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TV contenders at the Golden Globes

Golden Globes Countdown - Television

Newcomers once again proved irresistibly golden to Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

Seven of this year’s 10 nominated TV series — four in the drama field and three in comedy — are freshmen, with the field comprising both high-profile entries like Showtime’s critically adored conspiracy thriller “Homeland” and relatively under-the-radar ones such as HBO’s dark laffer “Enlightened.”

The development is in keeping with the history of the org, which prides itself on being the first to shine a spotlight on new series, particularly edgier fare that can have a hard time getting noticed by the more traditional Emmys. Past broadcast-net shows like ABC’s “My So-Called Life” and current cable entries like HBO’s vampy “True Blood” have all felt the awards love first — and, in some cases, solely — from the HFPA.

Among those making an inaugural appearance on the comedy ballot is Fox’s “New Girl,” the buzzy breakout hit starring Zooey Deschanel. Rivaling “Enlightened,” the field’s biggest surprise was Showtime’s show-within-a-show laffer “Episodes,” which had a brief seven-episode run last winter.

While the noms have the potential to give the viewer-challenged Laura Dern and Matt LeBlanc vehicles much-needed profile boosts, that’s of little comfort to NBC’s “30 Rock,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” or Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” — previous nominees that were ignored this time around.

Faring better was “Glee,” the noteworthy Fox hit that has won this category two years in a row, and “Modern Family,” ABC’s two-time Emmy champ and the Globe’s most-honored comedy this time out.

The broadcast nets managed to make a decent showing in comedy but they were shut out entirely in the drama category, which was bad news for CBS’ “The Good Wife,” a nominee last year.

“It’s harder for network dramas to break through because they can’t get away with the things that cable can,” says Dalton Ross, assistant managing editor of Entertainment Weekly. “What do all of the (nominated) cable shows have in common? They get pretty damn gritty. There’s a lot of cursing, nudity and violence.”

That’s certainly the case with HBO’s Prohibition drama “Boardwalk Empire,” which exhibited the kind of staying power Nucky Thompson would appreciate, returning to the top-five drama fold for a second time after a win last year.

“Homeland,” another unflinching pay-cable entry, may have been shut out of the SAG nominations but it has the distinction of being the Globes’ drama-pack leader with three nods. FX scared up a nod for Ryan Murphy’s haunted-house spectacle “American Horror Story,” which will compete against another genre show, HBO’s George R.R. Martin fantasy “Game of Thrones.”

Starz, meanwhile, has already scored a victory of sorts by logging its first-ever series nom for “Boss,” the Kelsey Grammer-starring tale of political corruption that earned a second-season pick-up even before its premiere.

In contrast, AMC, a force in the drama race in recent years, failed to make any sort of showing, thanks to the extended hiatus of previous winner “Mad Men” and the somewhat puzzling omission of “Breaking Bad.”

” ‘Breaking Bad’ was acknowledged as having its best season yet,” says TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush. “That has to be considered the year’s most egregious snub.”

Year of couples therapy
The Contenders
Drama: Best Picture | Comedy: Best Picture | Best Director | Drama Actor/Actress | Comedy Actor/Actress