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. James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos
  3. Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men
  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. Ian McShane as Al Swearengen in Deadwood
  9. Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Succession
  10. Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlett in The West Wing
  11. Carrie Coon as Nora Durst in The Leftovers
  12. Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad
  13. Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos
  14. J.K. Simmons as Vernon Schillinger in Oz
  15. Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation
  16. Lena Headley as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
  17. Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad
  18. Michael C Hall as David Fisher in Six Feet Under
  19. Idris Elba as Stringer Bell in The Wire
  20. Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor in Friday Night Lights
  21. Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in Law and Order
  22. Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey in The Shield
  23. Andre Royo as Bubbles in The Wire
  24. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24
  25. Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective
  26. Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey Jr in The Leftovers
  27. Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher in Six Feet Under
  28. James Spader as Alan Shore in The Practice/Boston Legal
  29. Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in Fargo
  30. John Slattery as Roger Sterling in Mad Men
  31. Gabriel Byrne as Dr Paul Weston in In Treatment
  32. Michael C Hall as Dexter Morgan in Dexter
  33. Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock
  34. Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot
  35. Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified
  36. Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in Veep
  37. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things
  38. Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings in The Americans
  39. Andre Braugher as Ray Holt in Brooklyn Nine Nine
  40. Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom
  41. Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland
  42. Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul
  43. Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire
  44. Connie Britton as Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights
  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

12 Comments

  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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