2013 was a banner year for television, and also the various people who appeared on it. More and more movie actors are starting to pop up in this medium, knowing now thanks to shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” that there are some fantastic, meaty roles for them to tackle here. But even with the bigger movie stars coming over to TV, there are also those who still manage to come out of nowhere and surprise us. You may not have had any of the actors in our Breakout Star category of our Best of 2013 Series in your mind prior to January (or at least Christmas of last year in the case of one of them), but they’ve all become staples of TV in the past 12 months. Now, we don’t know what we would do without them.
Without any further introduction, let’s get to the nominees.
Megan Boone, “The Blacklist” – Basically the qualifications for Boone in this category are easy to identify. She is the star of the most-popular new show on TV, and very few people knew about her in the mainstream before the part of Elizabeth Keen came up. We can understand some saying that this is more James Spader’s show, but without someone effective in the Elizabeth part, this entire concept could have fallen flat.
Jenna Coleman, “Doctor Who” – Jenna had to replace Karen Gillan, and that is no easy task. You are talking about one of the most beloved companions of all time; but, Clara has found a way to become more than just “The Impossible Girl” to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. She is imaginative, encouraging, and has natural chemistry with her onscreen partner. That is what has made it so easy for some to ship the two characters together, even if there may be counter-arguments about who is really the right person for The Doctor.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones” – Typically, you find that an actor three years into a show breaks out before now, but with Coster-Waldau, he never got the same sort of opportunity as he did during season 3 of the HBO series. Part of the thanks should really go to Gwendoline Christie here, as his scenes with Brienne in the early part of season 3 were the stuff of legends. This took Jaime Lannister from an unlikable rich brat to a bizarrely-sympathetic warrior suffering under the weight of expectation.
Freddie Highmore, “Bates Motel” – You may remember Freddie from “Finding Neverland” years ago, but you probably forgot about him before “Bates Motel” came out. He is one of the reasons why we nominated this series in the Best New Show of 2013 category, since he plays one of the most iconic roles in cinematic history in Norman Bates with complete conviction. Plus, we’re completely terrified of him … which we really should be.
Alex Karpovsky, “Girls” – Similarly to Nikolaj, it wasn’t until this year that Karpovsky’s Ray really started to become worthy of a nomination here. His dog adventure with Adam was genius, and he easily has transformed this guy into someone that everyone knows. More so than Adam, he is the easiest “Girls” guy to relate to.
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” – There was no more infuriating moment than when the Emmys decided to snub Tatiana. We still don’t get it, since she really deserved to actually win the award over anyone who was actually nominated. For playing role after role after role, and carrying a show on her back, there are few words of praise we can give here that do her justice.
Tom Mison, “Sleepy Hollow” – We never would have imagined before “Sleepy Hollow” premiered that this was going to become such a TV addiction. We thought it was going to be some sort of cheesy Tim Burton wannabe hour. Instead, it’s thrilling, emotional, and even at times fun. Ichabod Crane is at the heart of that, and Tom plays him in a way that is instantly likable.
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex” – It feels in some ways bizarre to sit here and honor a man for “breaking out” who should have broken out years ago, but Sheen is one of those men who routinely gets to work in great films, but see someone else take most of the glory. Take, for example, “The Queen,” where much of it was about Helen Mirren. Even here, it wouldn’t surprise us if Lizzy Caplan took home an Emmy, and he went home empty-handed. He’s such a good actor at times that you tend to take him for granted.
As per always, we want to hear your thoughts in the poll below about your pick to win this award. The results for this (and other categories, which you can view here) will be unveiled on Friday, December 20.