Golden Globe Nominations: Despite Snubs, Quality Writing Rules

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Hallmark Channel's "A Grandpa for Christmas" received more Golden Globe nominations than ABC's "Lost."

Or NBC's "Heroes." Or "Friday Night Lights." And it tied with NBC's "The Office" and the final season of HBO's "The Sopranos."

This is, of course, a completely unfair way of looking at this morning's nomination tally. "Grandpa" received a single nod, for beloved actor Ernest Borgnine, and long-form categories are notoriously weak.

Still, whining about award season snubs is a source of universal pleasure—getting outraged on behalf of stories that match our supposedly refined personal taste.

So let's indulge for a moment: Is HBO's "Entourage" or Showtime's "Californication" really more worthy than NBC's "The Office" for a comedy series nod? Doesn't Showtime's "The Tudors" seem like it got invited to the drama series party by mistake?

In truth, the 65th annual Golden Globes television nominations list is, by and large, admirable. AMC's "Mad Men" (two noms). FX's "Damages" (four!). HBO's "Extras" (two). NBC's "30 Rock" (three). ABC's "Pushing Daisies" (three).

One expects the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's nominations to be ahead of the curve, singling out freshman and low-rated cable shows more reliably than the stalwart Emmys. But almost all the best series nominations share an emphasis on a particular quality that is, at the moment, ironic: Great writing ("Grey's Anatomy," you just dived through the closing elevator doors of this compliment, but you still get to ride it).

News stories this morning are listing Fox's popular "24" among the snubs, but the absence of a nomination for last season's jumbled storytelling is yet another sign the HFPA pays attention to a show's writing rather than rubber-stamping obvious picks. Likewise with "Ugly Betty" (which received but one nomination), which critics say has stumbled since the opening rounds of its freshman season.

As far as "A Grandpa for Christmas" ... well, one can only hope ABC Family's "Holiday in Handcuffs" isn't shut out next year.

Complete nominations list here.