The men of drama caused quite a stir this year, ranging from a man battling a zombie apocalypse and losing his wife to man posing to a regular everyday American, but is actually Soviet spy in an arranged marriage. This year's list is filled with many new comers ousting out some old favorites. These men while complex and flawed prove that there are still great roles for men out there....wait, that's always been true. What's most important about the evolution of this category is the wide range of men who have filled these five or six spots over the last decade have become more and more interesting. Please note not one of these men is from a network television series.
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad
Cranston is the only veteran returning for a fifth time; he has the most nominations, and has not missed a year in my own personal awards. Cranston took Walt to new levels with Gus dead, and him in charge. Walt took to new levels of darkness while trying to cling to being a part of his family. As Skylar zoned out, Walt turned into a darker more intense man who is starting to get hooked into the game. Watching him with that look in his eyes as he took control, and even killed was one of the most intense experiences of the last season of Breaking Bad. Cranston takes Walt to new levels and is one of the best working in actors in all of television and film today.
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom
While some called Will one note, I think he is one of the most interesting characters of the 2012-2013 television season. Daniels has become a force to reckoned with on stage and screen, and he has developed one great character within this show. Will's rant alone in the first episode about the collapse of our society and journalism is reason enough for him to score a nomination, it is one of my favorite monologues from a television series. Daniels is great in this show, and I love the way he flexes his pen is mightier than the sword wit on the camera it is truly a work of art.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead
Wow, is all I can say. While Walking Dead started to lose me with all of that Andrea/Mayor stuff, Lincoln kept me engrossed in the show. Andrew Lincoln was the reason to watch this past season of Dead, his performance when he lost his wife Laurie was heart wrenching, and the after math even more. Watching Rick struggle through not only the loss of his wife, but the battle with "the Mayor" was also worth the watch.Lincoln is one of the most underrated actors working on television, and this past season is proof that people need to take him more seriously.
Damien Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland
The episode "Q&A," nuff' said. While many folks complained that Homeland was soapier than season one, and that is namely because of the back and forth romance between Carrie and Brody, but the performances took things beyond that level. Lewis was the all star of season one, and that level performance continued this season as he tried to not only play a double agent but stay true to his mission. During the interrogation the intensity in Brody was some of the best acting Lewis has ever done, and watching him slip as he lost everything, or was about to lose everything including his family was some great acting.
Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings in The Americans
Kevin Walker, is that you? What a transformation. While the show itself had growing pains in my opinion, the acting was top notch and Rhys himself was one of the best performers of the year. Watching him fight to keep his family together, and avoid being found out as a Communist spy was some of the most intense television of the year. One of Rhys best scenes was where he confronts the man who raped his wife, and kills him. The intensity in Phillip's face as he kills the man proves that there is more this than an arranged marriage. Rhys proves his acting chops here, and makes this show even better with his performance.
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards
Who said you can't break the fourth wall? This works so well in this show, and Spacey is a master of the theatrical. Franics Underwood is representative of what I assume most politicians in DC to be like, sneaky, manipulative, and mainly out for themselves. There is honestly nothing redeeming about this character; he uses people and spits them out, all on his way to getting what he wants. Yet over the course of the season Spacey creates one of the most layered anti-heroes on television (well Netflix) proving like with Don Draper being a "good guy" or having redeeming qualities can be over rated. Spacey hits every note and action with grace making you remember why he has two Academy Awards.
Runner Ups: Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal, Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens,