By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated December 11, 2008 at 12:00 PM EST

HBO didn’t have to greenlight a show like In Treatment. The format — a new half-hour episode every weeknight for nine weeks — was unusual. And the subject matter was limited, too, with each script typically confined to the dialogue exchanged in a psychotherapist’s office for the full 30 minutes. But the cable network took a chance on In Treatment, and it paid off with a consistently well-acted show that kept me tuning in loyally all through the first season. Going by the show’s ratings, I’m not sure just how many people were on board with me. But at least HBO can take solace in the fact that their gamble has yielded a very positive critical response, as well as a couple of Emmys, and now, a generous handful of Golden Globe nominations for the show (including Best Drama Series) as well as its actors. Gabriel Byrne and Blair Underwood (pictured) both deserve those nods for their superlative performances. So do Dianne Wiest and Melissa George, though I can’t decide who to root for since they share a category.

What the Golden Globe news really makes me hope is that HBO keeps taking calculated risks with In Treatment and beyond. By approving such an unorthodox series, HBO showed that it’s still interested in fundamentally changing the TV game. I was a little concerned to read this summer that season 2 of In Treatment might “tweak” the strip-series format, in Variety‘s words. Hopefully, some well-timed Golden Globe love will convince the network not to tweak it too much. But that’s a minor quibble from a fan. Anybody else already looking forward to hopping back onto Dr. Paul Weston’s couch next year?

More on In Treatment:
EW’s Golden Globes coverage
Mia Wasikowska made it onto EW’s list of Emmy Drama Snubs
The series got a B+ review in EW when it debuted
In Treatment is part of HBO’s big plans for ’09
Lisa Schwarzbaum looked at “The Benefits of Watching In Treatment

addCredit(“Claudette Barius/HBO”)