Critic's Notebook: The Underdog TV Shows Deserving of Golden Globes Noms

8:00 AM 11/22/2017

by Tim Goodman

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has, in the past, been open to giving an often-ignored show the recognition it deserves. THR's Tim Goodman highlights a dozen contenders that should feel the love.

Critic's Notebook - The Underdog TV Shows - Collage - H 2017
Courtesy Photos

There was a brief, unlikely and, frankly, disagreeable period in the world of TV awards when the Golden Globes wanted to be the Emmys — in other words, serious and fair in their nominations — while the Emmy choices were tired, off-the-mark and without vision.

This was not good.

But then a couple of years ago, the Globes decided to be wacky and free-spirited again, casting off the albatross of really weighing whether a show was deserving and reverting to unabashedly loving the shiny and new. Luckily, two things happened: The Emmys seized the opportunity to reclaim its gravitas, making more forward-thinking, timely choices; and the Globes nominated a lot of deserving series along with a stash of unabashedly zeitgeist-y choices. The world was put to right.

That said, it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the 2018 Globes nominees (and winners) were the Globes-iest ever. Why not truly embrace the more out-there options — the inspired series and actors that could very well be (or already were) overlooked by Emmy voters? Rooting for the underdog is a lovely Globes tradition, so why not indulge it in this Peak TV era, honoring the many deserving people and shows that will likely miss out at the more conserva­tive Emmys?

In that spirit, here's a selection of wonderful dark horse series and actors to consider.

This story first appeared in a November stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

  • American Vandal

    Anybody can pick Stranger Things. But this spoof of crime documentaries is ridiculous, hilarious and spot-on. If you loved The Jinx or Making a Murderer, then you will get all the minute details of spoofery so evident here. Kudos to Jimmy Tatro, who turned the dumb teen trope into an art form — his performance arguably is the modern version of Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli.

  • Better Things

    Sure, the Emmys might be smart enough to do this later, but Globes voters could be first to shine a light on one of TV's most incisive series about mothers and daughters. Lauding Pamela Adlon would be right, but recognizing Celia Imrie (who plays Adlon's mother) would also be righteous.

  • Dear White People

    This would be an inspired choice, plus the electrically talented leading lady Logan Browning on the red carpet and onstage would really light the place up. Diversity never hurts in TV, and even though this is yet another Netflix series, it's one of the prolific streamer's better ones. Also, the cast is full of really talented people.

  • Fargo

    Sure, there's some Emmy bait here. It's hard to ignore one of television's most ambitious and audacious series. And a double role for Ewan McGregor seems awfully easy to the five or seven people who need to make that happen. But instead, go all in on Mary Elizabeth Winstead and David Thewlis because a) they were spectacularly entertaining, and b) every scene from each is a winner. In a big-name show, they are still not the biggest names, but they rose to the top.

  • Get Shorty

    First of all, the series is excellent (and stunningly unexpected), and the Globes love long shots. Beyond that, it might actually be criminal if the Emmys don't nominate Chris O'Dowd and Ray Romano, who are outstanding. But, if I may say so here, this would make me happier than almost anything else I'm proposing here — outside of The Leftovers' Carrie Coon, People of Earth and maybe David Thewlis.

  • GLOW

    A hundred dollars says the Emmys wait until season two (but they toss a nomination at the well-deserving Alison Brie). However, the Globes could always storm in and single the show out for best series, plus tab not only Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron (who gave career-defining performances), but Britney Young as well (who should continue to break out). I'd pop some bubbly for that.

  • The Good Place

    It's hard to go wrong with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. Who needs more than that? If you do, consider this: Broadcast television networks try really hard and — at least with comedies — they hit the target more often than not. 

  • Guerrilla

    International and domestic genius here. Limited series. Unlimited greatness from Babou Ceesay and Freida Pinto. It really does touch all of your hot buttons, Globes voters. But if you can't sell that, then toss in Idris Elba, too. Yes, he's in Guerrilla. Seriously. It tells you a little something about John Ridley's little gem that Elba is maybe the sixth or seventh actor who stands out here.

  • Halt and Catch Fire

    For series, for sure. And then you go quadruple mic drop with nominations for Kerry Bishe, Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis and Scoot McNairy. Everybody loves the Globes after this. And maybe they stop mentioning some of the crazy stuff from the past. Just sayin'.

  • The Leftovers

    It's up to you. But someone other than TV critics has to put some awards in the hands of The Leftovers, which will end 2017 at the top of numerous critics' lists. Go crazy if you want, but just make sure Carrie Coon wins. It will be everything.

  • People of Earth

    Wyatt Cenac and Ken Hall — hell, that whole cast and series — are probably more deserving than people realize. I got your back on this one. Check my archives.

  • The Tick

    Toss in Peter Serafinowicz and one starts to realize what "Globes-iest" could really mean. This might be the most joyfully silly and thus most necessary show on TV right now.

    With nominations like these, I'd watch the hell out of your awards telecast, Globes voters. It's Golden. You're welcome.