The Greatest TV Performances of the 21st Century

The 50 most compelling, well-crafted, iconic, greatest TV performances of the 21st Century.

  1. Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad
  2. Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men
  3. James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos
  4. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones
  5. Michael K. Williams as Omar Little in The Wire
  6. Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in Mad Men
  7. Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office
  8. Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlett in The West Wing
  9. Ian McShane as Al Swearengen in Deadwood
  10. Carrie Coon as Nora Durst in The Leftovers
  11. Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad
  12. Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos
  13. J.K. Simmons as Vernon Schillinger in Oz
  14. Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation
  15. Lena Headley as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
  16. Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad
  17. Michael C Hall as David Fisher in Six Feet Under
  18. Idris Elba as Stringer Bell in The Wire
  19. Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor in Friday Night Lights
  20. Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in Law and Order
  21. Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey in The Shield
  22. Andre Royo as Bubbles in The Wire
  23. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24
  24. Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective
  25. Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey Jr in The Leftovers
  26. Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher in Six Feet Under
  27. James Spader as Alan Shore in The Practice/Boston Legal
  28. Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in Fargo
  29. John Slattery as Roger Sterling in Mad Men
  30. Gabriel Byrne as Dr Paul Weston in In Treatment
  31. Michael C Hall as Dexter Morgan in Dexter
  32. Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock
  33. Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot
  34. Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified
  35. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things
  36. Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings in The Americans
  37. Andre Braugher as Ray Holt in Brooklyn Nine Nine
  38. Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House in House
  39. Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom
  40. Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland
  41. Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul
  42. Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire
  43. Connie Britton as Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights
  44. Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in Veep
  45. Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Killing Eve
  46. Terry O’Quinn as John Locke in Lost
  47. Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland
  48. Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy in The Deuce
  49. Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe in Halt and Catch Fire
  50. Brian Tyree Henry as Paper Boi in Atlanta


  1. Gandolfini as Tony Soprano is one of the all time greatest performances of all time, TV or film. He’s number one, no contest.

    • Ik man It just has me Mindblown ppl don’t realize what Gandolfini did, props to Cranston but he’s not touching Jimmy G

  2. millie bobby brown put in a better performance than steve buscemi… yeah ok 😂 also where is joey pants as ralphie

  3. It’s Lena “Headey” first of all And she should be higher. And the fact that Cranston is over Gandolfini is so crazy to me that I don’t have any words for it Except go watch the Sopranos again There’s no way Gandolfinis performance is not number 1 in TV easily.

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