These shows once had a lock on awards; now they're not even getting nominated. What does it all mean?
The biggest surprises in today's Golden Globes nominations? Two big names we DIDN'T hear: "Mad Men" and "Glee."
"Mad Men" was probably the lesser shock, and we did hear Jon Hamm's name; he got his fifth Lead Actor nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press. But after four straight years as a contender for Best Television Series - Drama, the show on which Hamm plays conflicted ad man Don Draper got passed over. Is this a sign that the critically acclaimed period piece has lost its awards edge?
It could be. Some viewers lost patience with the show last season, citing a lack of focus…or too much focus on Don's marriage and Megan, a character who can seem more beloved by the writers than useful to the show's stories. "Mad Men" felt unwieldy at times.
[Related: The full list of Globe nominees, right here!]
Or the signs may have appeared even earlier; "Mad Men" was nominated for best TV drama last year, as usual, but failed to win for the first time (it lost to "Boardwalk Empire"). The show was shut out of Emmy gold last fall. And it's scored Globe nominations for its actors in the past -- Hamm is usually nominated, and both January Jones as Betty and Elisabeth Moss as Peggy have picked up nominations as well -- but only Hamm has ever won, and only once, several years ago. Awards can sometimes come down to what's new, fresh, and buzzy, and "Mad Men" isn't the new kid on the block anymore... or the dominant critical darling it once was.
Hamm probably won't win this year, either, as the category looks to be a showdown between Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and the man who broke Cranston's stranglehold on the lead-actor Emmy, Damian Lewis ("Homeland"), with Lewis prevailing.
But at least "Mad Men" got nominated for something. "Glee," more of a cultural sensation than a critical favorite, has grown increasingly uneven over the last season or so -- and the Hollywood Foreign Press indicated that they've noticed, not nominating the one-time awards-bait show in a single category.
[Related: Check out 'Glee' photos]
Like "Mad Men," the downward trend for "Glee" isn't a new one. The show won Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy twice in a row, and gave actors Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch statues two years ago (Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele also got noms), but leaner times started last year: no acting nods, and a nomination for the Best Series category that "Modern Family" snatched away. And this year "Glee" got nada -- "Smash" took its spot as the musical representative.
[Related: Watch a sneak peek of Season 2 of 'Smash']
So what does it mean? Have the shows gotten bad? Some might say so, at least about "Glee," or admit that "Mad Men" was off its game last year, but it's not necessarily the shows themselves. It could be the Globes's reputation for surprises and the looser and more unpredictable vibe at the ceremony that has the Hollywood Foreign Press nominating newer, more talked-about movies and television shows instead of older favorites.
Could these two old-guard winners have more awards in them? Sure. Like the man said, maybe next year.