For a new TV series with a fresh-faced cast, it can often be hard to breakthrough come Emmy time, regardless of the critical clout. Emmy voters tend to stick to the tried and true, which explains Modern Family's stranglehold on the comedy categories for the last, oh, million years. But with the Golden Globes, it's a bit of a different story.
With the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's announcement of the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations this morning, they've only reinforced the notion that if a show is new and its lead is a breakout, it's likely to get some Globes love. This has long been a known aspect of the HFPA's nominating style (Hello, 2000's nod for a young Frankie Muniz for the first season of surprise hit Malcolm in the Middle!), but with cable and streaming networks contributing to the greatest programming boom ever, the TV landscape is ripe with nomination possibilities from the farthest of left fields.
And boy has the HFPA embraced it.
Between this year and last, the TV categories have moved beyond the occasional newcomer to being absolutely overcome with names the average TV-goer might not be immediately familiar with. Last year, it was The Affair's Ruth Wilson, Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez, and Fargo's Allison Tolman who scooped up the newcomer nods for their critically beloved—but not massively rated—first seasons. (Wilson and Rodriguez even scored the wins in their categories, with The Affair talking home Best Drama and Transparent, also a brand-new series, walking away with Best Comedy.)
And while we've still got a bit of a wait for find out who's taking home the hardware from this year's nominated class, the list of newbies is impressive and unprecedented. On the actor side, Master of None star Aziz Ansari and Mozart in the Jungle's Gael Garcia Bernal scored noms for Comedy, Mr. Robot's Rami Malek and Narcos' Wagner Moura were recognized for Drama, and Show Me a Hero's Oscar Isaac nabbed one for Limited-Series or TV Movie. As for actresses? Outlander's Caitriona Balfe was recognized for Drama, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom scored one for Comedy, and Flesh and Bone's Sarah Hay and American Horror Story: Hotel star Lady Gaga (!) nabbed nods for Limited-Series or TV Movie.
As for series nominations, the Best Drama field is almost entirely TV shows that were not eligible last year because they didn't even exist yet. Mr. Robot, Narcos, Outlander and Empire edged out the likes of Mad Men (in its final year of eligibility, no less), last year's reigning champ The Affair, and mainstay Downton Abbey. (You know it's an interesting category when Game of Thrones represents the Best Drama establishment.) In Best Comedy, Hulu scored its first Golden Globe nomination ever for Casual, while Mozart in the Jungle joined its streaming sibling Transparent in representing Amazon Video.
Like we said, a big year for newcomers.
So, what is it about the Golden Globes that's driving them to be the anti-Emmys? It's hard to say whether the HFPA possesses a drive to shine a light on deserving talent the Emmys otherwise might ignore or if they're just consistently bowled over by the shiny and new, but their willingness to celebrate fresh and exciting work has certainly helped fledgling shows find bigger audiences. Jennifer Garner's 2002 win for Alias' first season and America Ferrera's win in 2007 for Ugly Betty's debut season, as well as a win for the show, helped to elevate those ABC series' profiles. And, beloved as it may be, ratings-challenged Jane the Virgin may owe a great deal to Rodriguez's win at last year's ceremony.
Whether any of this year's newbies take home any hardware or not, they've each gotten a profile boost that'll bring a few new eyeballs to their shows, at least. And in this Too Much TV era, that's a win in and of itself.
What do you think about the HFPA's overwhelming love for newbies? Sound off in the comments below.
The Golden Globes, hosted by Ricky Gervais, air Sunday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)