As Entourage continues its downhill slide there are two bright spots that keep us watching: Jeremy Pivens masterful and much discussed Ari Gold, and the equally intense, though slightly more subtle performance by Rex Lee who plays Lloyd, Golds gay, Asian assistant. With his sole client, Johnny Drama, becoming a TV star, were hoping to see Lloyd show his fangs and not just pout (though he does that wonderfully). (HBO)
American Idol finalist Gina Glocksen is a mall rocker chick with a heart of gold. She couldnt sing like Melinda or dance like Blake, and she didnt have Sanjayas media presence, but when she got kicked off the show before Haley Scarnato and Phil Stacey, at least some corners of Idol nation went into shock, and then mourning. (Michael Becker / AP)
Becki Newton and Michael Urie play the two most stylized characters on Ugly Betty -- an already styled-out show. Her Amanda Tanen is the sexy queen of the archly raised eyebrow; his Marc St. James is a flourisher of handkerchiefs and bitchy gayisms. Hes donned a couture gown, she once had to stand on a toilet in heels, squeezed into a silver silicone dress, just to pee. Theyre a lot, but too much? Never! (ABC)
In the final episodes of its third season Lost became compelling viewing again. Having an established finishing date helped, but more importantly, it was the eerily creepy performance by Michael Emerson who plays series villain Ben, the cold, manipulative leader of The Others. So far hes posed as a guy from Kansas,” been tortured, got threatened by John Locke (who he in turn shot), and now, as relayed by the finale, may possibly be a good guy! (ABC)
Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan helped make 30 Rock the funniest new show on television, but the real breakout star is comedian Jack McBrayer who plays the naïve and hilariously earnest Midwestern page Kenneth. Hes pretty much the weirdest straight man ever. (NBC)
It took us a while to warm up to Ed Helms, who plays Andy Bernard on The Office. When we first met him in the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin he just seemed obnoxious. But when he got to Scranton the obnoxiousness bloomed into something beyond obnoxious. Genius obnoxious. (NBC Universal)
Kyle Chandler has garnered a ton of critical attention for his performance as Eric Taylor, on Friday Night Lights, but fans of the show have equal respect for Connie Britton, who plays his wife Tami. When the show started, you thought she was just going to be another put-upon, long-suffering wife. But then she became the guidance counselor at school and a rock for all. (NBC Universal)
Of all the heartbreak caused by the adolescents introduced in the fourth season of “The Wire,” it was society’s failing of budding entrepreneur and foster child Randy Wagstaff that hurt the most. Maestro Harrell played Wagstaff with a mix of natural charm and genuine hurt that is far too rare in child actors. (HBO)
From his accent to his transition from an idealist/family man to a deal making compromised, embittered realist, Australian Jason Clarke is incredibly believable as Rhode Island politician Tommy Caffee on Brotherhood. His almost ridiculous good looks serve only his role as a politician, the rest of the time its disillusion, and shrewdness that dominate his face. (Showtime)
As the 2006-2007 television season came to a close this week and as the Emmys loom, we take a look at the television characters who quietly charmed us this year without ever quite achieving cult status. These are the side characters who make a show sparkle, but don’t land on the cover of TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly: TV’s unsung heroes.
We asked critics and friends in and out of the LA Times to tell us which side character gives their favorite TV shows that extra dose of hilarity, or heart, or in some cases, darkness.