Tonight is the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, which inevitably means it’s the 72nd year in a row where fans of TV and cinema get pissed off that their favorite show/movie/performer didn’t get the proper recognition in marble and gold statuette form. The ceremony, which works as sort of a de facto primer for the Academy Awards (and the Emmys to a lesser degree), has definitely made some weird choices over the years, especially in hindsight.
And so we raise our glasses in jeering five of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s worst choices for Best TV Series, in both the comedy/musical and drama categories. I guess it’s a testament to the Globes that this number is so limited, although I could easily make compartmentalized soapbox arguments. Maybe next year. But for now, let’s think back to a time before Ryan Murphy became synonymous with WTF.
Nip/Tuck (2004)Back in 2004, the world was introduced to bizarro plastic surgeons Sean McNamara and Julian Troy, two men for whom libidos and luxury were life forces. (Which of course leads to a sex doll sex scene.) I will gladly cop to falling in love with this series for its first few seasons, but things were obviously cascading off the rails as the Carver killer plotline was winding down, and each successive season seemed like a parody of everything before it. But no one could have known that going into it, when Sean and Julia were still seemingly a happy couple in Miami, and Matt wasn’t the worst character on TV. So I have no gripes with it being nominated, but winning?
What Should Have Won: Similarly, no one could have known that the also-debuting-that-year Lost would become a meandering frolic through empty mythos, but that series’ first season makes for a much better revisit than the sudsy excess of Nip/Tuck. And if not Lost, how about Deadwood or The Sopranos?
Cybill (1995)Cybill’s first season Golden Globe win is more mind-blowing to me than it is mildly infuriating, as this CBS sitcom came during the height of NBC’s Must See TV Thursdays. How popular was this comedic block? Cybill’s four nominee competitors – Friends, Seinfeld, Fraiser and Mad About You – were all a part of the Must See TV lineup at different points of their runs, and none of them were in a creative, critical or ratings slump. Cybill was a good show that I may well think is great now if I rewatched as an older person who can better appreciate the humor, but the shadow of its dark horse win still looms all these years later. One thing’s impossible to argue, though: now that Psych is over, TV needs Cybill Shepherd to come back to network television for a lead role.
What Should Have Won: I’m a Seinfeld fanatic through and through, but arguments could be made for any of the others.
Party of Five (1995)A CW series before The CW was even a glint in anyone eyes, Party of Five jumpstarted the careers of its young stars, who all went on to more popular projects. Though the Fox drama’s ratings were good by today’s standards, and its storylines equally melodramatic by today’s standards, the show still snagged a nomination and win for its debut season, which played a huge part in keeping it on the air for five more seasons. But the fact that it won out over Chicago Hope, ER, Murder One and NYPD Blue is worth its own nomination in a Best Comedy category. I mean, Beverly Hills 90210 and Felicity also got nominated in other years, giving young people their place in the Globes, but neither of them actually won.
What Should Have Won: My personal choice is Murder One, because Steven Bochco, but really, put a blindfold on and throw a dart and you’ll hit a better show.
Desperate Housewives (2004)A series that definitely overstayed its neighborly welcome, ABC’s female-fronted Desperate Housewives started off extremely strong, and its debut season’s Golden Globe win was hardly a surprise at the time. (Nor was it a surprise for its second year, when I could also fight for Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Season 5.) But looking back, I can’t help but feel like Desperate Housewives’ success was a bit much, and that its win was as much a high heel in the coffin of Sex and the City as it was a victory in its own right.
What Should Have Won: I’ll be preaching “Arrested Development for all the awards” until I’m blue in the face. (Literally and figuratively.) In its inarguably brilliant Season 2, Arrested Development hadn’t yet been dealt its hardest blows from Fox and this remains one of the most rewatchable and quotable seasons of any TV show at any point in time.
60 Minutes (1978)Now, I get that the Golden Globes have always been pretty frugal with their categories, which makes their supporting actor/actress categories more aggravating than almost anything else in the pop culture awards field. But it’s still pretty odd that the news magazine 60 Minutes got a nomination for the 1978 season – one that was refused by creator Don Hewitt (according to Wikipedia anyway) – and even odder that it actually won the award. (Neither happened before or since.) It was the first time Andy Rooney joined the show for his less intense last-minute segments, so maybe everyone thought that was enough to re-assess what we consider “drama” in labeling TV series.
What Should Have Won: Considering Battlestar Galactica’s nomination is still one of the only times the sci-fi genre has been represented, it would have been great for it to have earned the top prize. But even if Lou Grant had won, as it did the following year, I don’t think anyone would have complained.
Head to the next page for a bonus choice involving a win-worthy series that wasn’t even nominated.
Bonus Rant: Mad Men (2008)I’ve never been a fan of Mad Men, as the entirety of it bores me despite all of the small-scale brilliance. But this is less a dispute with the smoke-heavy drama beating out Dexter, House, In Treatment and True Blood – because that all makes a certain amount of sense – and more a stupefied “huh?” directed at the HFPA for completely leaving The Shield out of the nominee list altogether. In its seventh and final season, Shawn Ryan’s dark and gritty crime drama tied up all of its frayed ends in a masterful way that serialized TV dramas so rarely pull off with dignity left intact. It should have easily been there instead of any of the non-Mad Men choices, and it arguably should have won everything. Why has no one brought a Strike Team in to take care of this problem?