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On the 8th day of Festivus, TV gave to me ...

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 16th 2008 10:30AM
Fey, Hamm...Eight stars a-shinin'.

Every year, certain stars just stand out on television. There the ones that people talk about a lot, the ones that have the most impact, or the ones that make you say "that guy is going to be a star." These are the eight TV stars that shined bright in 2008 (and probably will in 2009 too).

1. Tina Fey. Is there anyone else who controlled pop culture the way she did this year? It's one thing to have the best comedy on TV and win Emmy awards for it, but in the same year you happen to look like the Republican VP candidate and go on to impersonate her and increase Saturday Night Live's ratings too? Not bad. And let's not forget all the magazine covers and a $5M book deal.

2. Jon Hamm. This guy seemed to come out of nowhere into the role of Don Draper on AMC's Mad Men, but of course he had been an actor we had seen for years. It's just that this was the perfect marriage of actor and character (and writing). Everyone on Mad Men, the best show on TV, shines brightly. But this guy is so enveloped in his role it's hard to see someone else playing Draper.

3. Simon Baker. Finally, this guy has a hit. Not just a hit, but The Mentalist is the only new show that we can really point to and see is the big hit of the season. Baker has been good in everything's he's done (from L.A. Confidential to The Guardian), and this character of Patrick Jane is perfect for him.

The Mentalist

Wiig4. Kristin Wiig. She has gone from that cast member who wasn't a regular on Saturday Night Live to arguably their MVP. Her impressions, from Suze Orman to Nora Desmond to Liza Minnelli, are uncanny. Other than all of the Fey/election stuff, she was the main reason to tune into SNL this year. You turned it on thinking, what's Wiig going to do this week?

5. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Yeah, yeah, I know, I did a two-for-one thing here. But how can you separate these two, especially in an election year?

Stewart/Colbert

Jeffrey Donovan6. Jeffrey Donovan. Here's another guy who worked for years and now has a hit on his hands. Shows like Burn Notice teeter on the edge of formula, so Donovan has to supply the charm and personality, and he delivers. Great to have people like Bruce Campbell to play off of too.







7. Bryan Cranston. What an interesting character Walter White is, and Cranston won an Emmy for the role. This proves what a lot of people have known for years, that Cranston isn't just that funny sitcom guy.

Cranston

Amy Ryan
8. Amy Ryan.
What a breath of fresh air Ryan was on The Office. Someone nice and normal for Dunder-Mifflin, but at the same time someone who was actually a lot like Michael Scott. It was really sad to see Ryan leave, but she has movies to make. Hopefully we'll see her again.

Nine foreign Americans
Ten shows on DVD
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Twelve shows a-stinkin'

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Love the recognition of Jeffery Donovan, I couldn't agree more... he's great in the show! He really nails that suave and charm of a spy. So excited to check out new episodes starting January 22nd!

December 17 2008 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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