“The Flight Attendant” has truly taken flight in our Golden Globe odds. Kaley Cuoco has already crashed the Best TV Comedy/Musical Actress top five and moved up to third place over the weekend. And while the HBO Max series has not yet entered the Best Comedy/Musical Series top five, sitting in sixth place, don’t be surprised if it happens soon or if it shows up on nomination morning.
The series trails a predicted lineup topped by Emmy champ “Schitt’s Creek,” followed by “The Great,” “Ted Lasso,” “Ramy” and “What We Do in the Shadows.” But “The Flight Attendant” has a couple advantages over each and every one of them.
For starters, it’s the newest show of the six. In fact, it’s the newest one of the entire top 10, which includes “Insecure,” “Dead to Me,” “Pen15” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” And we all know how much the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves new toys, not to mention being the awards show equivalent of being the first to comment “first.” “The Flight Attendant,” “The Great,” “Ted Lasso” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” are the only first-year shows in the top 10, but the last three premiered earlier in 2020 — “The Great” in May; “Ted Lasso,” in August, though the Apple TV+ series has maintained momentum as more and more people discover it; and “Zoey’s,” in January, but its second season, while not eligible, premiered last week. “The Flight Attendant,” meanwhile, dropped on Thanksgiving and will be the freshest newbie in voters’ minds. Recency bias is a real thing.
What’s more, “The Flight Attendant” was a hit. Boosted by a killer (no pun intended) performance from Cuoco — as a hard-partying flight attendant who wakes up to find her hookup dead — and strong reviews, the murder-mystery dark comedy experienced “week over week growth and ranked as HBO Max’s No. 1 series overall during its run,” HBO Max shared when announcing the show’s renewal last month. Naturally, it offered no actual numbers to go by, but if you were on social media at all throughout December, the show’s growing buzz and word of mouth were hard to ignore.
And you can track it in our odds. Before “The Flight Attendant” was moved to comedy, it peaked in 10th place in Best Drama Series on Dec. 3. The next day, it debuted in 10th in Best Comedy/Musical Series and climbed to its current spot of sixth. Cuoco saw a far quicker rise, entering in eighth place in comedy and breaking into the top five shortly after the Dec. 17 finale aired.
Sure, the Globes could nominate Cuoco without the show, but it’s more common for the HFPA to hand out acting and series bids to perceived top contenders (and then later pair the wins). Ramy Youssef prevailed for Best TV Comedy/Musical Actor last year without a series nomination for “Ramy,” becoming the first sole nominee to win the category since Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”) seven years prior.
It also helps that “The Flight Attendant” is on a brand new streaming service/network, unlike its rivals. HBO Max did not have the most auspicious of launches, and while it’s currently at the center of film drama with Warner Bros.’ decision to drop its 2021 film slate on the service, it’s finding its footing when it comes to TV (finally getting on Roku helps). Let’s not forget that the HFPA aims to please as many networks and studios as possible. Last year, the group gave three nominations to “The Morning Show,” the flagship series of then-new streaming service Apple TV+ that had lots of star power but not the greatest initial reviews. “The Flight Attendant’s” success would be a perfect way for the HFPA to welcome HBO Max to the party.
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