You can't be all things to all people, as they say, but Brie comes pretty close: She can swing for the comedic fences (on NBC's Community), plumb the dramatic depths (on AMC's Mad Men) and, when necessary, turn up the heat.
Even though creator-star Lena Dunham is getting most of the press, Williams is the actress who seems most likely to emerge from HBO's Girls as a leading lady. She's beautiful, sure, but there's also a sure-footed confidence about her that could position her as the perfect romantic comedy star.
Her Olivia Dunham could've been another genre-TV mannequin: point your gun, look pretty, lean on the hunky leading man. But in Fringe's four years on the air, the Aussie added layer after layer of depth, of longing, proving her both essential and irresistible.
There's a ruthless intelligence behind his eyes that viewers first saw when he played the lead in HBO's Band of Brothers -- and that same spark, mixed with pathos, is what makes him so magnetic in Showtime's Homeland.
Damon Wayans Jr.
It's been a long time since there's been an actor that could slip into the role that Eddie Murphy both defined and left vacant: A handsome comedian who could be a romantic lead and play to both white and black audiences. But on ABC's Happy Endings, Wayans is killing it, week in and week out.
VanCamp brings a glittering intensity to ABC's hit nighttime soap Revenge, reveling in the show's glossy-pulp trappings and making every step of her character's quest for sweet justice something to relish.
After pinging around Modern Family, Numb3rs and Californiation (and with supporting gigs in movies 21 and Love and Other Drugs), Gad scored with his Tony-nominated role in Book of Mormon. Once he's wrapped NBC's White House sitcom 1600 Penn, he's primed and ready for awkward love-interest duty.
It's the lips, really. He can make them convey rage, vulnerability, pain, resolve. One of the reasons viewers are willing to accept some of the dumber decisions his Game of Thrones character makes is because he sells them so well.
It's hard work making a character who's so aggressively self-centered so compulsively likable. But on Fox's New Girl, Greenfield is deftly modulating what could be a caricature into a character bravely hiding massive insecurities.
Joss Whedon once described the former Firefly star as a solid man's man who's able to deliver the drama, be funny, do the action and sell the romance. He gets to do some of that on ABC's Castle, but one gets the sense that he can do a lot more. And being beloved by the vocal Geek Nation never hurts.