While we love it when beloved stars get cast in new shows, we're just excited when we discover new favorites. This past year we've gotten some wonderful surprises thanks to the actors and personalities that were never regulars on a TV series before, but are now big stars - at least in our minds. In fact, we really can't believe that until 2009 we didn't even know that the majority of these people even existed. How did we survive?
10. Ellie Kemper (The Office)
The show hasn't been quite as wonderful as it was in the first few of seasons, but one thing's for sure: we adore Dunder-Mifflin's newest receptionist. Erin takes some major abuse from the staff for not being Pam, had to change her name since there was already another Kelly, has to cope with Andy's hardcore crush and has shown off her awesome dance moves on more than one occasion. Can we get more scenes with her and the other Kelly in the New Year, please?
9. Molly C. Quinn (Castle)
We tuned in for Nathan Fillion and were initially unimpressed by his dry cop partner, played by Stana Katic, though she is finally starting to grow on us all these months later. But the one thing we've loved since the beginning is Castle's relationship with his teen daughter Alexis, played by delightful newcomer Quinn, who's smart, funny and one of the few teenagers on the planet we actually want to spend more time with.
8. Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family)
The entire ensemble of Modern Family is fabulous, but we've seen most of the main players before in a variety of different roles, big and small -- with the exception of Rodriguez, who has really just done one-episode guest spots on shows. It's about time that this pint-sized comedian got a place to showcase his awesome talent.
7. Li'l Russell (Survivor)
Love him or hate him, Li'l Russell has made Samoa more interesting by stirring up trouble at every possible turn and sticking around despite all odds (though it helps that the people he's competing against have apparently never watched the show). He might be a jerk, but we'll certainly remember him for seasons to come, unlike some of the winners and losers from recent installments.
6. Danny Pudi (Community
Pudi's character Abed might be the best thing about Community. His dry delivery of movie lines paired with his wonderful range of facial expressions is the most consistently entertaining thing this show has to offer (followed closely by the nutty Spanish teacher played by Ken Jeong). Is it wrong that we dream of a show that teams up Pudi with Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory and makes them roommates?
5. Teresa (Real Housewives of New Jersey)
Seriously, can you even remember a time where the words "prostitution" and "whore" were considered separate things? Thanks to this classy lady, those terms now go together like peanut butter and jelly -- and are even better when accompanied by a table flip. She might have annoyed us with her constant "bubbies" talk, but if she can get that
drunk angry and coin some other fabulous phrases, we'll gladly keep watching.
4. Mike "The Situation" (Jersey Shore)
We've only gotten to know "The Situation" for a few episodes, but boy, do we already love this crazy guy. He's so insanely confident that he can introduce himself to women and immediately get them to purchase shirts and underwear with his name on them. Who does that? The Situation, that's who.
3. Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse)
Dollhouse has had its ups and downs this year, but the best thing to come out of this short-lived series is that we learned the name Enver Gjokaj (well, we learned to spell it, anyway). If you didn't see the episode where this living doll pretended to be a party girl or the one where he did a dead-on impression of the often annoying Topher, go watch them now. Seriously, fast-forward to his scenes if you have to. You'll thank us for it.
2. Chris Colfer (Glee)
There is plenty of awesome new talent being showcased on Glee (I mean, really, how does Amber Riley not have a recording contract?) each week, but we're completely smitten with the adorable Kurt in particular. After all, he's able to work a super stylish wardrobe while taking a Slushie in the face. And it takes a pretty confident actor to not only sing, but to choke on a high note on purpose.
1. Adam Lambert (American Idol)
It seems like we've been gaga for Adam Lambert much longer than a year, but his wild stint on Idol only happened last spring. What a whirlwind adventure it's been seeing him break the mold with his performance of "Mad World," raise some eyebrows with "Ring of Fire," graciously lose the Idol title and then continue to stir up trouble by scaring network censors at the AMAs. Can't wait to see what he does in 2010.
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