Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Best New People

So I'm delaying my music list (cause I think I will have to re-arrange things to fit in the Cast Recording of Spring Awakening which is technically out today) but I wanted to do this list for a while (nothing majorly surprising since we've all been loving these people for the past 3 months), but here is who I think are the Best New People from New Shows of this Season. I also say People because it combines both the actor and the character as well.

As much as I love Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock, or Marc and Justin from Ugly Betty, I had to narrow it down to one person per show, the actor and character that most defines whats so great about that show. Here are my 10 new BFF in no particular order:

America Ferrera as Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty

I mean, the show is CALLED Ugly Betty but still, many shows with a title character often end up with a title character who is the most boring of them all (I'm talking to you Dawson), but America Ferrera totally lights up this show as Betty Suarez and while the show could still exist in a campy hilarious world without her, it wouldn't be as heartbreaking or sweet at the same time and we (and Daniel Meade) know that Mode is better with her there.

Derek Richardson as Patrick Bachelor in Men in Trees

His character name says it all, but when Marin Frist swooped into the town of Elmo, bringing with her a tag-along Annie (Emily Bergl), we get to watch Patrick fall into the sweetness of first love. Anne Heche is fantastic (don't look shocked.) as Marin, but as Marin discovers singledom, we are reminded through Derek Richardson's wonderfully naive and woeful Patrick Bachelor's take on fresh love, why we put our hearts on the line time after time.

Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura on Heroes

Comic book geek redefined. Masi Oka as Hiro brings hilarity and excitement to the dark world Tim Kring has created as we go along for the ride to Save the Cheerleader, Save the World. More than any other character on the show (though Hayden Panettiere's Claire Benett comes a close second) do we see ourselves reflected, which is pretty amazing considering Hiro is from Japan and barely speaks English. But when he's excited, we are too, when he's scared, we are frightened by what's happening on screen, and when he's ready to find the sword and do battle against evil, we too want to rise up against Sylar.

Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen in Friday Night Lights

When Matt Saracen is called up to play as QB, and become a team captain, for a team he has barely been on the field for, we get to watch as this stuttering teenager tries to become the man that he wants to be. Only, the boy that he is is still quite a man, as he singly takes care of his dementiad grandmother while taking on part time jobs to pay the bills. Zach Gilford imbues this nervous boy with heart and grace as Matt Saracen as he tries to figure out his place in life, high school, love and football.

Matthew Rhys as Kevin Walker in Brothers & Sisters

Much like Zach Gilford's Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights, Matthew Rhy's Kevin Walker is the central heart and soul within the drama of the Walker family. Always trying to be reasonable and morally good while still making mistakes and coming to grips of his role within his family, and without, Kevin Walker subtly makes this show fun to watch. Sure, Sally Fields is having a field day as Nora, Dave Annable gets to plunge into dramatic darkness as drug addicted Justin, Calista Flockhart finally drops the annoying Ally McBeal ticks as Kitty, and Rachel Griffiths gets to play the sane one as Sarah, but every character seems most linked to Kevin Walker now, in part I think to Matthew Rhy's solid portrayal of a flawed but trusted brother.

Suzy Nakamura as Inger on Help Me Help You

Inger, or any of the characters on Help Me Help You, could have easily become live cartoon characters. The cast transforms this neurosis comedy into fully fleshed people, but it is Suzy Nakamura as Inger who totally enwraps her socially awkward/inept character with a soft realism, making her the most relatable character that needs help. All done hilariously of course.

Lizzy Caplan as Kat Warbler on The Class

This one is really more for Lizzy Caplan alone for playing the caricature of Kat Warbler (not her fault, every character on The Class is a caricature) with a fierce bemusement of sartorial remarks, much like how we watch the show.

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock

Alec Baldwin runs with it. As Jack Donaghy, Alec is totally whacked out, spitting lines out with barely a blink of the eye. Kooky is an understatement but Alec Baldwin plays the GE Microwave Oven Chief/TV Exec as if this were his last role on earth, and it works.

Sarah Paulson as Harriet Hayes on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

I've always been a fan of Sarah Paulson's so I'm finally glad she's been given the role of Harriet Hayes, the conservative comedian/actor (based on Kristin Chenowith). Sarah Paulson fully gives Harriet a soul and depth in yet another role that could have been played as one-dimensional. She can bounce off the quick Sorkin quips along with the best and her on-off affair with Matt (Matthew Perry, coming a close second from this show, and obliterating any signs of Chandler) are make this show bounce at its best.

Victor Garber as Ron Trott on Justice

Victor Garber licks his chops and chomps on everyone else like a shark at a surfing competition as Ron Trott, the unstoppable defence lawyer out for Justice. His mouth says yes, but the eyes glimmer with a sense of rightful duty no matter what yes answers to. Garber's Trott tosses off comments as if everyone were an idiot, which of course, is highly entertaining to us.


Anonymous said...

Great list! And rock on for including less obvious choices, like Inger from Help Me Help You. I think Victor Garber would be on any top list I ever made, 'cause he's just that awesome.

Unknown said...

I love Victor Garber and too bad Fox's PTB have to be stupid and not realize that they had a great show and an awesome actor to work with!

Vance said...

Tell me about it. They were lucky they had nothing when House premiered so they kept it because it had dismal ratings to start with. If only they would learn. Justice is totally the type of show that can grow and gain an audience.