The nominations for the 2017 Golden Globes have finally been announced. Cable networks and streaming sites won the most noms in the eleven TV categories, but NBC scored three nominations for its new series This Is Us. The freshman drama has been the breakout hit of the fall TV lineup, and its numbers in the ratings and overall viewership have been more or less consistent ever since it premiered in September. The nominations for Best TV Series, Drama and Best Supporting Actress for Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz aren't huge surprises. Still, we have to wonder: are they really deserved at this point?
The Golden Globes air every year in January, which means that network TV shows especially are often only being judged by the first half of a given season. For returning programs, viewers and critics already have a general idea of how a show progresses and how the actors perform for an entire season, not to mention voters have a spring and fall season to mull over before casting ballots. Sure,even the most distinguished returning series can flop spectacularly after a stellar first half of a season, but their histories can help indicate how a second half will pick up in the new year.
Of course, precedents set by returning series can work against awards recognition for new shows. Nominating returning shows and casts can be safe choices when it comes to major awards. We already know that Lena Headey can deliver on a full season of Game of Thrones; we can't say the same for Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz on This Is Us.
Admittedly, This Is Us has been pretty phenomenal so far. The show juggles members of a compelling ensemble through trials and tribulations at different points in their lives. We've laughed, we've cried, and we've celebrated the early order for a full season that came only a week after its premiere on NBC. There's no denying that the drama has done well with the ten episodes that have aired so far. We just can't be sure how it will perform when it returns to the airwaves in 2017. The storytelling has kept plenty of people tuning in on a weekly basis, but can it keep going in the new year?
It's worth noting that This Is Us aired this fall every week with only a couple of exceptions. This Is Us only missed two nights in Fall 2017, one of which was for the vice presidential debate and the second of which was Election Night. Viewers have been able to count on catching This Is Us almost every week without schedule disruptions, and so the momentum hasn't slowed so far. In fact the momentum on that show has been a lot stronger than other breakout hits, although it is possible that the show could falter after it returns from winter hiatus--especially with the cliffhanger the show left us on at the end of Episode 10.
Personally, it seems the bigger question is regarding whether or not This Is Us will prove worthy of the Best TV Series, Drama nomination and not whether the acting nods were deserved. The show is up against serious competition with The Crown, Stranger Things, Westworld, and Game of Thrones in the Best Drama category--all shows that premiered a full season prior to the noms--and it's hard to gauge whether This Is Us will really compete over the long haul. The nomination alone is a big honor for a freshman series and we'd like to think the second half of Season 1 will be as solid as the first, but we just don't know, yet.
The cast has been one of the highlights of the series so far, and it is harder to argue that Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz didn't deserve recognition for their work in the first half of Season 1. They've elevated the already solid writing with their performances, and it's not especially likely that they'll forget how to act just because they got a winter break. If there's anything we can count on for the future of This Is Us, it's probably that the cast will continue to perform exceptionally. We can't really take issue with Moore and Metz receiving recognition for their work.
All in all, we probably shouldn't get too upset about the questionable nomination for This Is Us when only half of a season has aired. The timing may not be entirely fair in the grand scheme of TV scheduling, but the Golden Globes aren't designed strictly for TV. The Golden Globes are set up to align with the schedule for movie releases, which runs from January to December. The first ten episodes of This Is Us would be worthy of a Best Drama nomination if that had been the whole first season, so who are we to complain that the show is getting some early recognition? If the second half of the season flops, we will likely see that reflected in the Emmy nominations this fall. Hopefully the rest of the first season will be as good as what has aired so far.