The awards season in Tinseltown kicks off with the 68th Golden Globe Awards (live telecast on Star World and E! at 9am Hong Kong time; rerun at 8pm on Star World). Now's the time to spruce up your inner armchair critic and put your television viewing to the test. With 22 of the 30 nominated TV shows available on terrestrial, broadband or cable in Hong Kong, we should be able pick some of the winners in the 11 categories dedicated to TV programmes.
We've been able to give the best TV drama contenders - Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, The Good Wife, Mad Men and The Walking Dead - the once-over in the past few months. The nominations show testosterone and blood lust remain the driving trends of the 2010-2011 TV cycle. Boardwalk Empire (HBO; Thursdays at 11pm) joins Mad Men in depicting a bygone era of American chauvinism, while The Walking Dead adds to the current fascination with zombies, blood and guts.
The Good Wife (Diva Universal; Mondays at 9pm) is the only drama in the pool featuring a female lead (Julianna Margulies, winner of best female performance in a drama last year and nominated again this year).
Best musical or comedy will be a little harder for Hong Kong viewers to predict, as two out of the five nominated series, The Big C (Diva Universal; Thursdays at 10pm) and The Big Bang Theory, have yet to air here. Of the other three, 30 Rock might have seen its peak two seasons ago while the popularity of Glee (the latest season premieres next week on Star World) has not waned since its win last year. Modern Family also has a fighting shot after the entire cast made it to Larry King Live in October.
For best male performance in a drama, our money is on Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire as Nucky Thompson, beating Jon Hamm's Don Draper in Mad Men, Hugh Laurie's Dr Gregory House (House), Michael C. Hall's Dexter Morgan (Dexter) and Bryan Cranston's Walter White in black-humoured drama Breaking Bad.
Our pick for best female performance in a drama is Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow, in Sons of Anarchy (FX; Thursdays at 11pm). But she has to beat out Elisabeth Moss' Peggy Olson (Mad Men) and Piper Perabo's Annie Walker (Covert Affairs; coming to Diva Universal next month). After four nominations and no wins in the 1990s for Married ... With Children, Sagal has more than earned the statuette this time around, regardless of the sinking ratings for Sons of Anarchy.
Get your recording devices ready and the office pools going for tomorrow's day of TV reckoning.
If you enjoy laughing in the face of death (of others, of course), 1,000 Ways to Die (above; Fox Crime, Mondays to Fridays at 11pm) offers the opportunity to do just that. Made up of re-enactments of bizarre, often stupid ways people have met their end over the centuries, the show takes a decidedly irreverent look at a sombre subject. The tongue-in-cheek narrative is often accompanied by interviews with experts who confirm the science behind such incidents as death by fart-ignition or liposuction with a household vacuum. Some of the stories are laugh-out-loud ludicrous while others are just plain disgusting.
Warning: though most of the effects are hammy and fake, this may not be choice viewing for younger audiences, since human stupidity and dismemberment feature heavily. Those looking for existential meditations on quietus will also need to look elsewhere.