Despite the mixed (to be put it mildly) quality of this fall's TV offerings, we can at least unabashedly be grateful for the opportunities provided to a handful of actors and personalities who had never been on our radar before this season. Some of them were previously getting by with guest gigs on Law & Order and the like, while others were apparently biding their time before unleashing their unique brand of crazy. But wherever they came from, we're just glad they're here for us now.
10. Jon Michael Hill (Detroit 1-8-7)
He's playing the newbie partner to Michael Imperioli's no-nonsense homicide detective, but what makes Hill a valuable player on this underrated ensemble drama is his ability to provide comic relief without being obnoxious. An ongoing gag about his cellphone, his frustrated expressions when his partner pranks him and his inability to cope well with dead bodies all really bring this character to life.
9. Jason Mantzoukas (The League)
El Cuñado may not be in the league anymore, but he'll always be in our hearts, just crapping out the booze, murdering drunk football players, stealing his friends' drinks and getting sodomized by Rob Huebel forever and ever. We hope Mantzoukas works a whole lot more in the future, but we really extra-super-special hope he just stays El Cuñado for every episode of the rest of The League's lifespan.
8. Seth Caro (Top Chef: Just Desserts)
This pastry chef packs ten pounds of crazy into a 12-oz. cup. We had no idea that this neurotic guy was going to go fully off of the deep end during the competition. From constant temper tantrums to basically crying for his mommy, he really lost it and had such a final meltdown that producers had to give some backstage insight so we could see his final freak out over ice cream and paper cups.
7. Lucas Neff (Raising Hope)
We've been surprised by how much we like this show, and though that's got a lot to do with Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton, Neff is the show's lead and a big part of why it's so enjoyable to watch. The guy's adorable, he draws giant eagles like a pro and he's managed to stop throwing up on the baby. What's not to like?
6. Mondo Guerra (Project Runway)
When we first saw Mondo in his short pants and suspenders, we wanted to write him off immediately. But not only is he one of the best designers on the show, he's also the one who brought us to tears with the revelation that he is HIV positive, has been for years, and has been afraid to tell his parents. Sniff. We went through a box of tissues, and we'd be proud to see him win.
5. David Johnson (The Apprentice)
We far prefer the celebrity editions of this show, but if we have to watch regular folks who are out of work and looking for jobs, we'd rather have more of them be like the high-strung David. He is constantly hyped up, always ready for a fight or an excuse to get out of work (we're not buying the tooth issues, or that it wasn't his fault he got removed from a task) and loves to talk about his many, many children. We wouldn't want to be around him, but we can't take our eyes off him... like an unemployed creature in the zoo.
4. Zosia Mamet (Mad Men/Parenthood)
We're not enamored of her high school character on Parenthood... in fact it's weird to watch her in two such contrary roles. But hey, work's work, and she's a talented young actress either way. We just can't help it that we love her better when she's playing Peggy's awesome lesbian friend Joyce on Mad Men. Save us a stool at P.J. Clarke's, okay?
3. Carter MacIntyre (Undercovers)
There are a lot of fresh faces on Undercovers, but our favorite is definitely MacIntyre. His Leo is arguably the best thing about the spy show, as he's the ex of Mrs. Bloom, the former partner of Mr. Bloom and has a tendency to pop up unexpectedly in the most unexpected places and guises. And unlike the sycophantic Hoyt, we're always left wanting more from Leo each week.
2. Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced)
Don't get us wrong: we still don't really care for this sitcom. However, the one great thing about it is that we got to meet Parvesh Cheena, who plays the amusing Gupta. He has a knack for even making the most ridiculous, racist material seem funny. That's a true talent. He deserves a much better show.
1. Kody Brown (Sister Wives)
He's totally creepy and we're freaked out by him, but he certainly makes for fascinating television. We're not sure how this power-tripping patriarch managed to get four women to marry him and bear his many, many offspring. We're also not sure how he can afford sports cars with the amount of mouths he has to feed. But, somehow, this balding lunatic makes it all work. We just hope he can avoid jail time so we can enjoy a second season.
Watch what TWoP's editors had to say about fall TV's best new faces in this segment airing on the New York Nonstop news channel:
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