Of the 10 comedy and drama series nominated for the Golden Globes, only one in each category is a true newcomer: Freshman drama “The Morning Show” from Apple TV Plus scored a nom, as did first-season comedy “The Politician” from Netflix. Instead, it was all about the “second-season smashes,” as veteran awards consultant Richard Licata of Licata & Co says. Those shows, after all, “have been in the Golden Globe wheelhouse for a while.” With such a plethora of peak TV programming from which to choose, what proves itself to be consistently strong increasingly captures voters’ attention.
In the case of the dramatic “Big Little Lies” from HBO and “Killing Eve” from BBC America, and the comedic “Barry” from HBO and “The Kominsky Method” from Netflix, sophomore seasons brought second nominations. “Big Little Lies” first competed (and swept up statues) in the limited series/TV movie categories in 2018, but its return earlier this year pushed the show into the drama race. Meanwhile, the other three series all saw inaugural noms at the most recent ceremony, and are now drawing consecutive accolades. Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag” and HBO’s “Succession” are also second-season series earning attention from the HFPA for the first time.
“I think for any show to be special it has to have a resonance to the times. This show reflects the chaos of the last few years, plus taps into the the highly apposite topic of women’s rage,” says Sarah Barnett, president, AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, of “Killing Eve.”
The second season of “Killing Eve” not only put its two leads, Sandra Oh (who won the TV drama actress Globe last year) and Jodie Comer (who scored a TV drama actress nom this year), in each other’s company more often to ramp up the tension, but it also fleshed out supporting players including Fiona Shaw and Kim Bodnia. It’s something that, Barnett says, could only have happened in a second season, after the world was already established and the audience was along for the ride.
Something similar occurred in both “Big Little Lies” and “Succession.” The former got to explore the internal, nuanced struggles of characters dealing with grief and trauma in the wake of Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgard) demise. This meant spending a lot of alone time with Celeste (Nicole Kidman, who earned a TV drama actress nom this year after winning the limited series/TV movie actress trophy for the role in 2018) and Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz). It also allowed for the expansion of the world with Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep, who sees a supporting actress nom).
“The characters themselves — and I include Mary Louise in that — pulled Reese [Witherspoon], Liane [Moriarty], David [E. Kelley] and I back into a second season,” Kidman says. “We wouldn’t have gone ahead without this pull. And I think this is what has kept our audience watching. To me, these women are alive, so full of life — especially in their flaws and foibles.”
When it comes to “Succession,” executive producer Kevin Messick notes the unique tone created in Season 1 was “established, embraced and perfected” during the initial 10 episodes. “By the time the production for Season 2 started rolling it was like watching an all-star team of artists,” he says.
Therefore, during the second season, they could dive deeper into what makes the various members of the infamous Roy family at the center of the saga tick. But they could also enhance its ambition on the production side, delivering characters the audience “secretly loved to hate,” as Messick puts it, in opulent settings and locations perfectly befitting the media moguls.
“The second season took our cast and crew from New York City to Iceland to Lake Placid to Croatia to Scotland to the Hamptons and beyond,” Messick says. “That kind of globetrotting with such a big ensemble cast on a TV series schedule is incredibly challenging and something I think the whole team is proud of.”