The Golden Globe-nominated “American Horror Story.” (Ray Mickshaw/AP)

The Golden Globe Awards tend to be watched more closely for what they may or may not tell us about what’s going to happen at the Academy Awards.

As a result, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association often treats the TV nominations like an excuse for a tequila-shot-filled happy hour.

Sure, they recognize worthy actors and series, which is why critically praised dramas like “Homeland” and “Game of Thrones” were nominated this year. But they also have their fun, throwing in some wild cards that, for sometimes better and sometimes worse, you’ll rarely see Emmy voters whip out when it’s their turn to name their nominees.

Who are these wild cards, and how many of them star in shows that air on the USA Network? Let’s find out in this list of the six most surprising Golden Globe TV nominations. (Note: Please vote in the poll below and continue to share your surprises, as you did with the surprise movie nominees, by tweeting posts with the hashtag #globeshocker.)

More Golden Globes:

Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling and other movie surprises

‘The Artist,’ George Clooney lead Globe nominations

Discuss the nomination at 2 p.m. ET with Jen Chaney

Photos of the nominees

“American Horror Story”

The FX mind melter has polarized critics. But the Foreign Press, which relishes the change to shower love on new, buzzy series, wisely chose to include it in the best drama field. Not a huge surprise, and not as surprising as any of the 873 wacko things that happened in last night’s episode of “American Horror Story.” But still semi-surprising.


There have been some positive rumblings about this Kelsey Grammer drama. But it’s probably not a show anyone spends a lot of time tweeting about with their friends. Given the competition for best drama, it was unexpected to see this one in the mix. (Again, see HFPA’s penchant for seizing on new shows.) Also worth noting: The Foreign Press didn’t nominate a single major broadcast network show in this category. All the dramas air on premium or basic cable.

Madeleine Stowe for “Revenge

ABC’s soap is a guilty pleasure for many. But apparently the Foreign Press didn’t feel particularly guilty about giving Stowe a best actress nomination for her role as Hamptons richie Victoria Grayson. This is Stowe’s second nomination and her first solo nod; her first one came way back in 1994 when she was recognized, along with the rest of the ensemble cast, of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts.”

Callie Thorne as best actress in a drama for “Necessary Roughness”

Last year’s USA Network Golden Globe nominee was Piper Perabo of “Covert Affairs.” After Patrick J. Adams received a SAG nomination yesterday for “Suits,” I thought for sure he’d be this year’s USA designee. But that wacky, unpredictable Foreign Press Association surprised once again by nominating Thorne, who plays a therapist for an NFL team on yet another USA series. (No, that team is not the Washington Redskins. Though that would make an awful lot of sense at this point...)

Jeremy Irons as best actor in a drama for “The Borgias”

Irons is a fine actor and “The Borgias” has been critically praised, but — quick! Name the network that airs “The Borgias.” And don’t Google it.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

(P.S. It’s on Showtime.)

Thomas Jane as best actor in a comedy for “Hung”

Nothing against Thomas Jane, but this is one of those HBO shows that doesn’t attract much attention. Which doesn’t mean he isn’t good, but is he better than, say, Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation”? Or Jim Parsons on “The Big Bang Theory”? Again, the Globes bias toward cable shows seems, perhaps, to be at work here.

Which surprise was the biggest? Vote below.