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October 3, 2015

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Eight stars a shinin'

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 16th 2009 10:02AM
jane_lynch_gleeOn the eighth day of Festivus, TV gave to me ... eight stars a shinin'!

There are a lot more than eight wonderful stars shining in the TV pantheon for 2009, but these eight are a remarkable bunch who have been exemplary this past year. They've left us with memories that'll last long after this Festivus has ended. So, in no special order, here are the eight stars a shining from the year gone by.

1. Jane Lynch. If the Emmy doesn't already have Jane Lynch's name engraved in a statuette for Glee, it will by the time the awards are handed out. Lynch has been the perfect villain, the villain you love to hate. But if she were just a one-note nasty, it wouldn't work. Lynch has shown the other side of Sue Sylvester. Her "swing" date showed Sue in love, and her visit to her sister Jean was a soft earthquake emotion. Jane delivers week in and week out. Her star is glowing.

tony_shalhoub_monk2. Tony Shalhoub. I was surprised that I included Tony in this list, but he earned his way on with the last six episodes of the final season of Monk. If you thought you'd seen all he could do as Adrian Monk, these shows proved you were wrong. In the finale, when he watched Trudy's video, it was almost painful to see how much he still loved her. And when he met her grown daughter and felt a connection to his late wife through her, he was not the buttoned up Mr. Monk. He was open and free. The character had come back to life.

3. Zach Gilford.
The beauty of Friday Night Lights is that it's an ensemble show. I could easily have named Connie Britton or Kyle Chandler or a handful of others on this show, but Zach blew me away this season. Matt Saracen has been a character you wanted to root for, but he's always been a still water. The death of his father was the rock that disturbed that peaceful visage and uncovered the depth of emotions.

4. Hugh Laurie.
Nobody has a handle on his character the way Hugh Laurie does on House. At the end of last season, when House had his breakdown, there were ways Hugh could have played it. He might have gone to the safety of over the top, but he didn't. He kept us on the edge, just the way House was. What was real and what wasn't? Now, back on the job, House has changed but not the way you thought he'd be. One more reason you have to watch Hugh as House.

5. Jim Parsons. Is there any question that Jim Parsons is one of the stars of the year? His interpretation of Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory has been brilliant, as Sheldon would probably attest. He's funny and quirky and unusual and completely compelling. He, more than anybody else on BBT, has made the show appointment TV.

mad_men_january_jones6. January Jones. Here's another case of an ensemble that includes actors working at the highest caliber, Mad Men. We recognized Jon Hamm last year; this time I'm giving plaudits to January Jones. As Betty Draper evolved this past season, Jones was asked to give us more than the glacial exterior that's hidden her deeper emotions. Jones delivered in spades, revealing steely strength and complex dimensions heretofore unseen.

7 . Aaron Paul.
Bryan Cranston is the soul of Breaking Bad, but the heart is Aaron Paul. As Jesse Pinkman, Aaron is playing a character flawed and self-destructive, and yet appealingly human and sad. Without his counterpoint to Cranston's Walter White, Breaking Bad doesn't work. Aaron's performance was one of the year's best.

8. Patricia Heaton
. I wasn't expecting to see Patricia Heaton being anything other than Deborah on Everybody Loves Raymond. Instead, as Francis Heck on The Middle, she's a completely different person. That, my friends, is why she's a great actress. Superficially, a housewife, mother of three, would seem to be a stereotype, but not when Patricia's interpreting the role. She's been a revelation on The Middle.

Twelve shows a stinkin'
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Ten Shows on DVD
Nine on-air breakdowns

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Gloria Chagnon

What happened to CBS's show:THREE RIVERS? I really like it & haven't seen it on the Sunday night line up lately. Has it been cancelled?

January 10 2010 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not saying your list is bad, it's actually pretty good. But Neil Patrick Harris, anyone? Not only was he nominated in almost every important TV award this year but he also HOSTED the premiere TV award (the Emmys) as well as the Tonys. Kinda odd to leave someone like him off this list.

December 17 2009 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with you 100% on January Jones and 200% on Aaron Paul. Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston are Gods, but Jones and Paul elevate them in every episode to unexpected heights.

December 17 2009 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

John Noble aka Walter Bishop on Fringe also deserves an Emmy. And to be on this list

December 16 2009 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

True, all true but Allison you are missing Katey Segal from "Sons of Anarchy".. here performance in Season 2 was transformative... the best actress statue should have her name on in at the Emmy's..

December 16 2009 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Miss Holloway is the best actress on Mad Men.

December 16 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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