Excitement is building quickly for the Golden Globes, which will take place this Sunday. A few things have already been revealed, such as that Oprah will be receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award – always one of the highlights of the show. What many television lovers will be most looking forward to, however, is the race for Best Television Series in the drama category. Effectively TV equivalent of “Best Picture” honors, this is the big prize of the evening – and the 2018 Globes have a particularly compelling batch of nominees.
Let’s look briefly at the five contenders ahead of this weekend’s action.
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Crown” missed out on the same award at the Emmys this year, when many might have thought the Netflix historical drama might have a shot. That’s because it actually did win this very award a year ago at the 2017 Globes, and it feels just as beloved now as it did then. Here’s an interesting note to keep in mind where “The Crown” is concerned, however: there hasn’t been a repeat winner of Best Television Series (Drama) at the Golden Globes since “Homeland” in 2011 and 2012. That isn’t that long a streak, but in an era dominated by long-running hits like “Breaking Bad” and “Game Of Thrones,” it is somewhat unusual. It certainly makes “The Crown” feel like a long shot.
“Game Of Thrones” (HBO)
It’s hard to tell if “Game Of Thrones” is past its heyday or nearing its peak. On the one hand, the book series seems to have hit a wall, the tone of the show has changed considerably, and any drama entering its eighth season is bound to inflict some degree of fatigue. On the other, it’s still expanding. “Game Of Thrones” has a whopping finale still ahead, as well as a slew of spinoffs expected. An article published late in 2017 noted that it’s just now slashing its way to fame via online casino gaming (actually a pretty major entertainment category these days), and it was once again the most pirated series last year. A Best Television Series might be more likely after the finale season – but because of all this continued popularity, no one would be surprised to see the series win on Sunday.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
It’s hard to say there’s a definitive favorite in this category this year, but if there is one it’s probably “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The shocking dystopian Hulu series won the Emmy in the same category, and has been lifted up as such a powerful social statement for our current times that honoring it just seems appropriate. Additionally, this feels like a show that will never have the same impact as it had in its first season. It’s no disrespect to the show to suggest its impact comes from the setting and conditions it presents rather than the actual story arc (which is still excellent). Thus, one could imagine “The Handmaid’s Tale” remaining very strong while still having a diminishing impact following season one. Now is the time to honor what it brought to the world of television and social commentary, which strengthens its case for the Golden Globe.
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
For the most part, season two of “Stranger Things” earned a slightly weaker reception than the debut season. Nevertheless, it was still one of the biggest TV events of 2017, and it was definitely good enough to keep the excitement rolling. There are definitive plans for a third season, and the “Stranger Things” empire seems to be expanding as well. There’s already a mobile game associated with the series, as well as a free VR game fans can download, and the kids from the series are becoming bigger stars by the day (and always acquit themselves well on the red carpet). “Stranger Things” probably doesn’t have the inside track for this award, but it’s still enough of a feel-good series to steal a win against the odds.
“This Is Us” (NBC)
“This Is Us” is in an interesting spot for the Golden Globes. It would certainly appear to have a chance of winning, despite being the undeniable black sheep of the group. This is a drama that has nothing to do with history, sci-fi, fantasy, or dystopian futures – it’s merely a family story that ordinary people can relate to, and that’s always been where it draws its strength. Additionally, “This Is Us” is the lone nominee from a traditional cable network, which speaks to the direction of television these days. Because it’s such an outlier, “This Is Us” is the hardest nominee to project in this wonderful, loaded category.