enrique's place on the list. And just a programming note, coincidently, Danny's episode airs tonight on CBS.

2. John C. McGinley (Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs) - When one actor single handedly makes a hilarious show even funnier, it really makes you wonder why the Emmy voters have never nominated him. Such is the case with the brilliant John C. McGinley. He has incredible delivery and comedic timing, and he makes it so I can't even imagine any other actor playing Perry. His funny quips and monologues keep me tuned in to find out what he'll say next ("Lady, people aren't chocolate. You know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling"). But it isn't just John's comedic side that place him on the list, he brings so many dimensions to Perry. It would be easy to make him a cold hearted cynic, but John doesn't let that happen. He brings a complexity to Perry, allowing him to show his true colors - that deep down he truly cares about the residents that work for him (he torments them so they'll do well), his wife/ex-wife Jordan, and even the patients that drive him crazy. John shows us that Perry's a cynical doctor with heart.

And finally...drum roll...

1. Tom Amandes (Dr. Harold Abbott, Everwood) - Tom's performance on Everwood is truly inspiring, and like most of the others on this list, he has never received an Emmy nomination. He gives Harold such depth, a feat considering all of the characters on Everwood are well-developed and multi-dimensional. Even from the beginning when Harold was written as the resident pain-in-the-behind, Tom gave him heart. Harold could have easily been a throw-away character, one you don't pay much attention to, but you found yourself rooting for him just as much as the other amazing characters in the town. Tom delivers Harold's lines with such ease and perfection, and he can make us laugh at Harold's anal retentiveness over a parking space or cry with him when Rose (Merrilyn Gann) can't make it to Amy's (Emily Vancamp) high school graduation because she is having one of those bad days that cancer can bring. Tom's scenes with Emily Vancamp are so moving and well-played you sometimes forget these two aren't really father and daughter. A truly incredible actor who deserves much more recognition that he receives.


*Donald Trump will make a cameo on the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice per For his cameo, Trump will take a tour of the contestants' lofts. The Apprentice: Martha Stewart debuts September 21st on NBC.

*And finally, Charles S. Dutton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ellen Pompeo, Jimmy Smits, and Sela Ward are set to present at the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The awards air September 18th on CBS.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow as the week of favorites winds down with my favorite television actresses. Plus, all the latest TV news.


tati said...

Ooohhh Chris Meloni *drools*. He's probably my favorite male actor on primetime nowadays. Like you said, he displays Stabler's emotions in a very raw and intense manner. He's an incredible actor. I can't believe he hasn't got any Emmy nominations so far (but let's not even get started on the Emmy's fairness... *sigh*). And Enrique Murciano *drools a little more*. Another one whose talent is not ackowledged. He's also doing an amazing job in WaT, I wish Danny Taylor had more screentime.

Ranty said...

I'm done for, I'll try to make my comment as decent as I can, but I'm not making any promises ;). I don't know most of the guys you mentioned, mostly because I don't watch Alias or SVU. Hafta admit I hadn't really noticed Enrique Murciano much (except to find him cute--very shallow for 20-odd yrs), but you're right, that episode really brought him out, it was well-orchestrated and believable, and by the end my heart was really aching, not only for Danny for the brother. EVERYTHING went wrong. Couldn't agree more about Dr. Abbott; a great guy. I would've added Dr. Brown, too. I just love that guy.