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The 50 Most Interesting People on TV Right Now

TV’s been having a moment for a while now. From prestige dramas like Breaking Bad to genre-defying experiments like Orange Is the New Black, there’s a whole lot happening on the small screen — and it takes a whole lot of people to make that happen. Actors, showrunners, executives, and reality stars are the people who make your weekly (or, more likely, daily) binge-watching sessions possible, and with fall premiere season kicking into high gear this week, we’re about to see a whole lot more of them. With that in mind, Flavorwire rounded up our picks for faces to watch, handily organized in alphabetical order from W. Kamau Bell to Jessica Williams. Click through for a comprehensive list of what, or rather who, we’re paying attention to on TV in 2013.

bell

W. Kamau Bell

I’m not going to tell you to ditch Jon and Stephen, but W. Kamau Bell is currently the best political comedian on TV. He’s just as quick to call out the rest of the media on their stupidity as the hosts of The Daily Show and Colbert Report, but unlike either of them, he isn’t playing a fake news anchor. Bell is 100% being himself, and that makes him 100% great. — Jason Diamond

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Andre Braugher

The viral video-friendly name of Andy Samberg has, understandably, dominated the promotion for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the very funny new cop show created by Parks and Recreation’s Michael Schur and Dan Goor. But the show’s comic secret weapon is Mr. Braugher, a dynamite dramatic actor with a respectable résumé (including Glory and one of the great cop shows of all time, Homicide) who is proving remarkably adept at bone-dry comic playing. Hopefully Brooklyn will be around for a while — but even if not, Mr. Braugher may have just begun his Alec Baldwin-esque comic-character-actor second act.  — Jason Bailey

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Connie Britton

Are Q Scores for actors still a thing? If so, I would be very curious to see Connie Britton’s; at this point the woman could run over a field of cuddly bunnies with a monster truck spewing fuel emissions 300 times over the recommended rate and people would still love her. In the last two years, Britton has gone from playing the beloved Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights to a demon-spawning, knife-wielding wife on American Horror Story, finally landing on a role as country-music star Rayna James on ABC’s Nashville. With each role, Britton has eschewed soap opera style histrionics in favor of brilliantly nuanced performances and an earthiness that sets her apart from most major network actresses. — Lillian Ruiz

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Carrie Brownstein

While Fred Armisen is a total ham on Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein has remained subtly hilarious. There’s not too much differentiation between her characters — she usually plays some version of the straight man, even when she’s completely off-the-wall nuts. But her subdued, deadpan style of humor gives off the impression that her huge mainstream success on Portlandia is still just a moonlighting gig for her, and that sensibility is what keeps the show so fresh and hilarious. — Tyler Coates

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Anna Camp

Unlike others on this list, the appropriately named Anna Camp is far from subtle. A Hitchcock blonde with a flair for comedy, Camp is interesting more for what she could do than for what she already has done. As the psychotically deranged Sarah Newlin on True Blood, she’s shown a willingness to play a role to the hilt, and the possibilities for a player like that could be endless. We’re keeping an eye out for a career-making hosting gig on SNL or a smart slapstick comedy to put her in league with the Maya Rudolphs and Kristen Wiigs of the world. — Lillian Ruiz

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Peter Capaldi

Yes, he’s the new Doctor, but until he settles into that role, it’ll be hard to think of Capaldi as anyone but Malcolm Tucker, the gloriously foul-mouthed backroom head-kicker from Armando Iannuci’s genius UK political satire The Thick of It. Sadly, I fear that the BBC won’t be into Doctor #12 calling the TARDIS console “as useful as a marzipan dildo,” which is everyone’s loss, really. — Tom Hawking

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Louis CK

Several months into Louie‘s super-sized hiatus, TV comedy is in a place so dark we’re forced to celebrate such mediocre new sitcoms as Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (“Hey, at least it’s not Dads” seems to be the refrain.) If it seems unfair to compare CK’s show to anything else on television, well, that’s because the smartest, most depressingly self-aware comedian in America is doing the kind of daring, experimental work on a weekly basis that most funny people would kill to achieve once in their career. Like a Michael Jordan or a Shaun White, Louis CK has no peers; he operates on a distinctly higher level than everyone with whom he shares a profession. Here’s hoping we soon have some news about when we can expect him to resume blowing our minds. — Judy Berman

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Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is one of the standout actors on Orange Is the New Black, most likely because she is a transgender woman and plays a transgender character on the show. It’s true that her role and casting are rare enough on TV to be worth pointing out, her breakthrough performance has brought more awareness to the trans community, with focus especially on those marginalized within the criminal justice system. — Tyler Coates

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

What Peter Dinklage was to Game of Thrones’ second season, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was to its third. In the absence of textbook leading man Ned Stark, one of the show’s sprawling ensemble cast has to step up to the plate of audience-favorite morally ambiguous protagonist. An attempted child murder in an incestuous relationship, Jaime Lannister would have been an unlikely candidate for audience sympathies on any other show, but Coster-Waldau’s performance gave Jaime the nuance and charm he needed to win us over. If his monologue to Brienne about saving thousands of people only to be remembered as the Kingslayer isn’t Emmy material, I don’t know what is. — Alison Herman

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Bryan Cranston

On paper, Bryan Cranston is a little intimidating, considering the seven-time Emmy nominee (and three-time winner) plays the scariest man on TV right now. Do not be fooled by his amazing dramatic acting skills: Cranston is by far one of the goofiest men in the business. He’s not just an incredible actor — you really can’t ever tell what he’s going to do next. Cranston is up for any weird assignment you’ve got, and he’ll do it with the sincerest smile. He’ll come to your impromptu dance party! He’ll teach you to roller-skate! He’ll send a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house! Whether he’s making us smile or scream, few actors seem to have more genuine fun with their work than Cranston does, and it makes him one of the most irresistible personalities in Hollywood. — Sarah Fonder

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Peter Dinklage

Once we caught our collective breath after the now-infamous “Red Wedding” scene from the most recent season of Game of Thrones, we had hope that everything was going to be fine just because Peter Dinklage, the show’s heart and soul, was still A-OK . Even with a questionable fake English accent, Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is one of the best characters on all of television. — Jason Diamond

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Lena Dunham

No television show earns every bit of praise and criticism it receives in quite the same way Girls does. No one person on television has reaped the rewards or dealt with the problems of creating a big, Emmy-winning HBO show in quite the same way as Lena Dunham. Called everything from the voice of her generation to a “casual racist,” Dunham has turned herself into the face of everything you love and loathe about millennials, and created a wonderful television show along the way. — Jason Diamond

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Mark Duplass

For such a sweet-looking man, Mark Duplass does a phenomenal job of playing the entitled, jerky white guy. Whether it’s as Peter on The League or Brendan DeLaurier on The Mindy Project, Duplass makes a typically glorified archetype truly (and comically) loathsome. — Lillian Ruiz

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Megan Follows

Anne of Green Gables, c’mon! That one role was so iconic one imagines it’s been hard for her to get other work, which perhaps explains why she’s only now back on the small screen in a big way. It’s weird to see her all grown up and calculating and powerful on Reign, but also kind of delicious. And certainly better than the fate L.M. Montgomery had. — Michelle Dean

The Michael J. Fox Show

Michael J. Fox

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the genius behind Alex P. Keaton is still a television star: he played one of the medium’s greatest characters on the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, and would still be one of the biggest stars on TV had he not taken time off after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Thankfully, later this month, Fox returns to television with a show based on his experience living with the disease. The Michael J. Fox Show, which stars Fox as a Parkison’s-afflicted news anchor who decides to try and go back to work, has already garnered positive critical buzz. But no matter how the show does, it will represent the triumphant return of one of the most beloved actors of the last three decades. — Jason Diamond

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Megan Ganz

Ganz penned two of Community’s more tolerable Season 4 episodes, but (perhaps sensing a sinking ship beneath her) had sadly departed for Modern Family before Harmon’s return. That’s the show’s loss; she wrote some of its best episodes (including the “bottle episode” and the “documentary filmmaking” shows), her distinctive style — developed writing for The Onion and Demetri Martin’s Important Things — bolstering the show’s absurdist streak. She’ll be missed at Community, but hopefully she can give the rather stagnant Family a bit of a jolt. — Jason Bailey

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Vince Gilligan

Gilligan has a reputation, rare among male television showrunners, for being genuinely likable and easy to get along with — and yet, beneath all that kindness and aw-shucks Southern charm, he created and shepherded one of the darkest and most intense programs in television history. As Breaking Bad winds down and continues, against all odds, to top itself, we’re anxious to see what dark corners Gilligan leads us down next. — Jason Bailey

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Walton Goggins

I swear to god, I really, really did not mean to fall in love with a white supremacist, but Walton Goggins is so unstoppable as Boyd Crowder on Justified that I could not help myself. Somewhere in Season 1, the volatile, spiritually confused Southern criminal won me over, hook, line, and sinker. While I think Boyd’s character arc went a bit downhill last season, Goggins is still a revelation to watch in any of his roles. He’s been in The Shield, Django Unchained, and Sons of Anarchy, to name a few, and I’m on pins and needles to see his more comedic side when he appears on Community this season. — Sarah Fonder

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Mark-Paul Gosselaar

You know who I think really got snubbed by the Emmys this year? Zack Morris. No, wait, come back! Look, I know we’re talking about Zack Morris. I know his biggest role right now is on a USA lawyer sitcom. But I promise you, Mark Paul-Gosselaar is scary talented. When he played a seemingly perfect man determined to ruin Max’s life on Happy Endings earlier this year, I was genuinely terrified. We — by which I mean, the TV industry — need to give this man more to do. In addition to being a surprisingly fantastic actor, he’s also a reliably fun guest on talk shows: his recent interview for Paul F. Tompkins’ podcast was wonderful, and his stint on Jimmy Fallon is the best thing I’ve ever seen on late night. This guy can clearly do great things, and I really hope he gets the kind of exciting work he deserves. — Sarah Fonder

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Max Greenfield

It’s so hard not to fall for Max Greenfield. He first stole my heart as Deputy Leo on Veronica Mars, and thankfully, the success of New Girl has moved Greenfield from the cult to the spotlight. If you love Max Greenfield, you adore him: Schmidt is a favorite with New Girl fans, and several of us are still crying foul about his recent Emmy snub. He goes all-out on New Girl week after week, and each of his cameos on shows like Bob’s Burgers and NTSF:SD:SUV:: are little nuggets of gold. Just one look at that smile and you can tell Greenfield’s on his way to being a really big deal. — Sarah Fonder

harmon

Dan Harmon

He’s a brilliant writer, uproarious podcaster, and gives great interview, but his reputation is, to put it mildly, sketchy (and mostly confirmed by the man himself): rumors of all-night writing sessions, difficult sets, and drinking on the job. But you can’t deny that he got results — particularly after the unfortunate experiment of taking Community from the man who ripped it from his id and trying to transform it into a typical, audience-friendly sitcom. The suits learned their lesson, but his much-discussed return to his brainchild may very well create impossible expectations for fixing something that’s broken beyond repair. But if anyone’s up to the challenge, it’s this guy. — Jason Bailey

harrisperry

Melissa Harris-Perry

Cable news is, for the most part, a whole lot of sweaty, angry, under-informed white guys yelling partisan nonsense into a camera. The best antidote I’ve found to that is Melissa Harris-Perry, who has spent close to two years now presiding over an eponymous MSNBC weekend show. A professor of political science at Tulane, Harris-Perry is such a politics-and-current-events geek that she’s dubbed her constituency “nerdland.” As that nickname suggests, it’s the host’s snark-free playfulness that makes her show’s serious discussions of the economy, race, gender, gun control, and whatever else is in the news that week go down so easy, although the diverse and generally civil panels she convenes don’t hurt. Bonus: Harris-Perry also keeps an eye on pop culture, and even welcomed the cast of Orange Is the New Black for a riveting conversation about prison policy. — Judy Berman

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Chris Hayes

After years of being beaten over the head by pundits yelling and screaming nonsensical hogwash at each other, MSNBC has really upped the smart nightly politics talk game since the dark days of Bush 2. You still have Chris Matthews with his great Oxford-shirt-and-tie combos, and Rachel Maddow seems like she should be leading a very cool gang of liberal nerds who solve mysteries, but Chris Hayes, recently promoted from his popular weekend morning show to a more noticeable spot on the network’s nighttime lineup, brings a different kind of political geekery to the table. He’s well-informed, likeable, and his unwavering focus on climate change — a topic he pays far more attention to than his peers — has made him the concerned voice of his generation. — Jason Diamond

iannucci

Armando Iannucci

Iannucci’s The Thick of It, and its spin-off film In the Loop, were quiet faves among American Anglophiles. But he didn’t have a real American hit until Veep — and even that show didn’t really find its voice until this season, zipping in the space of one year from “modestly enjoyable diversion” to “HBO’s best comedy.” Like its British predecessors, Veep is casually profane, fast-paced, and smart as hell, and Iannucci has quickly become one of our most valuable comic minds. — Jason Bailey

janney

Allison Janney

Sure, the Jackal is enjoying a revival at the moment. We all miss CJ, even if we’re grateful that Janney has escaped Sorkin’s clutches, apparently for good. Still, it’s been too much of a drought, having her only be in movies. Her laconic badass demeanor is so unique to her, she can even liven up a truly terrible show like Mom. — Michelle Dean

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Jake Johnson

By the end of the second season of New Girl, Jake Johnson had managed to secure his place in the hearts of thousands of fangirls. Since the end of Season 2 and the start of Season 3, reams have been written about the unlikely heartthrob who stars as resident curmudgeon Nick Miller. While many have argued that it’s the shows character Schmidt who steals the show, Johnson’s flashes of earnestness make him the real winner. His every-guy growing pains are portrayed sympathetically and realistically. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like a great kisser. — Lillian Ruiz

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Mindy Kaling

Last fall, we were in the midst of a Kaling-palooza, as the Office writer and co-star released a bestseller, created and fronted her own sitcom, and popped up on countless magazine covers. But the year that followed was rough, with a weird backlash preceding a season of retoolings and cast shake-ups on The Mindy Project. Season 2 is off to a similarly rocky start, and questions of network pressure to make her character more likable are troubling. But Kaling remains a fascinatingly unique presence in comedy and on television, calling her own shots and figuring it out as she goes. — Jason Bailey

kerman

Piper Kerman

Jenji Kohan may have brought it to life, but Orange Is the New Black wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Piper Kerman and her best-selling memoir of the same name. One of the most challenging, unlikable female protagonists in television is based on the real-life ex-con turned prison reform advocate, who’s an active presence behind the unlikely hit. Kerman is proof that there’s a market for complicated, messy stories about women, largely because real-life women like Kerman lead complicated, messy lives. — Alison Herman

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Nick Kroll

Ruxin on The League, Bobby Bottleservice in the popular Ed Hardy Boyz Internet skits, an eponymous Comedy Central show where he plays a handful of hilarious characters — Nick Kroll (whose recurring Parks and Rec character is actually called “The Douche”) plays the douchebag better than anyone else out there. — Jason Diamond

lange

Jessica Lange

The veteran actress was the highlight of an otherwise scattershot first season of American Horror Story, and the best of creator Ryan Murphy’s many good decisions for the second installment may well have been giving Lange the spotlight as haunted nun Sister Jude. She starts the season as a villain, evil in a campy sort of way, but Lange’s performance turns Judy Martin’s story into a wrenching tale of redemption and stickin’ it to the ’60s patriarchy. Lange works every leading lady moment she gets, and there are plenty: contemplating suicide, experiencing a psychotic break, even doing battle with the devil (yes, the actual devil). Lange is crucial to taking AHS from absurd to surprisingly poignant. — Alison Herman

veep

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

I enjoyed the first season of Veep, but despite all of its merits it didn’t seem much more than an Americanized The Thick of It. The second season, however, really upped the ante, much to the credit of Louis-Dreyfus’ deliriously brilliant comedic timing. The show incorporated much more physical comedy this season, which Louis-Dreyfus handled with aplomb, becoming the funniest woman to ever walk through a plate-glass door. — Tyler Coates

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Kelly Macdonald

As Boardwalk Empire‘s Margaret Thompson, Kelly Macdonald has perfected the physicality of a character that is constantly grappling with moral relativism, and consequently the paranoia that comes with it. Macdonald’s gift is that she finds unbelievable pockets of strength for a character that is constantly on tenterhooks. To put it simply, in other hands Margaret could easily be played as potential prey poised for flight, but in Macdonald’s rendering she is much more like a perfectly strung steel bear trap. — Lillian Ruiz

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David Mitchell and Robert Webb

Britain’s Peep Show is that rarest of shows — a comedy that’s been running for the best part of a decade, and getting better all the time. You could choose any of its characters here — especially Matt King, who plays the inimitable Super Hans — but ultimately, the enduring genius of the show rests in the dynamic between Mitchell and Webb, a comedic duo to rival any in the history of television. — Tom Hawking

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Kate McKinnon

The thing I love about Kate McKinnon is that you can tell she’s really in it to make herself laugh first, a quality that made her predecessor Kristen Wiig so successful throughout her tenure on SNL. That’s the very visible characteristic that McKinnon exhibits in all of her characters that makes her stand out not just as someone who can do an adept impression, but as a performer who brings a lot of her own personality to every role she plays. — Tyler Coates

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Elisabeth Moss

She’s not exactly undersung on Mad Men. But having goofy Zooey from The West Wing grow up to be this self-possessed was a giant and pleasant surprise. If you watched Top of the Lake you saw that she’s only getting better, too; she has a way of conveying a lot while barely moving a muscle. We look forward to what she’s gonna do next. — Michelle Dean

John Oliver at Jon Stewart's desk

John Oliver

Everyone trusted Jon Stewart to leave The Daily Show in capable hands while he took a summer hiatus to direct Rosewater in Jordan, but most were pleasantly surprised at just how capable John Oliver proved to be. Bookended by tons of meta jokes about Stewart’s absence and his fellow cast members’ feelings about it, Oliver’s tenure was marked by a style that was close enough to Stewart’s to feel consistent with the tone of the show, but distinct enough to give a sense of Oliver’s unique strengths as a performer and interviewer. It was almost impossible to imagine a Daily Show without Stewart before; now it’s just difficult. — Alison Herman

aaronpaul

Aaron Paul

There has been, for quite some time, no one to root for on Breaking Bad other than Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. Everybody focuses on Cranston’s burden as Walter White, but Paul has the heavier load to carry, in my opinion, as the show’s emotional center. Somebody has got to do the definitive Aaron Paul profile; we want to know how he manages to keep those eyes red-rimmed for so long a stretch at a time. Plus: anyone that excited to be on The Price Is Right can’t be wrong. — Michelle Dean

Scandal_Jeff_Perry

Jeff Perry

Jeff Perry had a long history of bit roles and odds and ends before playing the volatile political genius Cyrus Beene on Scandal. As Cyrus, Perry is one of the few actors on TV right now who gives a male character so much emotional range. Men, take note: it’s OK to cry! Just do it like Jeff Perry. — Lillian Ruiz

COMMUNITY -- Pictured: Danny Pudi as Abed -- NBC Photo: Mitchell Haaseth

Danny Pudi

Except perhaps for Parks and Recreation, Community boasts the best ensemble comedy cast on TV. And while you could also make a strong case for Joel McHale, Alison Brie, and Gillian Jacobs, it’s Pudi who has the show’s most delicate, difficult role. He deserves special recognition for balancing humor with sensitivity and insight to create an Abed Nadir who’s lovable, frustrating, and hilarious all at once. Jeff Winger may be the Greendale 7’s charismatic frontman, but Abed is its obsessive, pop culture-steeped soul and the character whose evolution has been the most rewarding to watch over the years. — Judy Berman

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Retta

It’s difficult to stand out when you’re part of an ensemble of such a uniquely high caliber, but Donna, played by Retta, does this with ease on Parks and Recreation. We all have a Donna: she’s the one who knows she has to go to work, deal with the bullshit, pick her battles, and choose precisely the right moment to say what’s on her mind. But when the day is done, she gets in her Mercedes and goes out and does whatever fabulous thing Donna wants to do. She is secretly the coolest person you work with. And judging by Retta’s always-awesome Twitter feed, playing Donna probably isn’t the biggest stretch for this rising comedienne. — Jason Diamond

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Shonda Rhimes

Matt Weiner and Vince Gilligan have had their time in the sun, but Rhimes has been hitting it out of the park for years with network primetime ratings Mad Men could only dream of. With Scandal‘s breakout second season, Rhimes is finally getting the recognition she deserves for crafting gripping, scream-at-your-screen-while-live-tweeting-your-feelings shows, all while redefining the stereotypically white and male role of the showrunner. Grey’s Anatomy may be well past its peak, but Scandal is just getting started — and so is Rhimes. — Alison Herman

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Portia de Rossi

Arrested Development’s fourth season left me with mixed feelings, but what I know for certain is that I loved Lindsay Bluth more than any other character. It was refreshing to see her change a lot over the season, especially compared to what the character was like during the first three — vapid, obsessive, stupid. While she was all of those things this season, I could see a lot more depth to Lindsay, which probably came from devoting two full episodes to her. — Tyler Coates

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RuPaul

It was RuPaul who brought drag culture into the mainstream in 1993; 15 years later, he began crowning the next generation of supermodels of the world on Drag Race. Five seasons and a couple spin-offs in, that show is Logo’s breakout hit, and RuPaul reigns as America’s cross-dressing sweetheart once again. What’s brilliant about Drag Race is the way it manages to simultaneously incorporate and parody its reality-show rivals, from America’s Next Top Model to Project Runway, its camp sensibility and witty contestants keeping the competition fresh years after those other shows exceeded their expiration date. And while the new generation of weird, wonderful queens is Drag Race’s greatest gift, Ru’s combination of Miss Tyra realness with the tough-love mentoring of Tim Gunn ensures that it keeps on giving. — Judy Berman

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Ted Sarandos

Sarandos is the chief content officer at Netflix, which means that he’s the person who’s largely responsible for growing web-based streaming into a rival to the hegemony of broadcast and cable TV. He’s been in the job since 2000, and in that time Netflix has grown from a mail-order DVD service into a web-based institution. The most significant development, of course, has been Netflix’s recent move into original content, which has been a resounding success so far and promises — in theory, at least — to catalyze the greatest change in television since the advent of cable. — Tom Hawking

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Amy Schumer

There’s something pretty fearless about Inside Amy Schumer’s humor — it’s brazenly sexual, but also so damn clever and sharp. What I appreciate most is her penchant for a diverse writing team, which proves that when you allow for the points of view of writers with vastly different experiences, the comedy is tighter and more expressive. — Tyler Coates

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Kevin Spacey

Spacey isn’t necessarily interesting because he’s good. Frank Underwood may be a magnetic presence, with his fourth-wall-busting monologues and rich Southern drawl, but no one’s really surprised that Spacey kills it, especially with the help of all that stunningly beautiful David Fincher camera work. No, Spacey has made a name for himself in his outspoken off-camera advocacy of the virtues of long-form storytelling, unconventional formatting, and giving the audience what it wants. He’s become the face of not just his show, but Netflix’s daring experiment in original content. — Alison Herman

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James Spader

In truth I’m kind of freaked out by the baldness he’s sporting on his new serial-killer television show, The Blacklist. Plus it’s bad and derivative. But the truth is, 30 years of oiliness still look pretty good on the man. He’s a shifty sort, but it’s delicious. And frankly, I’d watch him peel the bark off a tree just to follow the way he moves those lips as he does it. — Michelle Dean

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Kurt Sutter

He’s one of the most famously intense men in television, and as such, there’s probably some sort of symbolism in the fact that of all the characters he could have played on his show Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter chose Otto, a man who started off serving a five-year sentence and by the end of Season 6 has been blinded, sentenced to death, and bitten off his own tongue. Whatever the case, he’s been responsible for one of the most compelling dramas of the 2000s, and probably also for the sale of a whole lot of Harley-Davidsons. — Tom Hawking

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Kerry Washington

Scandal is the rare show that’s almost as smart as it is salaciously entertaining (if also more than a little bit implausible), a TV phenomenon that’s spreading more quickly than Washington gossip. With apologies to Shonda Rhimes, the single reason the drama is so addictive is its star. Kerry Washington brings to Olivia Pope much the same contradictory mix of attributes that made James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano so compelling: power and intelligence, cut with shocking hints of vulnerability. And just like Gandolfini, she’s not simply the best actor for the role; she’s the only one who could possibly have filled it. — Judy Berman

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Jessica Williams

John Oliver’s tenure as Daily Show guest host proved a hit with critics and viewers, but his wasn’t the show’s only success story this summer. The Oliver Era also featured copious onscreen opportunities for the show’s newest and most exciting correspondent, Jessica Williams, who regularly crushed it. Her segments on Paula Deen, racism, and the healthcare debate are among the best in the show’s recent history — and she seems to just be warming up. — Jason Bailey

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