TV Gal Swag Giveway Take 2

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

In December, I confessed to you that I am not neat. At all.

I would like to say that after the great office clean-up of 2012, I have been a paragon of neatness. But, alas, that is not true. My office is a disaster. Every time I clean it up, the clutter pulls me back in.

So once again, I am gearing up for another TV Gal Swag Giveaway. I’m helping you, help me.

Everyone who is a follower of my blog by 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, July 7 will be eligible to participate.  Beginning, Tuesday July 9, I will give away one prize every weekday until I’m out of swag. Each day, I will pick a number at random (generated by and give a prize to the person who matches the number on my list. For instance, if the number generated is 52, I will give it to the 52nd person who signed up to follow my blog. You will be able to pick the TV swag item of your choice until there is nothing left on the list

It’s okay if you’ve already won before, but this giveaway is limited to residents of the United States.

If you already follow my blog, you’re eligible. If you don’t yet follow, enter your email address in the top right hand corner to follow this blog.

Here’s what I’m giving away in the great summer clean up on 2013. I’m still cleaning as I write this, so swag could be added as I continue to excavate the clutter.

  1. 72 Hours (TNT) puzzle
  2. The Big C (Showtime) candle
  3. The Chew (ABC) cookbook
  4. Deadliest Catch (Discovery) t-shirt
  5. Devious Maids (Lifetime) cleaning supplies (including bucket, duster, sponge and gloves)
  6. King of the Nerds (TBS) prize pack including Rubik’s Cube, glasses and iPhone case
  7. MasterChef (FOX) mixing bowls (set of three)
  8. Psych (USA) Slumber Party shades
  9. Ray Donovan (Showtime) sunglasses
  10. Shark Tank (ABC) products (Talbott Teas Sachets, Snap Caps ® and KISSSTIXX ® lip balm)
  11. So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) sweatpants

Remember sign up to follow my blog and you’ll be eligible to win. 

Better late than never to the ‘Orphan Black’ party

tatiana maslany

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

I was late to the Orphan Black party.

Days after the show aired its season finale, I consumed the entire first season in less than a week. (No easy feat when you have a three-year-old. It may be my greatest parenting accomplishment: Getting my daughter to bed early for seven days in a row.).

And everybody was right – Tatiana Maslany is amazing. It is a positively phenomenal performance, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  If I were an actress, I would look at what Maslany is doing in Orphan Black and think, “Crap. I really need to go back to acting school.”

And although I was late to the Orphan Black shindig, I’m finding that many, many people still don’t know about the show and when I try to describe it (“It’s about this woman, Sarah, who discovers she is a clone”), I often get the same blank stare I would get when I would try to describe the brilliance that was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

So trust me on this one, watch BBC America’s Orphan Black – all the episodes are currently available On Demand. I’ve never steered you wrong before, have I? (What? No, of course, I never recommended Smash. That must have been some OTHER TV Gal.).

You will be blown away by Maslany’s performance. She plays seven different characters and each character is so meticulously distinct. It’s not just hairstyles and accents (although those things, of course, help), it’s the entire way she carries her body, the cadence of her speech, and her facial expressions.  I so wholly believed that each character was a different person that when one of the clones didn’t appear in an episode, I actually thought to myself, “Maybe that actress was sick that week?”

The supporting cast (also known as the few characters not played by Maslany) are equally enjoyable. I was particularly fond of Sarah’s foster brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris) who always brought some well-timed and expertly delivered comic relief to the series without ever becoming a one-note character. And it’s worth nothing that Paul (Dylan Bruce) is the first man since Sawyer I’ve contemplated running away with.

If you haven’t watched Orphan Black, stop reading and do so as soon as possible.

And if you have, let’s have a little chat. I don’t want to say this to those who haven’t seen the show because I don’t want anything to keep them from watching. But Maslany’s performance is so brilliant that it distracts us from some of the show’s bigger problems.  Way too many things happen for the convenience of plot. Why would everyone always go back to Felix’s apartment which 1) Has absolutely no security (no Felix, a screwdriver doesn’t count) and 2). Everybody knows exists.  Sarah is one smart lady but she doesn’t realize that once Helena has her coat, she will also find the letters from her daughter? The show’s occasionally sloppy writing sometimes undermined its thriller momentum.  And it really bothered me that although the show impliedsit takes place in Toronto (it’s clearly filmed there), they never really specified a location (and even sometimes seemed to imply it was taking place in the United States). A show this specific in its mythology and vision needs to be set in an equally specific place.  If the action is taking place in Toronto (as evidenced by the Ontario license plates and Canadian money), why not come right out and say it?

But these are just a few small quibbles about one of my favorite new shows. Have you already watched Orphan Black? What did you think? Did you have any quibbles with the show? Talk about it below?

Should I Kill Off ‘The Killing?’

Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Believe me. I can get very angry at TV shows. Some might even call it irrational anger. I could vent to you for hours about how silly it was to kill off Kyle on Smash or, you know, basically everything that happened this season on Glee. (I’m telling you now I will never get over the ridiculousness that was the Santana/Quinn hookup. NEVER.)

But, when the first season of The Killing ended, I wasn’t in an uproar. I didn’t feel the show had made an explicit or even an implicit contract with the viewers to reveal Rosie Larsen’s killer. However, when the second season lingered on and we still didn’t know who the killer was,  I got bored. And here’s the most telling part – I watched the entire second season and, just now, I actually had to look up who the killer ended up being. The show left so little impact at the end of two seasons that even the solution to the big mystery didn’t stick.

During the second season, I also started to get so annoyed with the show – the outdated technology (seriously even my parents don’t have flip phones anymore and it has been well documented that they live in the house that technology forgot), the never-ending rain, the inexplicable leaps in logic (Linden and Holder clearly attended the Ryan Hardy Institute of Not Requiring Back-Up Ever) and the tedious pacing (more happens in the first 15 minutes of a Scandal episode than happened in the entire second season of The Killing). But the real problem was Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos). Enos gives a palpably believable performance but her downtrodden character simply sucked the life out of the show. It’s tricky to have a character who is that gloomy as the show’s protagonist. And it was painful what a bad mother she was.  There is something inherently interesting about a mother who clearly loves her son but can’t get it together but on The Killing it was just plain depressing to watch. When the show was cancelled, it was a relief. I wasn’t quite sure why I watched the entire second season (it was summer?) but cancellation meant I didn’t have to make any active decision about whether or not I was going to continue on with the show.

But, against all odds, the show returned from that great DVR in the sky and I decided to watch the third season premiere and then make a decision. I was thrilled that , at the beginning of Sunday’s two hour season premiere, Linden was smiling. She was actually giggling. She and Holder had a hilarious exchange (as always Holder remains the bright spot in the series). “Maybe,” I thought. “Just maybe this season will be different.”

Alas, I was wrong. Linden’s happiness lasted about 15 minutes and she was back to being beaten down again. The show is wallowing in everything that drove viewers crazy. There’s an endless amount of rain. Holder STILL has a flip phone (I’m going to mail him my old cell phone because it’s more current than the one he’s using) and the pacing remains sluggish.

But, as expected, Peter Sarsgaard is wonderful as Ray Seward, a man on death row for the murder of his wife.  And I’ve already grown a little attached to all the homeless teens (they’re like a very dark, dark version of an ABC Family show.)

So now I have to decide whether this season’s mystery is going to be enough to hold my attention and will it be enough to outweigh all the things about the show that drive me batty. I mean maybe I am looking for a show that drives me crazy now that Smash is off the air?

How about you? Did you watch the season premiere of The Killing? Are you going to keep watching season three? Talk about it below.