Breakthrough TV Performances

Netflix; CBS; NBC

A lot of TV these days is perfectly forgettable. Same for most of the performances on said forgettable TV shows. That's to be expected when upwards of 400+ original scripted shows are made every year.

But just as some truly exceptional shows manage to cut through the noise and grab our attention (you can see our picks for the year's 15 best right here), there are also those performances that manage to make us sit up, set down our phones and simply watch. These performances transcend network, genre, gender, race and age. They're the performances that turn a complete unknown into an overnight sensation or finally give an industry vet their due. They're defined by one simple characteristic: They fantastic.

Without further ado, E! News' TV Scoop Team proudly presents the 21 Breakthough TV Performances of 2017...

Susan Kelechi Watson, This Is Us

NBC

Cameron Britton, Mindhunter

Netflix

Lena Waithe, Master of None

Netflix

D'Arcy Carden, The Good Place

NBC

Niecy Nash, Claws

TNT

Trixie & Katya, The Trixie & Katya Show

Viceland

Meghann Fahy, The Bold Type

Freeform

Madelaine Petsch, Riverdale

The CW

Justina Machado, One Day at a Time

Netflix

The Handmaid's Tale, Alexis Bledel

Hulu

American Horror Story: Cult, AHS: Cult

FX

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor

ABC

Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things

Netflix

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amazon

Star Trek: Discovery, Sonequa Martin-Green

CBS

Dear White People

Netflix

13 Reasons Why

Netflix

Iain Armitage, Young Sheldon

CBS

Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Showtime

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Netflix

Justin Hartley, This Is Us

NBC

Did your favorite performance of the year make the cut? Sound off in the comments below!

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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