Golden Globes TV nominations: Why are the choices so smart, yet so frustrating?

The TV nominations for the Golden Globes were such a predictable mishmash of well-deserved semi-surprises, the usual suspects, and dismaying disappointments that, like the SAG nominations yesterday and the Emmy nominations perennially, it makes me wonder two things: Why do I — and you; we — get so het up about awards, and is America ever going to reward John Noble?

I have to admit, whenever a list of nominations is announced, I comb through it, looking for shows that line up with my own taste, try to apply professional reasoning about why certain shows and actors were picked or ignored, but mostly just feel frustrated even when people I enjoy are rewarded. This is particularly true of the Globes, which have a recent history of picking more adventurous shows over the Emmys, which still reward mostly network fare and old favorites that are frequently past their prime.

The Globes TV noms are at once both heartening and irritating. First, as my colleague Jeff Labrecque has pointed out: No Breaking Bad????? Jolly good for Bryan Cranston being nominated, but no nomination for the series? And in the supporting actor category, when the Globes had the imagination to single out Tim Robbins for his work in the underrated Cinema Verite, where was the nod to Aaron Paul or Giancarlo Esposito? (On the comedy side, intriguingly, none of this past Emmy Awards comedy winners — Jim Parsons, Melissa McCarthy, Ty Burrell, or Julie Bowen — were Globe-nominated.)

Good for the Globes to recognize Damian Lewis (Homeland), Madeleine Stowe (Revenge), and that crazy gang tearing up the joint on Downton Abbey. But, to single out just one as an example: The best actor in a comedy category was a particularly egregious hash. Airline favorite Alec Baldwin and Episodes‘ Matt LeBlanc make sense, but David Duchovny and Thomas Jane? Duchovny and Jane are perfectly good actors, of course, but their shows are very weak vehicles for them, and limit the quality of their performances.

This last point is key to one source of disappointment. While the actors themselves do their best, it’s difficult to cheer when the shows they’re in are subpar. To take one example: Callie Thorne is a fine performer, but to get nominated for the thoroughly mediocre Necessary Roughness? It leaves one feeling that the only appropriate response is the nomination equivalent of one hand clapping…

There are shows that receive too little attention (only Amy Poehler from the great, deep-cast Parks and Recreation? no Community at all? Justified, anyone?) and those that the Globes lavished extravagantly. (I liked The Hour well enough, but three nominations?)

And then, of course, there’s my beloved, neglected Fringe. Don’t you think that somewhere there’s an alternate time line in which Community‘s Abed and Fringe‘s Walter are right now sipping champagne at having won the Golden Globes already?

Twitter: @kentucker

For more:

Golden Globe TV nominations surprises and snubs: ‘Homeland,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘New Girl’

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