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Updated on Jul 26, 2020. Posted on Nov 7, 2019

43 TV Performances That Were Criminally Underrated During The 2010s

From Annie Murphy as Alexis Rose to Tom Ellis as Lucifer and everything in between.

1. Annie Murphy as Alexis Rose on Schitt's Creek.

CBC / Pop

While every member of the Rose family is iconic, Annie Murphy has done something remarkable with her portrayal of Alexis Rose. Annie's ability to take Alexis from a spoiled socialite to someone who puts other people's needs above her own has been a joy to watch. Basically, if Annie doesn't become a household name during the next decade, we've all failed.

Memorable episode: "Singles Week"

2. Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby on Peaky Blinders.

Netflix

During the 2010s, I have been in awe of Cillian Murphy's Thomas Shelby. Cillian's performance is nothing short of award-worthy, as he has shown us the incredible range of emotions he can achieve as Thomas. He is a force to be reckoned with, and if you aren't watching this show, you're missing out on an incredibly special TV performance.

Memorable episode: "Season 2, Episode 6"

3. Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson on This Is Us.

NBC

Standing out in a giant and amazing TV ensemble is no easy task, but Susan Kelechi Watson has managed to do just that on This Is Us. During the 2010s, Susan made Beth one of my favorite members of the Pearson family. Not only are her scenes alone incredible, but alongside Sterling K. Brown, she proves to be unstoppable.

Memorable episode: "Our Little Island Girl"

4. Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez on One Day At A Time.

Netflix

There aren't enough words to praise the talented assembled on One Day At A Time and that includes Justina Machado's work as Penelope Alvarez. Not only does she play a strong matriarch, but her portrayals of having depression, anxiety, and PTSD are raw and genuine. Justina's performance on ODAAT will stick with me and I'm so happy we get to see more of it in the next decade.

Memorable episode: "Hello, Penelope"

5. Tom Ellis and Lauren German as Lucifer and Chloe Decker on Lucifer.

Netflix

Tom Ellis and Lauren German gave us one of our favorite TV couples during the decade. While Tom made us literally fall in the love with the devil, Lauren gave us a complex female character that I loved watching. Tom and Lauren not only delivered powerful performances separately, but together they created something truly magical.

Memorable episode: "Who's da New King of Hell?"

6. Danielle Brooks as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black.

Netflix

Out of everyone on Orange Is the New Black, it's a crime that Danielle Brooks was never nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as Taystee. During the entirety of OITNB, Danielle poured her heart into the character as she contributed to some of the show's most memorable moments, especially after Poussey's death. It was a privilege to watch her become a huge star during the 2010s.

Memorable episode: "The Animals" / "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again"

7. Noah Schnapp as Will Byers on Stranger Things.

Netflix

Stranger Things was a powerhouse TV series during the decade and Noah Schnapp was arguably the most underrated member of the ensemble. During Season 2, Noah memorably showcased Will's struggle with the Mind Flayer's control, and it was a remarkable performance by such a talented young actor.

Memorable episode: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"

8. Jaime Camil as Rogelio De La Vega on Jane the Virgin.

The CW

During the entirety of Jane the Virgin, Jaime Camil was the hilarious heart and soul as Rogelio De La Vega. Very few characters made me laugh hysterically and then cry all in the same scene, but Jaime managed to do just that as Rogelio. I already miss seeing Rogelio on my TV every single week.

Memorable episode: "Chapter Thirty-Three"

9. D'Arcy Carden as Janet on The Good Place.

NBC

"Janet(s)" was easily one of the best episodes of TV during the 2010s, and it's thanks to D'Arcy Carden. D'Arcy's comedic timing and ability to play Janet as Eleanor, Tahani, and Jason, are just some of the reasons why she was one of the best performers of the 2010s. Honestly, D'Arcy not getting an Emmy Award nomination for "Janet(s)" was one of the biggest snubs during the decade.

Memorable episode: "Janet(s)"

10. Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

NBC

Brooklyn Nine-Nine not only has an incredible ensemble of comedic actors, but the show's ability to give us dramatic performances that explore singular characters is remarkable. Stephanie Beatriz brought her real life experience to Rosa Diaz in the best way possible. I loved watching Rosa's journey as a detective, but also her coming out story.

Memorable episode: "Game Night"

11. Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret on The Crown.

Netflix

Alongside Claire Foy's Queen Elizabeth II, Vanessa Kirby brilliantly brought Princess Margaret to life on The Crown. Vanessa's ability to completely captivate the audience with a monologue or even a single sentence was one of the many reasons she was one of my favorite actors during the 2010s.

Memorable episode: "Matrimonium"

12. Victoria Pedretti as Nell Crain on The Haunting of Hill House.

Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House was one of the best new shows of the decade, and it's largely thanks to Victoria Pedretti's work as Nell Crain. Victoria gave viewers a complex and heartbreaking performance during "The Bent-Neck Lady" and "Two Storms" as we watched Nell's final moments and the impact her life had on every other character. I can't wait to enjoy Victoria's rise as a TV superstar during the 2020s.

Memorable episode: "The Bent-Neck Lady"

13. Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir on Community.

NBC

Community was an incredibly underrated series and Danny Pudi's work as Abed was a performance that should not have gone unnoticed. His ability to be the dry sense of humor in a series filled with comedy powerhouses was astounding and I loved watching him week after week.

Memorable episode: "Remedial Chaos Theory"

14. Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil on Daredevil.

Netflix

Charlie Cox perfectly embodied Matt Murdock/Daredevil during the 2010s and it was a thrill to watch him bring this iconic Marvel character to life. Not only did he masterfully execute Daredevil's memorable fighting style, but the heart he was able to put into Matt's relationships with other characters was incredible.

Memorable episode: "Daredevil"

15. Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp on Wynonna Earp.

SYFY

In a show filled with demons, it's was the incredibly human and emotional moments that made Wynonna Earp soar. Melanie Scrofano gave us a leading lady who wasn't afraid to be vulnerable, badass, and witty. During Season 2, Melanie's real life pregnancy was written into the series and Melanie literally kicked ass while giving us a beautiful, emotional, and important season of TV, proving that women really can have it all.

Memorable episodes: "I Hope You Dance"

16. Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights.

NBC

Friday Night Lights aired its final two seasons during this decade and Zach Gilford's work in the Season 4 episode "The Son" is a performance that has stuck with me. His ability to showcase Matt's grief as a son that didn't really grow up with his father was incredibly poignant and sincere. Zach gave the character of Matt even more depth during his final episodes and I loved watching it.

Memorable episode: "The Son"

17. Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman on Parenthood.

NBC

While I seemed to cry week after week while watching Parenthood, nothing made me sob harder than Monica Potter's portrayal of Kristina's battle with breast cancer during Season 4. Her heartbreaking performance was one of the most memorable Parenthood storylines, and I'm still surprised she didn't received an Emmy nomination for it.

Memorable episode: "What to My Wondering Eyes"

18. Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant on Scandal.

ABC

Bellamy Young took Mellie Grant from a character that was only supposed to be in three episodes to one of the most iconic TV characters of the decade. Bellamy's ability to blend comedy and drama into a compelling character was a joy to watch.

Memorable episode: "Everything's Coming Up Mellie"

19. Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson on The Magicians.

SYFY

Another character that underwent an amazing character arc during the decade, Margo Hanson went from a student to a literal King. Summer Bishil perfectly executed Margo's journey as she created one of my favorite characters. Summer brought Margo to both high and low places during The Magicians' first four seasons and I can't wait to see what she does with Margo next.

Memorable episode: "All That Hard, Glossy Armor"

20. Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy.

ABC

Truthfully, I don't think Ellen Pompeo got enough credit for what she was able to accomplish as Meredith Grey during the 2010s, in particular after the departure of Patrick Dempsey. Ellen proved that Meredith could be a leading character without the help of a love interest, and I've loved standing by her for all of these years. Also, it's incredible that one of her finest performance came 12 years into the show's run.

Memorable episode: "The Sound of Silence"

21. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen as Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter on Hannibal.

NBC

It's rare to have two characters be so intertwined that it's hard to separate the actors' performances, but that's what happened on Hannibal. A tragically short-lived series, the story truly rested on the chemistry between Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. Not only were their performances astounding individually, but together they created two of the best characters on TV during the 2010s.

Memorable episode: "Mizumono"

22. Niecy Nash as Desna Simms on Claws.

TNT

The vast range of emotions that Niecy Nash has been able to achieve with Desna Simms on Claws is something I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Not only does Niecy bring incredible strength to Desna, but the vulnerable moments opposite Harold Perrineau's Dean showcase how amazing she truly is. I hope that the next decade brings even more incredible performances from Niecy.

Memorable episode: "Avalanche"

23. Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on Arrow.

The CW

Arrow helped usher in a resurgence of superhero TV during the 2010s, and it's largely thanks to Stephen Amell's commitment to the DCTV universe. Stephen had several shining moments during the show's eight seasons, but Season 2 remains Stephen's and the show's finest.

Memorable episode: "Unthinkable"

24. Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula Proctor on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

The CW

One of the most most impressive things Donna Lynne Champlin was able to achieve was her ability to be both the comedic relief and the voice of reason on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Her storylines went from scheming with Rebecca to win back Josh, to a very touching and emotional episode about abortion. Donna showed not only her acting range, but also her incredibly vocal range on the show and we loved it.

Memorable episode: "When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?"

25. Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead.

AMC

The Walking Dead was a massive show during the decade and I didn't realize how big of a role Steven Yeun played in its success until Glenn was sadly gone. While fighting hoards of zombies was always fun to watch, the deeply human and heartfelt moments Steven was able to portray was one of the reasons the show was so compelling.

Memorable episode: "Made to Suffer"

26. Jason Genao as Ruby Martinez on On My Block.

Netflix

On My Block was one of the most underrated Netflix shows of the 2010s and Jason Genao's work as Ruby was exceptional. Not only was Jason amazing during comedic moments, but he showcased Ruby's PTSD in a heartbreaking and honest way.

Memorable episode: "Chapter Eleven"

27. Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effoing on Sex Education.

Netflix

Ncuti Gatwa's Eric was one of my favorite new characters during the late 2010s. It became clear that Season 2 of Sex Education was only the beginning for Ncuti's rise to TV stardom. That really showed during Episode 5, when Eric was dressed as Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch and had to deal with a world that didn't accept him for who he truly was.

Memorable episode: "Season 1, Episode 5"

28. Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder on Glow.

Netflix

Glow made me fall in love with wrestling during the 2010s and part of it is thanks to Alison Brie's work as Ruth. Alison proved that she can do physical comedy, but also she brilliantly incorporated heartfelt moments into Ruth's character. Basically, I'm already dreading having to say goodbye Ruth during the decade.

Memorable episode: "Live Studio Audience"

29. Lauren Ash as Dina on Superstore.

NBC

Superstore was one of my favorite TV comedies during the decade, and Lauren Ash's performance as Dina was one of the many reasons I loved it so much. It's not easy to pull off a hilarious dry sense of humor, but Lauren does it and it's incredibly funny to watch. I can't wait to watch Superstore and Lauren continue to grow during the next decade.

Memorable episode: "Tornado"

30. Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski on Chuck.

NBC

While Chuck only aired two seasons during this decade, Zachary Levi's role as Chuck was amazing until the very end. I couldn't help but fall in love Zachary's portrayal of this adorably nerdy spy. Honestly, check out Chuck; it was truly made for the age of binge-watching.

Memorable episode: "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger"

31. Eliza Taylor as Clarke Griffin on The 100.

The CW

Eliza Taylor's ability to lead a show like The 100 is something that can't go unnoticed. Her work as Clarke Griffin has only gotten better with age as she proves time and time again that she's one of the most underrated CW actors. I've loved every second I got to spend with Clarke during the 2010s.

Memorable episode: "Blood Must Have Blood (Part 2)"

32. Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander.

Starz

Sam Heughan became one of my favorite leading men during the 2010s as he brought Jaime Fraser from the page to the screen. Sam's work as Jamie has been impressive during every season, but I'm still in awe of what he was able to accomplish during the final two episodes of Season 1 when Jamie was in Wentworth Prison. With Outlander being his first major role, I'm excited to follow him into the next decade.

Memorable episode: "Wentworth Prison"

33. Marque Richardson as Reggie Green on Dear White People.

Netflix

Dear White People was an underrated series, but also one of the most important ones. Marque Richardson's work as Reggie Green was genuine and honest as he showcased what it's like being a young black man in today's society. His performance was one of the most memorable during the 2010s for a number of reasons, but his work in "Chapter V" was nothing short of extraordinary.

Memorable episode: "Chapter V"

34. Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston on Timeless.

NBC

Timeless was another incredible, but underrated TV series that made an impact during the decade. Abigail Spencer gifted us with a character that was not only intelligent, but was also unapologetically herself. Viewers were privileged to follow Lucy through time week after week, and Abigail was a large reason as to why we all loved it so much.

Memorable episode: "Chinatown"

35. Aisling Bea as Aine on This Way Up.

Hulu

In a decade where Fleabag and Phoebe Waller-Bridge ruled comedy, Aisling Bea's This Way Up proved to be a worthy successor. Aisling's ability to turn Aine's struggles into incredible comedy was just one of the many reasons she became a comedian I'm excited to watch during the next decade and beyond.

Memorable episode: "Season 1, Episode 2"

36. David Tennant and Michael Sheen as Crowley and Aziraphale on Good Omens.

Amazon Prime

Another memorable duo during the decade, David Tennant and Michael Sheen were absolutely perfect together as Crowley and Aziraphale. Their natural chemistry as actors easily translated to these two characters who couldn't have been more different, but somehow they worked together seamlessly.

Memorable episode: "Hard Times"

37. Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden as Jules Thomas and Ophelia Mayer on Sweet/Vicious.

MTV

Sweet/Vicious was an important and socially relevant series. The show hinged upon the chemistry between Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden as Jules and Ophelia. While the show was short-lived, Eliza and Taylor's performances stuck with me. They were able to create hysterical moments, but also they beautifully showcased the trauma each of their characters had gone through.

Memorable episode: "Heartbreaker"

38. Nicola Coughlan as Clare on Derry Girls.

Netflix

Nicola Coughlan was definitely one of the actors that made me laugh the hardest this decade. Her work as Clare in Derry Girls is a masterclass in how to make a character nerdy, funny, and unapologetically themselves. While Season 1 featured an incredible character arc for Clare, Season 2 let Nicola truly shine, and she's become one of the actors I'll be keeping an eye on during the 2020s.

Memorable episode: "Season 1, Episode 6"

39. Brandon Flynn as Justin Foley on 13 Reasons Why.

Netflix

13 Reasons Why had its ups and down during the decade, but one of the biggest surprises was Justin Foley's character arc. One of the few characters on the show that was genuinely remorseful for past mistakes, Brandon Flynn was able to mold Justin into a heartbreaking character worth taking notice of.

Memorable episode: "The Box of Polaroids"

40. Emmy Rossum as Fiona Gallagher on Shameless.

Showtime

Shameless definitely relied on the strength of the ensemble, but Emmy Rossum's performance as Fiona Gallagher remained one of the brightest spots. Her ability to take Fiona to some incredibly dark places was incredible to watch and remained in awe of her until her very last episode.

Memorable episode: "Familia Supra Gallegorious Omnia!"

41. Keir Gilchrist as Sam Gardner on Atypical.

Netflix

A criminally underrated Netflix series, Atypical does an amazing job at blending together teen, adult, and family problems into a brilliant series. Keir Gilchrist's work as Sam is consistently amazing and alongside the entire ensemble, it's a performance that deserves more recognition.

42. Aidy Bryant as Annie Easton on Shrill.

Hulu

Aidy Bryant's Annie was one of my personal favorite characters from 2019. Aidy continued to prove that she's one of the best comedians in recent years, but what surprised me about Shrill was her dramatic moments. It was definitely a performance worth watching.

43. And finally, Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty and Hot Priest on Sherlock and Fleabag.

BBC / Amazon Prime

Andrew Scott achieved the impossible during the 2010s by giving audiences two performances that were absolutely brilliant with two characters that were completely different from one another. Whether he was toying with Sherlock as Moriarty or seducing Fleabag, Andrew showed his incredible range and talent during the decade. I can only hope that the 2020s gift us with other memorable performances from him.

Memorable episodes: "The Reichenbach Fall" from Sherlock and "Season 2, Episode 6" from Fleabag

What were your favorite underrated TV performances of the last decade? Tell us in the comments!