The first sign of a new show’s awards potential comes on December 15th with the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is famously much more liberal and creative with their choices than the stuffier Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that bestows the Emmy Awards at the end of the summer. This is the organization that has handed Twin Peaks and Nip/Tuck awards for Best Television Series – Drama, and nominated Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lauren Graham for acting awards. Golden Globe love doesn’t necessarily mean much, as it may just be head-scratching (like Prison Break or Piper Perabo from Covert Affairs) or overenthusiastic (like Commander-in-Chief or Everybody Hates Chris). Still, it’s an exciting and often unpredictable time, and here are the new shows most likely to earn the attention of the Hollywood Foreign Press, starting with those that premiered in the first half of 2011 and have already had a shot at the Emmys.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
HBO’s breakout hit took some time to get into, but Emmy voters hopped on board. Peter Dinklage won an Emmy but will face tougher competition in the catch-all supporting race. The show will probably receive a drama series nomination without much trouble.
The Killing (AMC)
Stars Mireille Enos and Michelle Forbes earned Emmy nominations, but the show couldn’t manage a top spot mention there. This dark, moody drama may be too gloomy for this particular organization’s tastes, and may be too distant a memory, having aired its finale back in June.
Matt LeBlanc was feted with an Emmy nod for his self-portrayal in this biting Hollywood satire, and something tells me Globe voters are going to love him too. A series nomination or some well-deserved respect for costar Tamsin Greig is probably asking too much.
Marooned in the drama category, this dark comedy had a pitiful showing at the Emmy Awards, and would do well to switch labels. William H. Macy is the show’s best bet, but it would be wonderful to see Emmy Rossum, a Globe nominee for the 2004 film version of “The Phantom of the Opera,” recognized.
This thriller should have an easy time getting recognized for star Claire Danes, who won a Globe at the age of sixteen for My So-Called Life and another last year for Temple Grandin. The show could get nominated as well, as could either of the two standout supporting actors, Mandy Patinkin or Damian Lewis, both past nominees.
Showtime’s freshman female stars have won the Best Comedy Actress award three times in the past six years, so it would make sense for Laura Dern to earn a spot in that category as well, even though her show airs on HBO. The series as a whole probably won’t appeal as much.
2 Broke Girls (CBS) & New Girl (FOX)
These two shows are the new face of broadcast network comedies. It’s a good bet that both Kat Dennings and Zooey Deschanel will be able to charm voters as a fast-talking Brooklyn waitress and a newly single dork, respectively. Their toughest competition will likely be each other.
Up All Night (NBC) & Prime Suspect (NBC)
These two decently popular new series won’t have enough fans to get them top-tier nominations, but it’s possible that stars Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maria Bello, who have a collected five Globe nods among them, could represent the fall’s fresh crop in the acting categories.
Kelsey Grammer was nominated for playing Frasier Crane from 1994-2002 and won twice. Now he may be back for a completely different role, as the corrupt mayor of Chicago. His greatest challenge: the show’s network, Starz, doesn’t have an awards history.
Once Upon a Time, Revenge & Pan Am (ABC)
If there’s one out-there choice that’s coming this year, I think it will be one of ABC’s series. The innovative take on fairy tales is the most likely to take that surprise slot, though Emily Van Camp could earn praise for Revenge. With The Playboy Club out of the way, Pan Am‘s chances for distinguishing itself have improved considerably.