Re: my post yesterday, Gerald has kindly pointed out that Tony Shaloub has perhaps pushed his characterization of Monk beyond the initial concept of the writers, making him more memorable than any individual plotline would suggest. He also pointed out that Jim Garner did this with Rockford, Tom Selleck with Magnum and so on. Now if the writing is superior the actor probably doesn't have to work as hard. Or in some cases, individual efforts don't shine as brightly (take The Wire, which is all about writing). Or maybe also due to a very large cast allowing little airtime for any one character.
What individual efforts made more of a movie or TV show than the writing allowed for. What did you watch strictly for an individual performance?
Julia Louis Dreyfus has done this with her two followups to Seinfeld. Christine is especially tepid save for her performance (IMHO). Tony Randall and Jack Klugman did this with The Odd Couple, which ran out of steam after its many incarnations. Michael J. Fox carried Family Ties on his back for years. What else?