Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series: Pros and cons for ‘Atlanta,’ ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Mozart in the Jungle,’ ‘Transparent,’ ‘Veep’

Will “Mozart in the Jungle” be able to conduct itself to a second straight win as Best Comedy Series at Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony? That show competes against past champion “Transparent”, two-time nominee “Veep”, and first-time contenders “Atlanta” and “Black-ish”. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each program at taking the prize this weekend.

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One of the most talked about new shows of the year was FX’s “Atlanta,” created by and starring Donald Glover as an ambitious college dropout hoping to improve his lot by managing the music career of his estranged cousin (Brian Tyree Henry). The last four years have gone to a freshman series (“Mozart in the Jungle,” “Transparent,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “Girls”), and given that each of those titles also took an acting prize, it could be a good evening for Best Comedy Actor nominee Glover. Yet if Globe voters loved it so much, why no bids for supporting players Henry, Keith Stanfield, or Zazie Beetz?

The other first-timer in the race isn’t a new series, but one that is finally hitting its stride with Globe voters. Now in its third season, ABC’s “Black-ish” made a splash with bids for Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor (Anthony Anderson), and Best Comedy Actress (Tracee Ellis Ross), making it the most nominated TV laugher this time. Anderson plays a father struggling to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white LA neighborhood. Ross plays his doctor wife and is the daughter of past winner Diana Ross. Given, however, the Hollywood Foreign Press’ inclination towards cable and streaming (none of last year’s series nominees came from the major networks), are they ready to reward ABC for the first time since “Modern Family” in 2011?

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Amazon certainly hopes not, since “Mozart in the Jungle” is vying for its second consecutive prize for Best Comedy Series. Gael Garcia Bernal likewise hopes to pick up another Comedy Actor award for his role as a brash new conductor stirring up the stodgy New York Symphony. Unlike the Emmys, the Globes love to reward new shows, and indeed, the last back-to-back victor for this award was Ryan Murphy‘s “Glee” in 2009 and 2010. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, and certainly “Mozart” is high-brow enough to break the trend (and like “Glee,” filled with music).

Another Amazon series and former Globe winner is “Transparent,” which in its first season took prizes for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actor for Jeffrey Tambor as a former college professor who comes out to his family as transgender. Now in its third year, the show is still very much at the top of its game and in the headlines. Yet Judith Light failed to return to the Supporting Actress race, and historically speaking, it’s very difficult for a show to win, lose, and win again at the Globes — the last time that happened was “Taxi” in 1978 and 1980.

Which leaves us with HBO’s “Veep,” the reigning Emmy champ that has yet to win Best Comedy Series at the Globes (it didn’t even receive its first bid until last year). Julia Louis-Dreyfus has also faced difficulty wooing Globe voters for her performance as President Selina Meyer despite five victories from the Television Academy. If ever there was a year for the political satire to prevail with the HFPA it was this one, following one of the most highly publicized Presidential election in modern history. However, given the unexpected results of that particular race, the show may feel like yesterday’s news.

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