C.K. doesn’t always say much on his acclaimed comedy series, but he doesn’t have to. Whether he’s getting into legal trouble for (accidentally!) punching a one-night stand in the face or discussing his sex life around the poker table with friends, the comedian need only cock an eyebrow to get us giggling. And during the series’ quieter moments, C.K. portrays real life exactly as it is — a little weird and a little overwhelming, but always entertaining.
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
It’s hard not to root for an underdog like Leonard Hofstadter, and thanks to Galecki’s charming performance on The Big Bang Theory, we were cheering for that lovable physicist all season. After Leonard did some serious growing up on the CBS sitcom this year, we were happy to see him get the girl. Now, we’re hoping to see Galecki score an Emmy nod.
Chris Messina, The Mindy Project
His inability to figure out how to be in love with Mindy made us ache. His curmudgeonly attitude made us laugh. And the skill with which he pulled off that Aaliyah dance number/secret-Santa gift made us swoon. This season, Messina softened Danny Castellano’s gruff exterior just enough to totally sell the fact that Dr. C had fallen for Dr. L, making his season-finale declaration of love equal parts rom and com.
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
There was a time when Sheldon Cooper was nothing more than a condescending, arrogant know-it-all. Of course, he still is, but in The Big Bang Theory‘s seventh season, Parsons allowed us a closer look at the complicated man beneath the “Bazinga!” He’s still chock-full of sassy one-liners, but he’s also stubborn, anxious and, thanks to Parsons’ dynamite performance, completely fascinating.
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
Typically the show’s straight man, Scott still got plenty of laughs in Season 6 with his deadpan reaction shots (Lil Sebastian, again?) and by letting Ben’s geek flag fly (The Cones of Dunshire, anyone?). But it was Ben’s freak-out upon learning that he and Leslie were expecting triplets that truly exemplified why creator Mike Schur has dubbed Scott “a world class melter-downer.”
Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones
If you came into The Crazy Ones expecting Williams to do wacky voices and pull goofy faces, we can’t say you didn’t get your money’s worth. But Williams’ (unfortunately short-lived) return to the small screen brought more than just zany humor. He also managed to infuse ad man Simon Roberts with a kind heart, quick wit and a go-get-’em spirit that had us cheering for even his most half-baked campaigns.