Silliness reigns with 2013 Golden Globe TV nominations

I ordinarily like to begin my analysis of the Golden Globe TV nominations by going on at length about the sketchiness of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and their complete disinterest in and lack of qualification for making any kind of judgment of American television.

This year, though, I think all I need to tell you is the following:

1)The HFPA didn’t think “Mad Men” was one of the five best dramas on television in 2012.

2)The HFPA thinks “The Newsroom” was one of the five best dramas on television in 2012.

3)The HFPA thinks “Smash” was a better show than “Parks and Recreation” and “Louie.”

4)The HFPA thinks Hayden Panettiere is giving one of the five best performances by a supporting actress in all of television.

So, yeah. The Golden Globes!

Do not attempt to find any kind of logic in their decision-making. Just enjoy the massive amounts of unintentional comedy they provide us, year after year after silly year.

For the sake of amusement, though, let’s take a category-by-category look at their ongoing series nominations:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”

Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”

Sarah Paulson, “Game Change”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

Because the HFPA only cares about the TV nominations as an excuse to get more actors into the ballroom, and to help fill out the middle section of the awards show, they don’t even bother with separate supporting categories by genre. Instead, you have a sitcom actress like Vergara competing against a dramatic actress like Panjabi and an actress in a TV-movie like Paulson. And you have them all competing against Panettiere, who isn’t terrible on “Nashville,” by any means, but fits the Piper Perabo/Keri Russell/Pia Zadora tradition of the Golden Globes being drawn to attractive young starlets whenever possible.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Max Greenfield, “New Girl”
Ed Harris, “Game Change”
Danny Huston, “Magic City”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”

Nice as it may be to see Patinkin recognized by the HFPA when the Emmys didn’t, this is a category that for some reason features Danny Huston – there entirely because he’s part of a showbiz dynasty – over Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Jared Harris, John Slattery and Peter Dinklage, to name just a few potential superior nominees from the world of drama.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

This is an almost shockingly reasonable collection of nominees, particularly since this would have been a very easy place for HFPA to include Katharine McPhee, who fits their young beauty requirements and is part of a show they approved of otherwise.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Louis C.K., “Louis”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
The HFPA loves movie stars doing TV (hence Cheadle), and they love inside-showbiz stories, particularly one like “Episodes” that’s told from the point of view of foreigners struggling to understand the mysterious ways of Hollywood (hence LeBlanc). That Louis C.K. was nominated is, frankly, far more stunning than any of the year’s goofier nominations, as his show is the exact opposite (small, cheap, intentionally grubby) of the sort of thing HFPA tends to go for.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Connie Britton, “Nashville”
Glenn Close, “Damages”
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

HFPA never knew that “Friday Night Lights” existed, but now that Britton’s in an inside-showbiz show? Come on down, y’all! Besides Mrs. Coach, it’s a pretty straightforward collection of nominees, including Globe perennial Close for the final “Damages” season.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

This is the exact same list that the Screen Actors Guild gave us on Wednesday with their nominations.

Best Television Series – Comedy Or Musical

“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family”

Again, “Episodes” was practically designed to get Golden Globe nominations. and while the presence of “Smash” here over “Parks,” “Louie,” “New Girl” (which was nominated last year) and a host of other shows is dumb, you can take a positive spin on things by assuming it just took the slot that last year went to “Glee,” and that it was the excellent “Girls” that kept any other comedies from crashing the party.

Best Television Series – Drama

“Breaking Bad”
“Boardwalk Empire”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Newsroom”

And here we have it. The HFPA giveth, by finally acknowledging the overall excellence of “Breaking Bad” (until now, Cranston was the show’s only nominee). And it taketh away, by elbowing “Mad Men” out of the category in favor of “The Newsroom,” which gets in entirely because of its movie pedigree (Aaron Sorkin creating, Scott Rudin producing, Daniels starring, etc.). And “Game of Thrones” was also bumped after being nominated last year, while “American Horror Story” was shifted over to the movies & minis categories but still wasn’t nominated there. (Only Jessica Lange.)

What did everybody else think? What was the most ridiculous omission or inclusion with these nominations?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at