Features TV

2014-15 TV AWARDS: Break-Out Star

The 2014-15 season of TV was a landmark one for superhero TV shows! To celebrate, AP2HYC is hosting its first annual TV Awards. Make sure you vote for your favorites at the end of each article and keep checking back to see who wins!

2014-2015 was a great time for television – there’s no denying it. But with a wave of new shows came a wave of new actors as well. We’re tired of seeing the same old faces over and over and over again. It’s about time we’ve got some new, fresh talent gracing the small-screen. Thankfully, this past season has graced us with a whole batch of talented actors and actresses who, up until now, didn’t have a chance to show their true acting skills. Check out our list of break-out stars for 2014-2015.

Featuring contributions from writers: Eric Dodds, Alex Reale, Jason Wong, Kathleen McEneaney, Brian Corliss, David Molofsky

1. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter – Agent Carter

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After supporting roles and guest appearances in four movies and her own short film as Agent Peggy Carter, Hayley Atwell has more than proven that she is ready to hold her own with an entire television show. And boy did she deliver. While Peggy does kick some serious butt, Atwell shows the complete range of Peggy’s emotions, all with her underlying determination to do the right thing. Atwell captures Peggy Carter’s humor, anger, sadness, pain, perseverance, and mean right hook. Agent Carter has been a fan favorite since her first appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger and this is largely due to Atwell’s amazing performance.

2. Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock – Daredevil

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Joining the ranks of British actors playing American superheroes (see Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc.), Charlie Cox played Matt Murdock/Daredevil with an unmatched attention to detail.  With eyes covered for 90% of his screen time, Cox was denied the ability to fully emote, so it was in his physical body control where he really impressed. As Daredevil, Cox used his stance, his breathing rate, and his exhaustion to inform us clearly when the mortal Daredevil was fighting smart, fighting angry, or fighting injured.  As Murdock, the indirect angle he kept facing, how his hands instinctively reached out for support from furniture or friends, his cautious stepping, and the locked direction of his blank gaze when his eyes weren’t covered, Cox always reminded us that Murdock was blind, which also showed us how much work the character was doing to hide his abilities.

3. Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot – Gotham

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Who would’ve thought that, out of all the characters on the show, the Penguin would be the fan-favorite of Gotham? I sure didn’t! I was pleasantly surprised to see this semi-familiar face when I first tuned into the show. I had only witnessed Robin Lord Taylor‘s acting abilities in small tidbits here and there, most notably on The Walking Dead and Accepted. Right from the get-go, I knew that they had cast the Penguin perfectly. Taylor’s ability to act like a creepy, conniving, scheming sewer-rat instantly made Oswald Cobblepot my favorite part of the entire show. The general consensus agreed that Cobblepot/Penguin stole every scene he was in, no matter who else was playing by his side. Something about him is just so damn creepy that you can’t help but get chills down your spine whenever he waddles onto the screen and gives his sinister smile. Taylor may not look like our more familiar version of the Penguin, but he certainly has carved out his own admirable image of the lesser-appreciated DC character. Hopefully, he has a much more prominent role in the upcoming season since there is so much more room to go with the character.

4. Grant Gustin as Barry Allen – The Flash

The Flash -- "Fastest Man Alive" -- Image FLA102a_0111b -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
Grant Gustin is an outstanding Flash and Barry Allen; he’s funny, nerdy, charming and most important of all, quick-witted. The Flash has always been the most likable character in the Justice League lore, and I feel Gustin just nails that likability perfectly. He plays the Flash so well that I’m actually worried about the new Flash movie because I know that Gustin won’t be playing him. It’ll be difficult for someone to match the quirky, goofy charisma that Gustin has brought to our homes over the past year. And we know that we’re not the only people complaining that Grant won’t be reprising his role in the film either, which goes to show just how synonymous with the role of the Flash he has become.

5. Rose McIver as Liv Moore – iZombie

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I am going to tell you people something: I love Liv Moore. Yes, she’s a bit of a workaholic, and yes, she has fallen into a stint of apathy, and yes, she’s dead, but there’s something ineffably wonderful about television’s newest brain-munching lead. Once a promising doctor, it only took one deadly–or undeadly–party on a boat to throw her entire life into shambles. Now she works at a morgue with near-unlimited access to Zombie Nip and an especially unique ability to help the recently deceased. She’s charming, quirky, and intelligent. With all the swapping of personalities, Rose McIver‘s ability for range is on full display going from a near-term mother to a soldier with PTSD. Liv Moore is a fresh face among the scores of male heroes that is simply the most fun of those to watch on the small screen.

6. Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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While this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its fair share of ups and downs, I was always impressed by Adrienne Palicki’s performance as Agent Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird. I’m not the foremost expert on the character in the comics, but from the occasional stories I’ve seen her in, I can tell that Palicki nailed the part perfectly. In the beginning, when you thought she was working for HYDRA, you actually bought that she was a new villain for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s rogues gallery. Then the plot twist came along and you were blown away at how much of a change the character went through in just two episodes. One week, she’s barking orders and telling HYDRA goons what to do; the next week, she’s listening to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and offering her advice and expertise on missions. It’s almost a complete flip-flop of roles. It takes acting talent to pull it off. You can throw as many well-known characters into a show, but it’s the actor or actress behind them who makes them worthwhile. I honestly can’t think of anyone who would’ve been able to breathe life into Mockingbird aside from Palicki.

7. Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon – The Flash

The Flash -- "The Nuclear Man" -- Image FLA113B_0354b -- Pictured Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

If you had told me a year ago that my favorite character on The Flash wouldn’t be the hero himself but rather his goofy sidekick, I would have asked what you were smoking. I mean, that guy? I thought Cisco Ramon (portrayed by Carlos Valdes) was a funny character in his debut in the Arrow Season 2 episode “The Man Under The Hood”, but nothing more than comic relief, and not a particularly compelling one at that.

 Boy was I wrong. 

Cisco has become the heart and soul of The Flash. In many ways, Cisco is the audience’s surrogate on the show, the character that’s easiest to empathize with. Like Cisco, many of the fans are a bit geeky, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have a few t-shirts in common. His wit and charm have proven to be endearing and not at all annoying like I thought he would be. He’s quickly become a fan favorite, and I’m looking forward to seeing his journey to become Vibe in future seasons (well, fingers crossed).

Oh, and let’s not forget all his amazing villain names!

So which actor do you think deserves the award for break-out star in 2014/2015? Cast your votes below!

Break-Out Star of 2014-15

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!