Golden Globes 2008

Globes' TV Picks: A Critic's Take

Ken Tucker applauds the HFPA for recognizing ''Mad Men'' and Tina Fey, but is still scratching his head over wins for David Duchovny and Jeremy Piven

Mad Men | MAD MEN AMC's impressive rookie series rightly beat out Grey's Anatomy , House , and The Tudors
MAD MEN AMC's impressive rookie series rightly beat out Grey's Anatomy, House, and The Tudors

Globes' TV picks: Smart or not?

Tina Fey wins as best actress in the ''musical or comedy TV series'' category? Bless those foreigners and their Hollywood Foreign Press Association awards! In a writers'-strike year, it was fantastic to see 30 Rock's writer-creator receive a Golden Globe (in name, if not in person) for the first-rate comic actress she has become on her inexplicably low-rated yet feisty, high-quality show.

Now if only Alec Baldwin could have won his second in a row in the male division of that category. He deserved it. Instead, the Foreign Press handed the prize to David Duchovny. For...oh, yeah: Californication, that tepid little Showtime dramedy. My best guess is the Foreign Press has fond memories of Duchovny's far superior X-Files, and that they like Californication's copious sex. Don't get me wrong — I'm all for the latter; it's just that Baldwin in 30 Rock is making classic comedy every week. Or rather, given the present situation, every time NBC manages to get a 30 Rock episode onto the air.

The surprise mini-sweep of the Golden Globes was achieved this year by AMC's Mad Men, which won for best drama; its lead actor, Jon Hamm, also won a Globe. The Hollywood Foreign Press, like many stateside critics, must be pretty impressed by this stylish, snazzily cynical look at the 1960s advertising industry. While I thought that (looking at the other nominees for best drama) HBO's Big Love had a strong season, and FX's Damages an intriguing debut run, I was happy to see Mad Men take the prize over The Tudors, the increasingly gimmicky House, and the flat-out awful Grey's Anatomy.

About the best-comedy prize: I certainly wished 30 Rock had won, but you'll get no quarrel from me with the Globes' choice of Ricky Gervais' Britcom Extras, shown here on HBO. It's kinda easy to see why the Foreign Press would want to give at least one major comedy trophy to an import, and Gervais' devilish examination of midlevel showbiz success and failure was a shrewd project.

The rest? Well, I shrug. In the miniseries/TV movie categories, the three wins for HBO's reeks-of-class Longford — for best actor (Jim Broadbent), best supporting actress (Samantha Morton) and for TV movie itself — were completely predictable; award bestowers are suckers for stiff-upper-lip efforts (see last year and the overrated Elizabeth I). But this year, the same network's other British import, the tense miniseries 5 Days, would have been a better choice in that last category.

But Jeremy Piven as best supporting actor for Entourage? Why now? Especially when Ted Danson gave such a finely calibrated, against-type performance in Damages? And speaking of Damages, Glenn Close's win for best actress in a drama series was well-deserved...if only Edie Falco wasn't even more deserving for the final season of The Sopranos. Like too many other people, perhaps the Foreign Press just couldn't get past that great series' head-scratcher of a finale to recall Falco's sustained excellence.

Which losing nominees do you think should have won a TV Globe? What shows' wins gladdened your heart?

Originally posted Jan 13, 2008