Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond, Lost "The Constant," a Desmond-centric episode about time travel, established Cusick as the unrequited romantic hero of the jam-packed ensemble whose survival now depends on reuniting with his lost love Penny.
2 of 12 Karen Neal/ABC
Ana Ortiz as Hilda, Ugly Betty This season, Ortiz has transformed Hilda from a one-note Boricua loudmouth into a tender, grieving widow and a sweet, supportive mom without losing the character's slutty edge to keep things interesting.
3 of 12 Jeff Petry/ABC
Anne Heche as Marin, Men in Trees It's weird to call a show's protagonist an unsung hero, but Heche's quirky relationship coach Marin made us believe in the now-canceled Men in Trees throughout its short, troubled life. (Buy the DVD!)
4 of 12 Byron Cohen/NBC
Craig Robinson as Darryl, The Office Robinson's Darryl challenged stereotypes about the relative intelligence of white- and blue-collar workers, outwitting Michael (he noticed the boss wearing a woman's suit) and seducing bubbleheaded Kelly.
5 of 12 Carin Baer/ABC
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy, Mad Men Thrust into the ethics-free world of advertising in 1960s New York, Moss stood out as a hard worker whose momentary lapse of judgment resulted in the biggest shock of the AMC hit's first season: an unexpected pregnancy.
6 of 12 courtesy NBC Universal
Maulik Pancholy as Jonathan, 30 Rock As Jack Donaghy's devoted assistant, Pancholy made this list by commemorating his boss' downfall with a sad collage and an impromptu performance of Sarah MacLachlan's "I Will Remember You."
7 of 12 Randy Holmes/ABC
Emily VanCamp as Rebecca, Brothers Sisters While the writers messed with Rebecca's parentage, VanCamp's sympathetic performance guided us through all the confusion, making us want her to stick around no matter what her last name is.
8 of 12 courtesy HBO
Jerry Ferrara as Turtle, Entourage While Turtle's sweet flirtation with the mechanic's daughter seems to have evaporated, his charming schemes and scams buoyed last season's otherwise tedious arc about Medellin, the worst fake movie never made.
9 of 12 Isabella Vosmikova/Fox
Kal Penn as Kutner, HouseWhile Thirteen, CTB and Taub go for the jugular in every case, Penn offers a quieter performance that allows him to have humor and humanity at the same time. This, of course, drives House insane, which is why we love Kutner!
10 of 12 Randy Tepper/Showtime
Madeline Zima as Mia, Californication The former Nanny kid is all growed up! More than just a jailbait temptress, Mia is also a sensitive, intelligent writer whose perception is often more mature than that of the stunted adults who surround her.
11 of 12
John C. McGinley as Dr. Cox, ScrubsThere isn't a bad apple in the Sacred Heart bunch, but our personal favorite of all of Dr. Cox's hilarious personality quirks is his ability to improv a litany of girls' names to demoralize poor J.D. (see YouTube).
12 of 12 Michael Wong/FX
Steven Pasquale as Sean Garrity, Rescue MeWhile we can't give his character a lot of points for brains, his good-hearted nature (especially when dealing with his wife's drinking problems and threat of divorce) always adds a special touch to the show.