The Golden Globes Television Awards: The Good, the Bad, and the Puzzling

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The Golden Globes are primarily known for the movie awards they give out, but this year's ceremony showed the increasing influence of the other medium the awards honor: television. Ricky Gervais, a comedian made famous being the man behind the TV hit The Office, hosted. Aaron Sorkin, a writer whose career has been marked by success on television as much as on film, was honored for his movie The Social Network. And a wide range of television shows, from the peppy, sunny Glee to the dark, gritty Boardwalk Empire, won awards, offering a testament to the rich variety of programming on the air today.

So what was good, bad, and puzzling about this year's Golden Globes' television awards?

The Good:

Temple Grandin, the subject of the much-acclaimed HBO movie starring Claire Danes, first charmed us at the Emmy's last year with her sheer enthusiasm at the film's seven awards. She won our hearts again tonight with her exuberance at Claire Dane's win for best actress in a TV series or movie. The only downside to our appreciation for Grandin? The knowledge that after the upcoming SAG Awards, she won't be appearing at any more awards shows.

Glee's two acting awards—Chris Colfer for his role as the resilient Kurt Hummel and Jane Lynch for her performance as the nefarious Sue Sylvester—were also high points of the evening. Colfer's joyous shock at winning, and his pitch-perfect acceptance speech—"To all the bullies who say you can't be who you are: screw that, kids," he proclaimed—were particularly heart-warming.



And besides Glee's two three wins and the two statues Boardwalk Empire earned, no TV series won more than one award. The broad spread of the awards is a testament to the strength and range of the series on TV today. [Thanks, whovous]

Another moment that demonstrated the influence of television on the entertainment industry: the best screenplay award. Gervais introduced the two presenters—30 Rock's Tina Fey and The Office's Steve Carell—by reminding the audience that he made Carell's career by casting him as Michael Scott on the American version of his TV show. Then Fey and Carell—whose comedic talents have been been honed on television—delivered some of the best banter all night as they announced the nominees. And finally, Sorkin, whose TV series The West Wing is still missed, nearly half a decade after it went off the air, won the award for his Social Network script. Yes, it was a film award, but the real winner in this part of the ceremony was TV.

The Bad:

The Golden Globes are primarily known for its movie awards, so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the voters picked Steve Buscemi—who's primarily known for his film roles—for the best actor in a TV drama award. Still, it's a shame they didn't give the statue to Mad Men's Jon Hamm, whose always-excellent performance as Don Draper got even better this season as the character teetered between destruction and redemption.

And as deserved as Glee's acting awards were, its win for best comedy series was a big disappointment, especially considering the other nominees in the category like 30 Rock, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory. Television comedy is in the midst of a renaissance, and it would have been nice to see a show that's actually funny—rather than a series that, despite its moments of hilarity, all too often lapses into heavy-handed public service announcement territory.

The Puzzling:

The nominees for this year's best miniseries or TV movie included the Tom Hanks-produced The Pacific and the Emmy darling HBO film Temple Grandin. So which entry went home with the statue? A little-known film called Carlos, which aired on the Sundance Channel. Huh?

Read The Atlantic's commentary on the Golden Globes' film awards.

Read the full list of Golden Globes winners.

Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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