Some are perennials (ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and HBO's "Big Love" were once again nominated for best drama, and HBO's "Entourage" repeated its 2006 nomination for best comedy). And some are notable newcomers, including ABC's "Pushing Daisies" -- the only new network show nominated for best comedy or drama but one, like many others, whose momentum and eventual fate is in question due to the writers strike. FX continued its transformation into basic cable's HBO, as "Damages" and star Glenn Close received nods. HBO itself has awed awarders (and frustrated FCC-bound broadcasters) for years, but this time Showtime showed up as well with "The Tudors," nominated for best drama, and two candidates for best actor in a drama, Jonathon Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") and Michael C. Hall ("Dexter").
Quantity doesn't always mean quality, at least for the HFPA. Sure, "Grey's," with a 6.6/16 rating and share so far this season in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, and "House," with a 6.2/16, are bona fide hits. But the other two network nominees -- NBC's "30 Rock" (2.6/7) and ABC's "Pushing Daisies" (2.9/9) -- are more scheduling successes than breakaway hits.
And the cable competition rarely breaks a 0.5 rating, due to limited distribution (particularly Showtime and HBO's shows) or nearly unlimited showings, which dilute demos across multiple time periods. In general, the Globes got it just about right, by nominating top pop-culture output such as "Grey's" but also by not ignoring low-rated but high-quality TV.
To be sure, it's hard to predict whom the HFPA will choose. After all, Pia Zadora once won a Golden Globe, and American cultural exports don't always play across the pond (except "Baywatch," but that's a different story). But what's an award season without perspective and predictions? So here goes:
Best TV series - drama
"Big Love" (HBO)
"Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
The Tudors" (Showtime)
Who should win: This adman was mad for "Mad Men." (And the nets should be mad they don't have it. Imagine ABC running "Mad Men" after "Grey's" instead of squandering the slot with "Big Shots.")
Who will win: The bold, brash 1960 America of "Mad Men" will still have resonance for 2007 Foreign Press voters.
Best actress - drama
Patricia Arquette, "Medium" (NBC)
Glenn Close, "Damages" (FX)
Minnie Driver, "The Riches" (FX)
Edie Falco, "The Sopranos" (HBO)
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" (ABC)
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" (TNT)
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" (TNT)
Who should win: Casting directors and agents, for finally recognizing that great actresses don't forget their lines when the worry lines emerge and they leave the 18-to-34 demographic. Of those nominated: scene-stealer Glenn Close.
Who will win: This is the last chance for the Globes to honor "The Sopranos," so don't be surprised by a curtain call for Edie Falco.
Best actor - drama
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" (Showtime)
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" (AMC)
Hugh Laurie, "House" (Fox)
Bill Paxton, "Big Love" (HBO)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors" (Showtime)
Who should win: Contradicting his name, Jon Hamm slowly reveals understated Donald Draper as a complex man in supposedly simple times in one of many breakout performances on "Mad Men."
Who will win: The HFPA honored Englishman Hugh Laurie last year. This time it will stay stateside with Jon Hamm.
Best TV series - musical or comedy
"30 Rock" (NBC)
"Pushing Daisies" (ABC)
Who should win: "30 Rock" rocks, as a both intellectual and slightly slapstick comedy.
Who will win: "Entourage" will upset Emmy-award winner "30 Rock."
Best actress - musical or comedy
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" (ABC)
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" (ABC)
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" (NBC)
Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies" (ABC)
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" (Showtime)
Who should win: Tina Fey, the thinking man's sex symbol.
Who will win: In a year (and a town) with a lot of sympathy for writers, scribe-turned-star Tina Fey will get the Globe.
Best actor - musical or comedy
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" (NBC)
Steve Carell, "The Office" (NBC)
David Duchovny, "Californication" (Showtime)
Ricky Gervais, "Extras" (HBO)
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies" (HBO)
Who should win: Maybe he's not the father of the year, but Alec Baldwin is the comedic TV actor of the year.
Who will win: Forget an Emmy or a Golden Globe (which he will win). The greatest praise Steve Carell has received is kudos from fellow nominee Ricky Gervais for his riff on the role Mr. Gervais created for "The Office."
Of course, some of the best drama may come from whether a host can carry an awards show without writers and whether there will be any pressure for stars not to cross the scribes in a show of union solidarity. That may only be fair, because while the Golden Globes' glitz and glamour is about the red carpet, it's black ink that brings the stories to life.