A character is only as good as the actor/actress who breathes life into them. The actor or actress who puts their blood, sweat, and tears into ensuring that we’re able to understand the deeper nuances, which make the character special. And these 10 performers weren’t difficult to single out this year as they made each of their characters unbelievably relatable, complex, and beautifully evocative.
(A special PSA, you will not see any performers, specifically Elizabeth Moss from The Handmaid’s Tale on this list because while I thought she was unbelievable, and definitely one of the strongest of the year, I couldn’t finish the show to properly write for it. And it’s because of the groundbreaking performances on that show that makes The Handmaid’s Tale too difficult for me personally to stomach. It makes it too real.) But do not fret, Heather over at TV Examined had a lot of amazing things to say.
Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there. Essentially, they deserved their own special tribute.
The roaring 20’s — the smell of adventure?
Episode Summary | Time in History: Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Charles Lindergh. Timeless knows what it’s doing with these guest stars — Brandan Barash, Tiffany Daniels, and Jesse Luken were outstanding. That said, in “The Lost Generation”, our heroes took a trip to the May 21, 1927: Paris, France once again following Flynn on his quest to destroy Rittenhouse. Only Wyatt was still in detention and replaced by Bam Bam — he tragically doesn’t make it back from the past though. (This is why we break the rules, buddy!) Agent Christopher is replaced and the team, now officially reunited with Wyatt, go rogue in order to fight Rittenhouse? Can we call them Rogue Four? No? Okay, that’s cool.
Timeless’ play on fate vs. free will has become the most enthralling part of the series layering the characters beautifully in ways only such a theme could. If Lucy comes from a long line of ancestors who were a part of Rittenhouse, does that mean she needs to join it? Is it truly her fate or could she make the choice to rewrite her supposed future? And in exploring this concept, the series ties each of the characters together in ways that feel incredibly organic. In Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms he states that, “the world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” And right now, our Time Team is at that broken place — stronger than they’ve ever been, but concurrently destroyed.
The 80s was best for music, but I don’t think I’m down with the fashion.
Episode Summary | Time in History: The 80s — the good ol’ days. The time where people didn’t want to be forgotten. They wanted their finest hours celebrated. The time where they wanted to bless the rains in Africa. But the real question is, is Will Byers missing at this time or no? Oh, wait, wrong show. It’s easy to confuse two really great shows isn’t it? On a more serious note, this week’s Timeless didn’t actually take us back to a significant point in our history, but rather Wyatt’s — more so Jessica’s, but the point is clear. Thankfully, this week Wyatt didn’t have murder on his mind, but rather a Back to the Future reversal. And one I can actually agree with: stop a one night stand in order to prevent a serial killer’s birth.
However, as we all know, things are never that easy, and as much as Wyatt’s plan was practical, it’s safe to assume that a lot of us knew it wouldn’t bring Jessica back. Nevertheless the showcase of teamwork has been superlative. And if all falls apart from this moment on at least we know that the A-Team Time Team will always have each other’s backs. Also, hopefully the lesson has been learned, and the team won’t travel without Lucy anymore.
And this is an example of a remarkable winter premiere.
Time in History (Episode Summary): After Flynn took Lucy captive at the end of “The Capture of Benedict Arnold”, Wyatt and Rufus set out to bring her home. Still filled with the desire to erase Rittenhouse from existence, Flynn takes them to the time where Harry Houdini was just getting started — Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. An undercover H.H. Holmes sets a thick, oxygen-eliminating trap for Wyatt and Rufus. There’s a reunion. There’s a happy conversation. There’s a victory. But in the end we’re left with what can change the course of a character’s life forever.
Welcome to the very first installment of our Timeless reviews. We just couldn’t stay away from this show. (I tried, I really did.) Here’s how these will work, each week I’ll be choosing a performer and a moment. Some weeks, like this week, each actor will get their time. They’re too good, and essentially why I want to write about Timeless — Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy are special. And “The World’s Columbian Exposition” was yet another wonderful showcase of the fact that this team is in it for the long haul. Together, they’ve built something more exquisite than a time machine, and no matter how ugly it gets, they’ll always come home to each other.
“Fear isn’t actually happening. It’s just your reaction to it.”
The reason each member of the Time Team deserves their own segment this week is due to how poignantly fear attempted to puppet-master their lives. And in overcoming it, it wasn’t entirely absent, but rather their choices to react differently towards it paved the road towards their mission’s victory. No matter how temporary, for a moment, everything will be alright.
Rectify truly is the best show no one is watching. And how strange is that concept? We’re not the first to say it, and we certainly won’t be the last. It is remarkable in its entirety but its final season alone deserves endless praise. It’s a series that demands its audience to feel for its characters, and it does so in seemingly effortless ways. By the time I was done with the entire series, I knew it would require its very own segment for Year-End Reviews. Rectify’s cast need Emmys and Ray McKinnon’s poignantly methodic storytelling has been nothing short of exquisite. Rectify didn’t end in “and they lived happily ever after”, but it ended with the kind of hopeful poetry that fills the human mind with profound gratitude. Gratitude for what we’re blessed with and the mysterious ways God works for us. Gratitude for those around us and gratitude for what we find when life throws its curve balls at us.
That said, I knew that if I gave Rectify the chance to, it’d land the number one spot in all our Year-End reviews and for that reason, we decided to give it its own article. To bid farewell in the best way we know how to.