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Golden Globes Preview: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

This is a year unlike any other, with numerous series delayed indefinitely due to the production shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That was felt minimally in the Emmy race this summer, and will greatly influence the year-end awards, which themselves have already been delayed. Plenty could change between now and the December 30th deadline for television entry submission, but here’s a working detailed breakdown of where things stand in this truly unprecedented year.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

THE POLITICIAN (L to R) JULIA SCHLAEPFER as ALICE CHARLES, BEN PLATT as PAYTON HOBART, LAURA DREYFUSS as MCAFEE WESTBROOK, THEO GERMAINE as JAMES SULLIVAN, and RAHNE JONES as SKYE LEIGHTON in episode 2 of THE POLITICIAN. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX/NETFLIX © 2020

Last year’s nominees

The defending champion, Fleabag, ended after its second season. Two-time nominee Barry didn’t air its third season in time for Emmy consideration, and there’s nothing to suggest it will arrive before the end of the year. The Kominsky Method, a two-time nominee and previous winner, was renewed for a third season that hasn’t been filmed yet, and it’s hard to know if it will ever end up being made given Alan Arkin’s recently-announced departure. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won this prize three years ago, and its fourth bid will have to wait given that filming isn’t slated to begin until January. That leaves us in a strange position – the only possible repeat nominee this year is The Politician, which premiered before last season’s Emmy nominees were announced and has yet to receive a third season pickup. In any other year, it wouldn’t have a shot, but it just might under these circumstances. The last time that a lineup in this category was completely different from the year before was way back in 1967.

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING, “I Wonder What Grass Tastes Like”. Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME.

Previous contenders

There are a handful of shows that have been nominated before that are eligible this cycle, but none of them seem likely to be included. Kidding was honored for its first season, which aired in 2018, and though I would be ecstatic if it did somehow get in again, the fact that it had little buzz and was cancelled after its second makes it a tremendous longshot at best. Two series ended this year and have strong histories long ago that could enable them farewell nominations, though that’s not all that common at the Globes. Modern Family was nominated from 2009 to 2013, winning once, in 2011. Will & Grace holds the incredible distinction of never having won a single bid of its thirty total nominations, which included citations in this race from 1999 to 2004 and then again for the first iteration of its revival in 2017. Another eligible past nominee is Black-ish, which contended in 2016 and 2017 and, unlike the other three shows just mentioned, is very much still on the air and even recently received an order for more episodes. Lastly, Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has the most erratic airing schedule of any show on this list, recently earned its ninth Emmy bid for Best Comedy Series, for its tenth season. Comparatively, it won this prize in 2002 for season three and was only nominated one other time, for season five in 2005. It might be a fun pick this year, but there’s no reason to expect it now when it’s so rarely been included in the past.

HBO

Possible first-time honorees

Well, let’s start with the historic Emmy winner in all televised categories: Schitt’s Creek. A new arrival to both the Emmys and SAG Awards last year for its fifth season, it swept the former for its sixth and final season. It’s never been nominated for a Globe, and while late-breaking enthusiasm is likely, this category has always favored new series. Even mid-run inclusions like Parks and Recreation, Veep, and The Good Place have happened in advance of their final seasons. Three other series joined the Emmy lineup for the first time this year and could do the same here. Dead to Me earned a bid for star Christina Applegate last year, and its second season getting a spot here would make sense. Insecure was honored with an acting nomination for creator-star Issa Rae in 2016 and 2017, and season five could crack the top category, though, as mentioned earlier, it’s less common for shows to be nominated for the first time so far into their runs. What We Do in the Shadowshas no Globe history but could be a fun choice since it has a strong fan base (its second season aired this spring). Ramy was awarded Best Actor last year for creator-star Ramy Youssef, and though it missed out on an Emmy bid for Best Comedy Series for season two, it has a solid chance to break through with Globe voters anyway. Pen15 has its loyal followers who I’m sure would be thrilled if it showed up here for season two.

Apple TV+

New series

Its Emmy haul was unimpressive, but dark comedy The Great feels like the type of show that could absolutely go over well with the HFPA. I May Destroy You has received glowing reviews and, if it’s the type of show Globe voters are in the mood for, it stands a good chance at a nomination. Apple TV Plus scored a Drama Series mention last year with The Morning Show and should be able to do the same here this year with the charming Ted Lasso, which already earned a third season pickup even though the second hasn’t even started production. Netflix offerings Never Have I Ever and Space Force might also earn support. The wild card is Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, a rare musical to be eligible in this category. Glee won this award two years in a row, Smash was a nominee, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend earned its creator-star Rachel Bloom an acting prize. That suggests Globe voters like musicals when they’re decent, and so it’s a good bet that Zoey can get in.

Current predictions:

  1. Schitt’s Creek
  2. The Great
  3. Ramy
  4. Ted Lasso
  5. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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