Golden Globes TV Preview: ‘Empire,’ ‘Outlander’ Lining Up for Drama Series Slots

The Hollywood Foreign Press will announce their nominations for the 73rd Annual Golden Globe awards on Thursday, December 10, in both film and television categories. For those of you who’ve followed the Globes and their attention toward television, that voting body tends to favor the “hot and new” television series much more frequently than their classier cousin, the Emmys. Through their history, they have awarded such shows as Twin PeaksNorthern ExposureThe X-FilesThe ShieldNip/Tuck, and most recently The Affair that, in many cases, the Emmys completely ignored.

Yes, I’m still bitter about The Affair.

This year, there are ample opportunities for some new dramatic series to receive recognition in the Drama Series category. Even though Game of Thrones had an historic win at this year’s Emmy’s, it isn’t necessarily guaranteed that the series will repeat here at the Globes. After all, the Globes have only nominated two of its four seasons for the Drama trophy thus far, and there were some years where the series wasn’t nominated at all. Also, if you think because the Globes rewarded Mad Men three years in a row that they will want to blow it a goodbye kiss, then you’d likely be wrong. Mad Men hasn’t been nominated at the Globes for Drama Series since 2010 when it lost to Boardwalk Empire.

So what are the best bets for nominations? Here are last year’s nominations:

  • The Affair
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • House of Cards

You should start with Game of Thrones for sure. The HFPA may not always nominate it, but they simply cannot pass up the opportunity to nominate it after the series broke records at the most recent Emmy awards. So, that’s one slot. Downton Abbey could likely repeat for the season that aired in the States early in 2015, particularly since the Foreign Press has been covering the final season that aired this Fall in the U.K. Plus, it hasn’t missed out on a nomination since moving to the Drama Series category in 2012 after winning the Miniseries award the previous year. Similar to the Emmys, there’s little reason to think it will be left out in the cold this year. House of Cards is in a similar state. It received nominations for its first two seasons largely because it’s exactly the kind of juicy, star-driven drama they seem to adore. Season Three’s largely melodramatic tone and increased international presence (much of the season is spent dealing with Russian politics) will solidify its continued presence in the category.

So that leaves two slots that will likely be made available by previous winner The Affair and The Good Wife. Why will these shows be left out this year? I’m not sure I have a great answer. Despite a rabid fan base, no one is really talking about The Good Wife‘s last season as awards material, and the series has fallen out of the conversation a bit. And The Affair, last year’s surprise winner for Best Drama (except that I fully predicted it), is likely to be left out of the conversation completely. The Globes went all-in for the series in a year where the Screen Actors Guild and Emmys totally ignored it. I suspect the HFPA will drop the series like a bad habit.

Filling these two slots will be an easy task as there are at least a dozen potential candidates. For simplicity, I’m going to list what I perceive as the eight series (in alphabetical order) most likely to merit a Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama.

  • Better Call Saul – AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel series will receive a nomination for its star Bob Odenkirk, but the series itself is a bigger question. The big problem is that the HFPA largely ignored Breaking Bad until the end of the series, awarding it a Best Drama nomination in its final two seasons and a win with the last. Saul appears similarly slow to take hold of the foreign body.
  • Daredevil / Jessica Jones – Although I am including them both, I highly doubt that both of Netflix’s Marvel properties will factor into the Drama Series race. Daredevil aired way back last Spring and has the benefit of being the first widely acclaimed and gritty Marvel property. Following up on that success, Netflix premiered Jones this November to even louder critical huzzahs and a chorus of praise from The Internet. Best bets for the shows are in the acting categories – Vincent D’onofrio (Daredevil‘s Kingpin) and Krysten Ritter (the titular Jones) – but if I had to pick one for the Globest to grab onto, then it would be Jones simply due to its more recent buzz.
  • Empire – Fox’s ratings magnet would have seemed like the easiest of slam dunks after last winter’s Season One, but the subsequent months have proven tricky with Empire‘s reputation. On the plus side, Fox rushed a second season into production, which has aired this Fall to solid if not buzz-worthy ratings. Further handicapping it is the somewhat shocking omission at this year’s Emmys, further proving a waning buzz for the once-hot series. Still, Empire is totally the kind of show the HFPA traditionally falls all over, so don’t expect them to follow the Emmy’s lead. Its positioning as an “African-American Dynasty” may be too drool-worthy for them to ignore.
  • Indian Summers – PBS’s Fall series about British citizens living in India had a bigger splash in the U.K. than it did here in the U.S. If the Globes included art direction or cinematography categories, then Indian Summers would be guaranteed a handful of nominations. Since they don’t, it’s best shot is a single bid in the Drama Series category (the cast is too broad and unknown to merit acting awards) which is a difficult task to pull off. And while it did hit bigger in the U.K. for the foreign voting body, that was earlier in the year where the critical reactions were respectful if muted. Is this the kind of series to overcome the time difficulty?
  • The Man in the High Castle – Amazon’s critically acclaimed, cinematic new series has to be pure candy for the HFPA. Not only does it boast stunning visuals, direction, and a literary pedigree, but it also has an accomplished international cast that is very Globe-friendly. Plus, the late-season premiere date falls directly within the Globe voting period, which could work for it (the buzz) or against it (did everyone see it in time). Still, I just don’t see how they can ignore the revisionist series.
  • Mr. RobotMr. Robot, the USA Network’s newest series, is one of the most critically acclaimed new series to premiere this year, besting most of network TV’s latest crop if not all of them. Given the HFPA’s love of shiny new toys and their likely nomination for Rami Malek’s star-making turnMr. Robot is a decent bet at a nomination. Personally, my money is more on Malek than the series itself, but attention on him could have a coat tail effect for the overall show.
  • Outlander – There is perhaps no show on television right now with a more protective and enthusiastic fan base than Starz’s Outlander which, like Empire, was pretty much completely ignored by this year’s Emmys – and the Globes themselves which ignored its first eight episodes. Still, the series’s international and literary prestige will not be missed by the HFPA. Also, by nominating the series and potentially its two leads (Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe), the Golden Globes / HFPA will have the rabid Outlander fan base making all kinds of noise on social media to drum up support for their series. That often translates into higher ratings, something the HFPA isn’t one to ignore. Plus, the sex. The raw, passionate, explicit sex. What harm could that do?

So, what passes through at the end of the day? What do you think will be recognized? Have I missed something here? Comment below with your input!

Stay tuned to AwardsDaily TV for our upcoming Golden Globes predictions!

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