5. Rob Lowe in Brothers & Sisters/Parks & Recreation
Rob Lowe. What a treasure. He’s beautiful and ageless and somehow keeps landing really great television roles. When I first thought of him for this list, I was thinking he was amazing in West Wing and later on Parks and was so excited when I remembered that he was also terrific in Brothers and Sisters (Sidenote: I just got a notification on my phone that Rob Lowe has started a live video. Hold please. Oh good. He is announcing that his NEW show begins in five minutes on A&E. And now I’m tuning in.) In all three programs he played a politician. Sam Seaborn. Robert McCallister. Chris Treager. I almost can’t believe that’s the same guy, and that they were also the guy who rescued Demi Moore from the empty apartment with the flowy curtains in St. Elmo’s Fire. Wait, what is happening? Oh yea, I love Rob Lowe.
4. Winona Ryder in Stranger Things
Was I the only person who almost forgot Winona existed? Poor girl. Did or did not steal some shit from Bloomingdales? Or Niemans? What even happened? At any rate, she was erased from Hollywood, which is a crying shame because Reality Bites, Heathers, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands are some seriously amazing films, based in large part on her craft and range. (Did I just type that? Craft. Range.) The point is, she was an amazing film actress, but like happens so often to young starlets, she became fodder for tabloids and a name to prop up otherwise terrible movies (The Dilemma, anyone?). Perhaps it was these less than stellar roles that made her appearance in Stranger Things so much more satisfying. As the mother to the boy who sets the plot afire in season one, Ryder’s role isn’t very big, but she definitely sells it.
3. Jason Bateman in Arrested Development
Okay, so I’ve never actually seen The Hogan Family, which is a real shame and probably a major blight on my television viewing record. At any rate, the show starred Jason Bateman, who also appeared in a season of Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons. But for all intents and purposes, he was pretty much just Mallory Keaton’s less famous brother. And the Arrested Development happened, and Jason Bateman was hilarious. He’s a stand out in a show full of well-written characters, superior comedic timing and flawless acting. I’m not sure if his movie career boon was as a result of his role as Michael Bluth, or if that happened concurrently, but Bateman has become a real draw for me in the realm of entertainment. Speaking of, I’ll be starting his new Netflix drama Ozark as soon as possible.
2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep
Elaine Benes is easily in the top ten funniest television characters of all time and Seinfeld might actually be the funniest television show ever created. As such, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was going to have to work extra hard to stand out on television ever again. But after a few funny, but unremarkable television roles, Louis-Dreyfus returned as Selena Meyer on HBO’s Veep, to begin what might actually be her magnum opus, or at least a much closer second than The New Adventures of Old Christine.
1. Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls
I know. I know. I keep bringing up Bea Arthur, but there’s a reason! She’s terrific, really. Did you know that when creators of The Golden Girls were looking to cast Dorothy they actually described her as “a Bea Arthur type”? Assuming the wonderful Bea would never take the role, the continued to audition women for the part, including Elaine Stritch. Can you imagine?? Anyone else but Bea Arthur in the role of Dorothy Zbornak? It’s preposterous. Her success in Maude made her a household name in television, but through The Golden Girls, and its massive influence on pop culture, she became an icon.