These shows might not have pulled weekly numbers compared to ‘Empire’ or ‘Scandal’, but their acting talents proved to be far superior (see 2014 list here).
10. Nacho Varga/Michael Mando (Better Call Saul)
Fresh off a stellar appearance as a semi-villain on BBC’s ‘Orphan Black’, Michael Mando received a starring role on prequel series ‘Better Call Saul’. Portraying Tuco’s main henchman Nacho Varga, the Canadian actor won several awards for his latest acting endeavor.
9. Nomi Marks/Jamie Clayton (Sense8)
Jamie Clayton has become quite a role model for the LGBT community, as she’s become one of the most successful transgender actresses of our time. Her character on ‘Sense8’ Nomi Marks became a bit of a viral sensation with her riveting equality speech.
8. Felix Dawkins/Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black)
Canadian actor Jordan Gavaris’ incredibly believable British accent could’ve placed on the list separately, but that wouldn’t be fair to his many other talents. Especially on ‘Orphan Black’, Jordan’s portrayal of Felix Dawkins provided much needed comic relief to a tense third season.
7. Daryll Donovan/Pooch Hall (Ray Donovan)
‘The Game’ veteran Pooch Hall continues to shine and gain true mainstream exposure with his role on Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’. While the first two seasons saw Daryll deal with his family’s boxing history, the show’s third year saw his character deal with more real-life topics such as love, heartbreak, and revenge.
6. Merlin/Elliot Knight (Once Upon A Time)
ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ spent much of its fourth season building up to discovering the almighty Merlin from Disney folklore. British actor Elliot Knight stepped up to the plate as the first Black reincarnation of the role, and was met with universal acclaim once his character was killed off in the middle of ‘Once’ season five.
5. Milus Corbett/Stephen Moyer (The Bastard Executioner)
‘True Blood’ alumni Stephen Moyer was the best casting choice for Kurt Sutter’s ‘The Bastard Executioner’ by a longshot. Moyer portrayed Chamberlain Milus Corbett – who was just as immoral as Bill Compton – and won my heart from his very first scene.
4. Sally Rayburn/Sissy Spacek (Bloodline)
Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek’s inclusion on Netflix’s ‘Bloodline’ was a pleasant surprise from a veteran actress on a newly established television show. Spacek portrays the matriarch Sally Rayburn, who is affected by their family’s hidden secrets in ways you wouldn’t expect.
3. Hypodermic Sally/Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Hotel)
There’s no denying that Sarah Paulson is an incredible actress who makes the ‘American Horror Story’ franchise enjoyable each year. But her role as Hypodermic Sally on the show’s fifth installment is definitely her most riveting portrayal to date.
2. Victoria Smurfit/Cruella De Vil (Once Upon A Time)
The award for the best television character transformation of 2015 goes to the ‘Once Upon A Time’ version of Cruella De Vil. Portrayed by renowned Irish actress Victoria Smurfit, the ‘Once’ Cruella had the most epic twist of all fairytale characters covered on the show of all time.
1. Erika Murphy/Regina King (The Leftovers)
Regina King had a breakout year winning the Emmy for her role on ‘American Crime’, but her role on the second (reboot) season of ‘The Leftovers’ is even more award-worthy. King plays Erika Murphy, who struggles with being deaf while mourning the disappearance of her daughter Evie. The role finds her diversifying a cast that has been primarily White since the show’s inception, proving that there is plenty of room for strong Black actors and actresses to shake things up on premium cable.