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A dip into this year’s contenders pool shows equal parts vets and newbies, with all vying for a surprise Globe win.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) (Last Year’s Winner): Sophomore slump? Hardly. TV’s most lavish costume drama heads for a second bout with Globes glory after netting five nominations and two wins last year.
Boss (Starz): With its impressive pedigree — executive producer Gus Van Sant, writer Farhad Safinia, Globes vet and star Kelsey Grammer — Starz’s political corruption drama is the fall’s biggest surprise.
Breaking Bad (AMC): Absent from this year’s Emmys, the dark drug epic had the most-buzzed-about finale since The Sopranos ended. Few could argue that never-nominated creator Vince Gilligan isn’t due for gold.
Game of Thrones (HBO): The fantasy saga premiered too late for last year’s Globes; following its Emmy nomination for best drama, the genre-redefining series is poised to be this year’s The Walking Dead.
Homeland (Showtime): Voters adore previous winner Claire Danes, and the actress stuns in co-creator Howard Gordon’s (24) drama as a paranoid (or is she?) CIA agent who suspects a war hero may be a terrorist.
Steve Buscemi | Boardwalk Empire (HBO) (Last Year’s Winner): In season two the actor has delivered a delicious second serving of Nucky Thompson, the Atlantic City gangster with a heart, in all his mysterious, layered glory.
Bryan Cranston | Breaking Bad (AMC): He earned his first nomination for Bad in 2011, and Walter White — TV’s favorite good guy gone very, very bad — has once again left viewers agape: Could he really have poisoned that boy?
Peter Dinklage | Game of Thrones (HBO): The recent Emmy winner is a new face to the Globes after years of work in indie films. Voters may not be able to resist his hard-drinking womanizer Tyrion Lannister.
Kelsey Grammer | Boss (Starz): An eight-time nominee and two-time winner for Frasier, the actor is scary good as corrupt Chicago mayor Tom Kane, whose brain function and morals disintegrate with equal measure.
Damian Lewis | Homeland (Showtime): A 2002 nominee for Band of Brothers, the Brit again showcases his flawless American accent as a mysterious but affable Marine who may (or may not) be a security threat.
Claire Danes | Homeland (Showtime): A Globes winner for My So-Called Life (1995) and Temple Grandin (2011), the versatile actress nails this fall’s toughest role as the erratic, unlikable CIA agent Carrie Mathison.
Mireille Enos | The Killing (AMC): The Twin Peaks-ian murder drama was carried on the shoulders of Globes newbie Enos, whose steely, anti-sexual Seattle detective Sarah Linden redefined the female cop.
Jessica Lange | American Horror Story (FX): It’s a blast to watch 11-time nominee Lange chew the bloody scenery in her first regular series role. As diabolical neighbor Constance, she just kills in every scene.
Julianna Margulies | The Good Wife (CBS): The Emmy winner and eight-time Globes nominee is looking to score a first win here for her Alicia Florrick, whose sexual energy and lingering angst never get too soapy.
Katey Sagal | Sons of Anarchy (FX) (Last Year’s Winner): Since becoming last year’s shock winner, Sagal has enjoyed the juiciest season ever of Sons’ four-year run as morally dubious biker matriarch Gemma Morrow.
The Big C (Showtime): The second season of the Globe-nominated cancer comedy had more depth, laughs and sadness than its first installment. Star Laura Linney has simply never been better.
Glee (Fox) (Last Year’s Winner): The third season of Glee — a seven-time Globe nominee and two-time winner — hasn’t missed a note in its deft melding of melancholy and joyful musical moments.
Modern Family (ABC): The Emmy darling has never won here, and a robust third season may be the twice-nominated comedy’s ticket to Globes stardom should voters be more inclined toward half-hour comedies.
New Girl (Fox): The Globes love a new funny face, and Zooey Deschanel’s first series is one of the new season’s few solid comedies. Creator Liz Meriwether has crafted an utterly fresh entry to the race.
2 Broke Girls (CBS): Voters clearly love creator Michael Patrick King, who scored consecutive series Globes for Sex and the City. In some ways, Girls is the anti-SATC — after all, they’re broke — but just as clever.
Alec Baldwin | 30 Rock (NBC): The perennial nominee — he has nine noms and three wins — remains through five seasons the reason to tune into Tina Fey’s absurdist workplace romp. His Jack Donaghy is king.
Ty Burrell | Modern Family (ABC): The underdog actor claimed Emmy gold in September and has shattered any notion of being overshadowed by his crowded cast. His hapless Phil Dunphy is Everyfather of the Year.
Louis C.K. | Louie (FX): The Globe newbie’s dark, semi-autobiographical comedy isn’t for everyone, but no voter could deny the stand-up’s gutsy and naked (sometimes literally) reimagining of the genre.
Jim Parsons | The Big Bang Theory (CBS) (Last Year’s Winner): He’s scored two Emmys and a Globe for playing favorite uber-nerd Sheldon, proving again the enduring appeal of Chuck Lorre’s multicamera sitcom model.
Jeremy Piven | Entourage (HBO): A six-time nominee and one-time winner, Piven has one more chance to triumph for playing Ari Gold, whose final season of the series showcased a softer side of the super agent.
Laura Dern | Enlightened (HBO): Miss Golden Globe from 1982 has four nominations, two wins and a bright forecast this year for her self-help disaster Amy Jellicoe in Mike White’s dramedy.
Zooey Deschanel | New Girl (Fox): The first-time contender’s quirky charm has proved a perfect fit for television. As recent dumpee and schoolteacher Jess Day, she’s created a relatable, hilarious spin on the girl next door.
Laura Linney | The Big C (Showtime) (Last Year’s Winner): A longtime Globe favorite (five noms, two wins), Linney took her cancer-stricken Cathy Jamison to even greater — if more emotional — heights in season two.
Melissa McCarthy | Mike & Molly (CBS): The year’s breakout comedy star (Bridesmaids) and Emmy winner is just the kind of “It” girl voters love to have onstage. Her affable teacher Molly is the genre’s most endearing personality.
Amy Poehler | Parks and Recreation (NBC): It’s hard to imagine the SNL veteran never has been nominated. Three seasons into Parks, her Leslie Knope has emerged as one of the most original personalities on cable or broadcast TV.
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