A complete rundown of Golden Globe contenders
Aliens in America
Millions of viewers: 2.1
Exec producers: Tim Doyle, Moses Port, David Guarascio
Cast: Dan Byrd, Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Lindsey Shaw, Scott Patterson
Why it could land a nom: “Aliens” acknowledges ignorance while preaching tolerance, all without exploitation. Political and social comedy in a sitcom for teenagers and their parents is worthy of notice where bland often rules.
Maybe not: Hardly making a ripple in the Nielsens, program’s viewership is only slightly larger than the HFPA voting body. Script quality has been inconsistent.
Back to You
Millions of viewers: 6.9
Exec producers: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, James Burrows
Cast: Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Fred Willard, Ty Burrell, Josh Gad, Ayda Field, Laura Marano
Why it could land a nom: With comedy pros Grammer and Heaton, the show seems to have been created with awards glory in mind. A high comfort level came with the territory. Jokes fly with the precision of a Tom Brady spiral.
Maybe not: From time to time, the show slips into a rut of one double entendre after another, as if it had nothing better to offer. While consistently funny, it would be nice to see the characters grow a bit and not make the same mistakes week after week.
The Big Bang Theory
Millions of viewers: 9.1
Exec producers: Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady
Cast: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
Why it could land a nom: As one of the few multicamera comedies to launch this fall, it’s got both mainstream appeal and critical praise — an impressive double bill. Strong out of the gate, Lorre and Prady have made sure it continues to evolve. And newcomer Jim Parsons makes us laugh every week.
Maybe not: The skein might strike some as too juvenile to be worthy for recognition. Plus, Lorre’s “Two and a Half Men” has never been nominated by the HFPA for best comedy series and there’s some bad blood between him and the org, meaning “Bang” could face an uphill battle.
Millions of viewers: 9.2
Exec producers: Cynthia Cidre, Jonathan Prince, Jimmy Iovine, Polly Anthony, Peter Noah
Cast: Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo, Nestor Carbonell, Rita Moreno, Paola Turbay, Eddie Matos, Michael Trevino, Lina Esco, Sam Carman, Alona Tal, Polly Walker
Why it could land a nom: A cast featuring Smits, Elizondo, Moreno, Walker and Carbonell is one to be reckoned with: familiar and popular names covering new terrain. The international flavor of the cast could also play a factor with voters who are all foreign born.
Maybe not: Critical buzz for the show has been limited — the core storylines haven’t resonated as much as producers would have hoped, and ratings have fallen sharply after initial positive numbers.
Millions of viewers: 8.4
Exec producers: Josh Schwartz, McG
Cast: Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster
Why it could land a nom: With its appealing cast and eventful stories, the show is upstaging Monday mate “Heroes” as the Peacock’s most fun ride. One of the biggest success stories in the 2007-08 movement to reduce dependence on serialization.
Maybe not: Competing as a drama against much more serious competition, there’s a silliness to the program that might not allow it to push out heavyweight rivals.
Dirty Sexy Money
Millions of viewers: 9.5
Exec producers: Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti, Josh Reims, Matthew Gross, Bryan Singer
Cast: Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, Jill Clayburgh, William Baldwin, Zoe McLellan, Glenn Fitzgerald, Natalie Zea, Samaire Armstrong, Seth Gabel, Blair Underwood
Why it could land a nom: Offers a zesty dose of morality-questioning drama and droll comedy. Sutherland in particular is mesmerizing, and Krause is a winning anchor who has proved here that, even when he’s not in something as stellar as “Six Feet Under,” he can raise the level of any project.
Maybe not: Some plots work better than others — the bubblegum storyline surrounding the Darling twins was mostly a turnoff — leading to a feeling that this was can-miss TV. “Sexy” almost feels like two separate shows sometime: a great one with Krause at the center of the storm and another with paper-thin characters we can barely tolerate.
Millions of viewers: 2.6
Exec producers: Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Bob Levy, Leslie Morgenstein, Felicia Henderson
Cast: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgely, Chace Crawford, Taylor Momsen, Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle
Why it could land a nom: For those looking to give the CW some Globes love, they might find no better option than this youth-infused primetime soap. Its ratings have risen over time, peaking just before Thanksgiving.
Maybe not: Most of those ratings have come from the teen and twentysomething set, and it’s hard to imagine some of the more veteran HFPA voters giving this show much kudos attention.
Millions of viewers: 8
Exec producers: Rand Ravich, Far Shariat, David Semel, Dan Sackheim
Cast: Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi, Robin Weigert, Adam Arkin
Why it could land a nom: Trying to tap into his “House”-like sensibilities, Lewis is fruit-eating perfection in both crime-solving present-day cases and the big one — his conviction for a murder he didn’t commit. Straight-shooter Shahi is a nice complement to Lewis’ eccentricities.
Maybe not: Ratings have been brutal, and talents such as “Deadwood” great Weigert, along with TV vet Arkin, feel criminally underused. Trying to increase the big-picture arc, rather than keeping it in procedural mode, would also help.
Millions of viewers: 13.1
Exec producers: Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Marti Noxon, Mark Gordon, Mark Tinker
Cast: Kate Walsh, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, Audra McDonald, Paul Adelstein, KaDee Strickland, Chris Lowell
Why it could land a nom: Riding the coattails of “Grey’s Anatomy” got it instant sampling, but the series still had to show it merited airing at 9 p.m. Wednesdays, perhaps the most competitive timeslot across the networks. Judging by the ratings, it has. Don’t underestimate the power of Shonda Rhimes and Kate Walsh …
Maybe not: … even in the face of less-than-enthusiastic marks from the critics and even “Grey’s Anatomy” fans.
Millions of viewers: 10.6
Exec producers: Bryan Fuller, Barry Sonnenfeld, Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Brooke Kennedy
Cast: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene
Why it could land a nom: Boldly colored and completely unlike anything else on TV, “Daisies” backed its strong first impression with endlessly creative story premises. Week after week, it has had substance to back up its style, and relationships between the characters are already evolving in nuanced ways.
Maybe not: Some found the style a turnoff they couldn’t get past, judging that the show was trying too hard to be liked. However successful the show is, it’s not a phenomenon in the sense of a “Heroes” or “Ugly Betty” were last year.
Millions of viewers: 3
Exec producers: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Mark Gordon, Deborah Spera, Tom Spezialy
Cast: Bret Harrison, Ray Wise, Tyler Labine, Missy Peregrym, Rick Gonzalez, Valarie Rae Miller
Why it could land a nom: Series pilot buoyed by a charismatic supporting performance from Wise, who seems to be on everyone’s list of favorites this fall, captured the fancy of critics.
Maybe not: Subsequent episodes haven’t delivered on the show’s promise, and not even the more widely renowned “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” ever made a successful deal with the Golden Globes devil.
Millions of viewers: 14.1
Exec producers: Donald Todd, Peter Traugott
Cast: Christina Applegate, Jennifer Esposito, Kevin Dunn, Melissa McCarthy, Tim Russ, Barry Watson, Jean Smart
Why it could land a nom: “Dancing With the Stars” lead-in reunited ABC viewers with Applegate and Smart, two TV favorites who quickly won auds over. The numbers are impressive in a fall with very few hits, and that could be taken into account.
Maybe not: Applegate playing a recovering amnesiac might have been more high concept than high comedy. It’s a one-joke premise that doesn’t seem to have anywhere to go.