What makes a TV series a good one? You are probably thinking: the plot line; and you are not wrong. The plot line is the main asset of not only TV series, but of any production made for the small and big screen and, of course, of any literary work.
To add more to the recipe, one needs perhaps great visuals, just for the sake of having the beautiful gift packed in something suitable, amazing decorations and costumes, proper for the specific times the action takes place in and, another very important aspect, good actors who manage to blend in the décor, make it look as if the costumes were made especially for them and who succeed in transmitting emotions through the best performances.
In addition, since we were discussing last time about the best episodes of The Walking Dead, now it is the time to jump from the plot to check the actors playing in it.
The Making of a Team
Contrary to some people’s belief, a show about zombies causing havoc, humans struggling to survive them and the effects of apocalypse does require talent from its cast and character development.
As you might have noticed in our article on the best episodes from The Walking Dead, the series has an already large number of important characters, whose survival is the most wished thing and whose imminent death, in some cases, caused many internet riots to happen and tears to fall.
What is interesting about them is that they are of different ages and their characters vary from the hero to the villain, to the fallen hero to the redeemed villains, to that secondary character whose name you do not know but still adore to the second protagonist you love to hate.
All of this is just the mere work of a group of talented actors, who know how to do their job and how to honor a good script. Are you not curious to know about whom are we talking? Well… now, it is the time to look at the actors responsible for the best performances on The Walking Dead and find a little more about them.
10. Chad Coleman
Chad L. Coleman is an American actor born in Virginia, whose destiny always changed its path, at first a leg injury forcing him to quit track and field, making him choose studying drama and then dropping his scholarship at the Virginia Commonwealth University for the United States Army.
Coleman has had guest roles in Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Numb3rs, Lie to Me, The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, gave his voice for some of the Grand Theft Auto games and Resident Evil 6, but is mostly known for his role as Dennis “Cutty” Wise in The Wire and for the one of Tyreese Williams in The Walking Dead.
Tyreese or Ty is the brother of Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the head of a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Despite his rough attitude as a zombie fighter, Ty is compassionate and selfless, as seen when he takes over the responsibility of the temporary caretaker of the little girls. The actors described his bond with his character and the interpretation itself as making him feel “the sky’s the limit”.
9. Michael Rooker
American actor Michael Rooker began his career in 1986 with a controversial role, the one of the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, in the psychological horror film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Rooker also made an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy as Yondu, and will reprise his role for the 2017 sequel.
On the small screen, Michael Rooker had guest roles in Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami, Numb3rs, Law & Order and Chuck. He also gave his voice for several video games, including Call of Duty.
The older brother of Daryl and a canonical comic book character, Merle appears as a typical Southern redneck with a wicked sense of humor. After being left behind by the rest of the survivors in the earliest seasons, resurfaces as one of the Governor’s men. His troubled life is completed by a painful death. Beaten and having two of his fingers bitten off by Blake, Merle is then shot by him and then stabbed as a zombie by his own brother.
8. David Morrissey
The English actor David Morrissey grew up as a child longing to become an actor. His dream took him through many school plays till he actually started attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed later with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.
His stage performances include many of Shakespeare’s adaptations such as Twelfth Night, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. Some of his most famous appearances on the small screen include Doctor Who, Sense and Sensibility and Agatha Christie’s Poirot, while some of the movies which have him starring are Robin Hood, Waterland, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Basic Instinct 3 and The Other Boleyn Girl.
Philip Blake or The Governor is the antagonist introduced and in season 3. The leader of Woodbury is as intelligent as cruel and brutal. At first appearing as an amiable man, whose charm is one of his greatest assets, the Governor eventually reveals himself as a sociopath thirsty for blood.
His sanity starts vanishing for good once Michonne kills his young daughter already turned into a zombie. The murders and tortures he commits are put to an end only when Michonne and Lilly Chamber finally kill Philip Blake. Philip Blake is the character on the show with the largest number of kills.
7. Jon Bernthal
Jonathan Edward Bernthal is an American actor of Jewish ancestry. Despite starting college in New York, Bernthal ends up attending The School of Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. Ever since graduating in 2002 from the American Repertory Theater, Jon has been focusing on the life on stage, acting in more than 30 plays.
His activity also includes movies such as The Ghost Writer, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Wolf of Wall Street and Fury, while his roles in television consist of Law & Order, CSI: Miami, How I Met Your Mother, The Class, Eastwick and most recently, Daredevil.
The former Sheriff Deputy, Shane Walsh was introduced as the strong intelligent childhood friend of Rick Grimes. After Rick’s injury and subsequent comma and the walker invasion, Shane takes matters in his own hands. While fighting along the other survivors, Shane falls for his friends’ wife, Lori. In the second season, Shane turns fully antagonist and is eventually killed by Rick and Carl.
6. Brighton Sharbino
The very young actress Brighton Rose Sharbino might have a short resume, but so far she has proven to be a very promising talent. Brighton made an appearance in Hannah Montana, Primes Suspect, NCIS, The Walking Dead, True Detective and Once Upon A Time.
The daughter of Ryan Samuels and Mika’s sister, 12 year old Lizzie appears in the fourth season as a rather disturbed person, completely affected by the traumatic events caused by the zombie apocalypse. Behind her politeness and altruism, her distress make her pessimistic and a torturer of animals, while ironically having an obsession with zombies, whom she not only pities, but finds them harmless and fascinating. Lizzie’s insanity leads to her killing her sister Mika, forcing Carol to put an end to the dangerous troubled girl in a most dramatic tear-jerking scene.
5. Laurie Holden
Heather Laurie Holden began her career since childhood, being the daughter of two actors, Glen Corbett and Adrienne Ellis and the step daughter to director Michael Andreson. Her passion for acting was so strong that she gave up studying economics and political science for a degree in theatre and film.
Her activity includes roles in Fantastic Four, Silent Hill, Dumb and Dumber To and The X Files. When she is not an actress, Holden is a producer, model and even human right activist.
Dale Horvarth saved Andrea and her sister during the first outbreak. In order to make herself useful, Andrea proved her talent with firearms. Later, she is dragged into Woodbury’s affairs and in a relationship with Philip Blake, The Governor, relationship that proved to be toxic – this making it the second bad relationship after the one with Shane Walsh. The character of Andrea was supposed to make it through 8 full season, but a sudden decision to shock the audience lead to her death in the third season.
4. Danai Gurira
Born in Iowa, danai Jekesai Gurira is an American of Zimbabewan origin. The daughter of a university librarian a lecturer, Danai has a Bachelor degree in psychology and a Master degree in acting.
The young actress expressed more interest in theatre as both an actress and playwright. Danai took her talent further by teaching the secrets of playwriting and acting in African countries.
Michonne is another character deeply scarred by the death of her family. At first dark and coldblooded, the sword master ends up bonding with Andrea and Carl, while getting romantically closer to Rick.
About the casting of Danai Gurira as Michonne, Robert Kirkman declared that “We looked at a lot of talented people that were really fantastic but we were waiting for that one spark, that one moment where everyone was completely in agreement and completely excited and we felt like we had the essence of this fictional character that just randomly appeared in another person, and that person was Danai Gurira. She kind of came in and really blew us all away. She’s got incredible presence, and she’s got a theatre background, and is very physical and was just perfect for the role.”
3. Melissa McBride
The 50-year-old Kentucky born Melissa Suzanne McBride started her career in 1991. Throughout the years, she went from commercials to movies to series such as Matlock, American Gothic, Dawson’s Creek and The Walking Dead. McBride also worked as a casting director between 2006 and 2010.
One of the leading characters, Carol Peletier is in the beginning a survivor, the wife of Ed and mother to Sophia, which she eventually loses to zombies. In order to keep her friends safe and to help them even more in their battle, Carol gains some medical skills. After being the sole survivor of her family, Carol also bonds with Daryl Dixon and sisters Lizzie and Mika.
2. Norman Reedus
Norman Mark Reedus was born in Hollywood in 1969. Of Irish, Scottish, English, and even Italian ancestry, Reedus lived in not only Los Angeles, but also Japan, Spain and Ireland. Before becoming an actor, he worked in a shop and made money from painting, photography, sculpting, and videos too.
Norman modeled for big names such as Prada and Levi’s and made a guest appearance in some videos such as Lady Gaga’s Judas, Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees and Keith Richards’ Wicked As It Seems.
His acting career in movies includes The Boondock Saints, Blade II, Cadillac Records, while his activity in TV series features Charmed, Law & Order, Hawaii Five-0 and of course, The Walking Dead.
Daryl Dixon is one of the core characters and team members. Despite his though aggressive attitude and foul mouth, the fact that he is all alone and later loses his brother Merle, makes Daryl get closer to Carol Peletier and Beth Greene. The character of Daryl Dixon does not appear in the comic series, Daryl having been created exactly for Norman. In 2012, Reedus won the IGN category of Best TV Hero.
1. Andrew Lincoln
The Londoner Andrew James Clutterbuck (stage name Lincoln) became interested in performing as an actor when he attended National Youth Theatre for one summer.
His passion took him to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and so he ended up acting not only on stage, but also in movies and in series such as The Woman in White, Teachers, The Canterbury Tales, Afterlife, Wuthering Heights and The Walking Dead, the last winning him 4 awards and 6 more nominations.
A former sheriff’s deputy, the father of Carl and later Judith and husband of Lori, Rick Grimes is the central character of The Walking Dead. After a long time of being in coma, Rick Grimes wakes up to a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and begins his quest for finding his family, protect them from the zombies and leading the survivors to someone who might find a cure. Robert Kirkman, the writer of The Walking Dead comic book, described Lincoln as an “amazing find” in relation with his portrayal of Rick Grimes.