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Times Are Changing for Broadcast Television as Golden Globe® Nominations Hit the Airwaves

December 9, 2019
4 min read time

If seeing your social media and RSS feeds overrun with Top 10 lists wasn’t indication enough, the Golden Globes® are here to signal that it’s officially awards season. The next two months will be filled with speculation about who will take home the big prize as awards’ contenders fill the cinemas and movies that didn’t make the cut slowly disappear onto VOD. So, let’s take a look at which shows and movies came up big:


Before today, Netflix has never had a Best Picture nomination at the Golden Globes. Now they have four. The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, and Dolemite Is My Name were all nominated for Best Picture, although The Two Popes seems to have snuck in there because Parasite wasn’t eligible for the main award and had to compete in the Foreign Language category. Other nods of note include Little Women and Richard Jewell only getting nominations for Saoirse Ronan, Kathy Bates and Best Score between them, and Meryl Streep breaking her own record with a 34th nomination. She could have gotten a 35th, but Netflix was already spread thin on campaigning and left The Laundromat behind. The Irishman and Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood were just behind Marriage Story with five nominations each.


On the TV side of nominations, the five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and CW) were all shut out from the Golden Globes for the first time in the award show’s history. There’s usually one newcomer like The Good Doctor or This Is Us that the Hollywood Foreign Press loves to throw nominations at, but this year, it was all Netflix and HBO, which took 17 and 15 nominations respectively. The big winners on the TV side included Netflix’s The Crown and Unbelievable, and HBO’s Chernobyl, which tied for the most nominations at four, and Apple+’s The Morning Show. The Golden Globes love themselves some celebrities and awarded the star-studded show with three nominations for Best TV Drama, and for both Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, even though the show has been a rare sight at awards and year-end lists so far. The biggest surprise was the near shut-out for Game of Thrones. After its final season took home the Emmy® for Best Drama Series, people were expecting a repeat at the Globes. Now, Kit Harrington is the show’s only shot for gold.


As comedy runtimes dwindle with the emergence of the short-form series (see Special on Netflix or State of the Union on Sundance), dramas are following suit thanks to streaming services that don’t have strict time slots they’re required to fill. The discussion around half-hour dramas was previously relegated to shows that combined comedy with dramatic moments—but are still hilarious (think Atlanta on FX or Barry on HBO). But with the arrival of Sorry for Your Loss on Facebook and Homecoming on Amazon last year, writers Kit Steinkellner and Sam Esmail proved that drama can be handled successfully in as little as 24 minutes. Netflix has dabbled, with shows like The OA and Maniac running as low as 26 minutes and as high as 71 minutes, and Starz has always had a slot for half-hour series like The Girlfriend Experience, Sweetbitter and Vida, even though those balance comedy with the drama to fit more into a hybrid genre. But two signature shows on brand-new streaming services may just change the game.

I don’t think anybody was expecting to see The Mandalorian episodes running in the 30-minute range, but that show proves how much action can be crammed into a shorter runtime. Then, Apple+ dropped its best reviewed show to date with Servant, and the Tony Basgallop-written and M. Night Shyamalan directed series used its half-hour runtime to its advantage. Most shows in the mystery genre tend to lose their suspense as they near the hour mark, but the shorter runtime allows the creative team behind Apple+’s most talked about show to never run out of steam. Hopefully more writers are allowed to experiment with runtimes on both dramas and comedies so that the length of the show fits the content, and not the other way around.


While HBO’s overnight ratings are not nearly dire—its 0.23 average in the 18-49 demographic puts it well above cultural phenomenons Succession and Euphoria—it was not the Game of Thrones or Big Little Lies-level hit the network was hoping for. Well, good news for HBO. Positive word of mouth from critics and viewers has helped push Watchmen to become the most popular new show on premium cable this year. While networks are always reluctant to disclose streaming and delayed viewing numbers for fear of having to pay the people who make these shows popular, HBO did say that live viewership for Watchmen only accounts for 10% of the total, with the pilot having now been watched by almost 10 million people.

Word of the show’s creative storytelling devices, like a flashback episode seen through the eyes of a woman reliving her grandfather’s life after swallowing a bottle of his memory pills, and social media discussion around the show have caused more viewers to give the show a shot. Just don’t hold out hope for another season, creator Damon Lindelof recently told Kim Masters on KCRW’s The Business podcast that the series is designed as a one and done. But he hopes another creator may pick up where he left off and tell a new story from the Watchmen world.


After the disappointing 2016 reboot Ghostbusters, which made $229 million worldwide on a $150 million budget, Sony decided not to give up on one of its biggest franchises that isn’t owned by Marvel. Considering the studio redesigned an entire building on its lot to resemble the firehouse headquarters of the ghost fighting quartet, that’s probably not a bad idea. So, Sony hired Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno) to write and direct a sequel to the original two films that were written and directed by his father, Ivan Reitman. Very little has been revealed about the movie outside of the teaser trailer that announced it earlier this year, but now we know a little bit more as Sony officially titled the movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife and says it will follow Carrie Coon and her two children after they discover her father was an original Ghostbuster. We don’t know which Ghostbuster was her father—all the original actors are returning!—and we don’t know what Paul Rudd is doing there, although I’m hoping he’s a villain because we haven’t had a villainous Paul Rudd since Clueless when he played a guy in his 20s trying to sleep with his underage sister. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is slated for release on July 10th, 2020.


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