My Irrational Anger Towards ‘Betrayal’

ABC/Jean Whiteside

ABC/Jean Whiteside

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

Into every new TV season, a show I’m irrationally angry about must fall.

Last year it was Emily Owens, M.D. I still have PTTD (post-traumatic TV disorder) over that show. I shudder every time I think of it. Back in 2008, I couldn’t stand The Ex List.

This season, I’m BEYOND annoyed with Betrayal, premiering Sunday at 10/9c on ABC. (What is with TV shows and the one word titles? Coming soon on Sunday night Embezzlement followed by Annoyance).  Yes, clearly there are more offensive shows this season (that would be Fox’s Dads). There are ones that are more laughably bad (that would be the CW’s Reign). And there are certainly ones that are a more egregious waste of talent (I’m talking to you CBS’s The Millers). But those are all shows I can calmly and reasonably dislike. They make me want to turn off my TV, not throw something at it.

In Betrayal, professional photographer Sara (Hannah Ware)  and lawyer Jack (Stuart Townsend) meet cute on a rooftop over looking Chicago. They talk at the same time. He gives her his coat because she’s cold. The only problem? They’re both already married to other people. (Warning to husbands everywhere – if you’re wife gives you a new tie, you better pretend to like it. And you better not work too hard or care about your career too much.)

Now I’m not a fan of adultery in real life (obviously) but I don’t mind it on my TV shows. Sure, we don’t need another ruthless man and the woman who-can’t-help-loving-that-man-of-mine. That kind of couple already permeates nearly every cable TV series. But sometimes adultery can make for fascinating story telling. Part of the reason Scandal is such a fun, over the top show is because the President is in love with Olivia Pope.  And my favorite Sex and the City story line occurred when Carrie cheated on Aidan with Big. The complex fallout from Carrie’s indescretion resonated for many seasons. And Nurse Jackie wouldn’t be Nurse Jackie without her affair with Eddie.

But Betrayal played it all wrong. The set up for the show doesn’t make for a legitimate serious drama.  And instead of treating the show like campy fun, it takes itself way too seriously and seems to think adultery is an IMPORTANT topic. And that they are telling an important story. The music is dramatic. Their conversations are dramatic. (Sample line: “After the first betrayal, there is no other.” Well, okay then!) The slow motion is dramatic. The dramatic pauses are dramatic. It’s all utterly exhausting.

A show like Betrayal has got to immediately make viewers sympathize with the two characters who are about to do something very bad. Do I feel for Sara because she is the good girl who never did anything wrong until now? Not really. Do I sympathize that Jack fell into a marriage because he was grateful to his wife’s family? Not particularly. Did I buy that each of them never realized that something was missing in their marriage until they met each other? Um, no.

The pilot also sets up a Revenge like scenario involving Jack’s ruthless father-in-law Thatcher (James Cromwell) and the episode begins with Sara being shot and then immediately flashing back six months. Who is holding her hand as she is rushed away in the ambulance? Her husband or her boyfriend? Yeah, I so don’t care. And this whole “let’s begin and the end” storytelling device is so overdone.

There are a few bright spots – Henry Thomas (E.T.) stars as Jack’s brother-in-law.  Wendy Moniz (The Guardian) is Jack’s wife and Merrin Dungey (Alias) is Sara’s boss Alissa. I like all of those actors and am delighted to see them. I just wish it was on a better show.

Are you planning on watching Betrayal? Are there TV shows you are irrationally angry about? Talk about it below.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 (ABC/Craig Sjodin)

(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Sing it with me now . . . .

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With new shows premiering and old shows returning, I’m in such good cheer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

There’ll be cliffhangers resolving. New characters debuting. And characters who say goodbye. There’ll be dramatic new plot twists, results of big kisses and Parenthood will make me cry.

We’ll see Olivia with her daddy. Ted with his wife. Alicia at her own firm. And I’m sure Scarlett will still make me squirm. So set your DVRs and get ready for the most wonderful time of the year.

Can you tell I’m just a little excited for the new season? I know I haven’t been posting to the TV Gal blog that much but I have been busy writing. Here are some of my stories about the new season.

Here’s my story about Brooklyn Nine-Nine, my favorite new show of the season, for

Here’s my interview with The Mother (Cristin Milioti) on How I Met Your Mother for

Here’s my story about the Five Things You Need to Know About the New Season of Parks & Recreation for xFinity.

Here’s my story about the Five Things You Need to Know About the New Season of New Girl for xFinity.

Here’s my story about the Five Things You Need to Know About the New Season of Nashville for xFinity.

Here’s my story about The Mindy Project for (The show gets a gold star for most improved.)

Here’s my story on the 10 Most Anticipated Returning Series for xFinity.

Here’s my story on the 10 Buzziest New Shows for xFinity.

What new show are you most excited about? (In addition to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I’m intrigued by CBS’s new show Hostages and have a soft spot for The Goldbergs.) What returning show? (For me that’s Scandal, see photo above). Check out this calendar for a handy of reference for when everything is premiering.

To celebrate the new TV season, I’ll be giving away two prize packs consisting of a Sleep Hollow t-shirt, an Almost Human pen and a Brooklyn Nine-Nine notepad. I’ll pick two winners at random from the comments. (You must live in the U.S. to win). You have until Friday, September 20 to post a comment.

Now get ready for the most wonderful time of the year!

‘Homeland’ Season Three – What’s Next?

Photo:  Kent Smith/SHOWTIME

Photo: Kent Smith/SHOWTIME

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

Things were pretty bleak when we last left Carrie, Brody and Saul. What lies ahead when Homeland returns for season three on September 29? Yesterday, the show’s producers and stars talked to critics assembled for the semi-annual Television Critics Association Press Tour. Check out my story for Paste Magazine here. But be warned, there are minor spoilers in my story (very minor, I’ve watched the first two episodes of season three and left out the big reveals, I promise.)

Are you excited for season three of Homeland? Or were you too disillusioned by season two? Talk about it below.

‘The Newsroom’ Officially Ended My Love Affair with Aaron Sorkin Shows

Credit: Melissa Mosely/ HBO

Credit: Melissa Mosely/

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

I used to love Aaron Sorkin shows. I watched every episode of Sports Night. I never missed an hour of The West Wing. I even liked Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (no really, I did). The man knows how to make compelling, smart, entertaining TV. I don’t even mind that he repeats himself.  One of my favorite YouTube things ever last year was this.

So when The Newsroom, which follows anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the fictional ACN cable network, premiered last summer, I was excited. Until I watched the first episode.

You can read the rest of this post over at Antenna Free TV.

Are you all set with The Newsroom or do you like the show? Excited for Sunday’s second season premiere? Talk about it below.

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.

‘How I Met Your Mother’ and Other Fights I am Having with TV

Photo: CBS © 2013

Photo: CBS © 2013

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

“Our ninth season will tell the epic story of the longest wedding weekend ever.”

That’s How I Met Your Mother creator and executive producer Carter Bays in the official statement CBS released about the finale. It makes my stomach hurt. Look I completely understand artistic vision and no show runner can make all the viewers happy all of the time. Nor should they. They shouldn’t bow to viewers’ wants and desires. So if Bays and his co-creator and executive producer Carter Thomas want to spend the ENTIRE ninth season on Barney and Robin’s wedding, that’s their prerogative.

But, frankly, I don’t understand why. I was surprised to learn that Bays and Thomas had intended to end the series with viewers just getting a glimpse of the Mother as we did in the finale.  We’ve all invested eight years of our lives in this relationship and I, for one, would like to see it play out.  I want to see Ted and the Mother fall in love, maybe even get engaged. I want to see the Mother and Lily become best friends and share footwear. I want to see the Mother fully embraced by the gang.

Plus, for reasons I’ll never understand, the show has made such a big deal about the fact that Ted is still hung up on Robin. This last little do-si-do in the Ted and Robin dance is truly horrendous. Really we’re going to hold hands in the rain? The show has beaten the storyline in such a way that I’m worried there’s no way we can be happy if Robin marries Barney and no way we can be happy if she ends up with Ted.  They are slowly but surely sucking all the joy out of a show I once loved.

I get that Ted still being hung up on Robin may be somewhat realistic – some people do spend their whole lives trying to get over someone. But that truth doesn’t make Ted’s pining particularly interesting to watch.  For me to feel good about the Mother, I need to see Ted get over Robin and that can’t happen in one weekend.

In the “The Time Travelers” episode it seemed to me that the show was strongly hinting at the fact that the Mother was no longer alive. I still have this lingering fear that the Mother died when the kids were little and Ted has been married to Aunt Robin all this time. Is that what the flash forwards next season are going to tell us?

My other problem with this week’s big reveal is that it’s too little, too late. Timing is everything in romance and in television. What is arguably the show’s biggest moment happened at a time when I am past really caring who the Mother is. I am happy that she is a relative unknown. I’m happy for Cristin Milioti. TV is a tough business and it’s nice to see someone we haven’t seen before getting such a high profile role. Everyone is talking about her Broadway run in Once but I want to go back and watch the three episodes where Miloti played Johnny Sac’s daughter on The Sopranos.

How did you feel about the How I Met Your Mother finale? Talk about it below.

But it’s not just HIMYM that has irked me in the past couple weeks, I’m also bothered by the fact that:

Smash killed off Kyle: Ugh that episode was the worst. Kyle got the most amount of screen time after the show killed him off. And just a quick memo to Smash: We already get that Hit List is Rent. You really haven’t been subtle about that at all. And we already know that Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent, tragically died the morning of the musical’s first preview. So did you really need the Rent poster in the background shot? No you did not. But if you were going to do that could you at least have the characters acknowledge Rent? The moment was already super meta because Jesse L. Martin stared in the original Broadway production of Rent. Honestly, I don’t know what the show was thinking with this maudlin VERY IMPORTANT EPISODE unless it was supposed to distract us from the rest of the show’s ridiculousness like Jimmy singing to himself or Tom becoming a different character every five minutes. Smash is in the midst of a colossal creative collapse. It’s rather fascinating to watch and see what they’ll come up with next (Derek being blackmailed?). I cannot wait until the cast is able to speak freely about what they thought about this second season.  Now that would be a show.

No closure on the Kalinda/Nick storyline on The Good Wife: I hear you. I don’t ever want to see Nick again either. But I do fear that the longer the story line goes unmentioned and unsettled, the more likely it could be that it could reappear when we least expect it. You can read my review of The Good Wife finale here.

Just about everything on The Following: I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m so willing to allow ridiculousness on some shows and so intolerant of it on others.  For example, I don’t prefer but will allow the fact that James ended up being the one to interview Mellie on Scandal (especially because Cyrus explanation was somewhat reasonable in the Scandal world). But everything on The Following irks me. Maybe it’s because the premise to begin with is so unsavory or that the show keeps trying to find some poignancy amid all the gratuitous violence but the FBI’s utter incompetence (seriously how many times did they go places without backup?) and the show’s lack of basic logic made what was supposed to be a dramatic finale completely laughable. Obviously Joe Carroll is not dead and I’m pretty confident Ryan will survive (obviously).  Maybe the show will take a page from the 24 first season playbook and kill off Claire.  I started to wonder what would happen in season two and how the show could possible eke out more episodes on this ridiculous premise and then I remembered, oh that’s right, I DON’T CARE. I won’t be watching.

Not one but two more seasons of Glee?:  What can I even say about such absurdity? The season finale was inane even by Glee standards. As most of us had predicted but none of us cared, Unique was catfishing Ryder. Suddenly Joe and Sugar were back sans explanation. Rachel appeared to sing one song and then disappeared for the remainder of the episode. Britney got into MIT. Blaine’s still in high school but he wants to marry Kurt (what show do they think they are on? 7th Heaven?)  Next season, I must break up with this show. I must. I might need to form a support group to get me through it because when the show is good, it’s very very good (seriously that “Everything was Beautiful at the Ballet” number was splendid) and when it’s bad it’s beyond horrid.

Are you in a fight with a TV show? Talk about it below.  And don’t forget to follow up my blog by clicking on the link in the top right hand corner.


Can ‘Nashville’ be saved?



By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Okay Nashville, listen up. I already have one musical show I’m watching as it makes its march towards its series finale. That’s right. I’m drinking the champagne, dancing and ignoring the iceberg straight ahead as the Smash sinks.

I don’t know if I can take another show not living up to the promise of its pilot and disappointing me in every episode. In the words of Chandler Bing, I couldn’t be more Nashville’s target audience. I love country music. I love singing on television. I love big, sweeping prime time soaps. I still think there’s a chance I can be Connie Britton when I grow up. You couldn’t find a viewer who wants to love Nashville more. But lately the show seems to be taking that sentence as some sort of dare and testing the limits of exactly how much I can take before I quit the show.

The rocky first season Nashville proves how utterly challenging it is to produce a consistently compelling TV series. I don’t want to break up with Nashville. So I’m offering up my six point plan for saving the show.

  1. Stop coming up with annoying characters. Just stop it. We all know I can’t stand Scarlett with her wide-eyed naiveté, exaggerated accent, penchant for lacey white clothing, desperate whininess and bad hair extensions. I would love to see a show where Jimmy from Smash and Scarlett run off together and never return. But silly me. I thought Scarlett was the worst Nashville could come up with until it introduced Dante. Seriously, what is with this guy? He went from being a sober coach to a controlling Svengali in one episode. Not only is he annoying, HE MAKES NO SENSE.
  2. Slow down with the plot lines, please. Plot lines ricochet around with seemingly little purpose. How many times have Rayna and Deacon decided they aren’t friends? Juliette got married, had that marriage annulled and she’s already on to her next disastrous relationship. Scarlett and Avery broke up. She finally got together with Gunnar. And now Gunnar’s going to become some sort of danger junkie?  No thank you. Gunnar is one of the show’s best characters. Don’t you dare ruin him.
  3. Let the dream go.We aren’t going to care about the political plotline. Believe me, it hurts me to say it. I love Eric Close (have since Now and Again) and I want to care about Teddy, really I do. But you make it so hard. I mean how much am I supposed to care about a land deal? And, honestly, am I supposed to care that Peggy betrayed him by leaking the story of his divorce.
  4. Figure out what you are going to do with Avery: For most of the season, Avery has been marooned in his own story line and moved around like a chess piece. Often, it feels like the show only checks in on him because of some contractual obligation to do so. Making him a roadie on Juliette’s tour doesn’t solve the problem. Nor does the fact that he’s a different character in every episode.  Is he Juliette’s dastardly ex-boyfriend? A man willing to sleep his way to a career? A musician with a strong sense of artistic integrity? Don’t know and, most of the time, don’t care.
  5. Give Juliette a purpose: Hayden Panettiere’s poor little rich girl act is getting old fast. I love a bitchy Juliette. She’s fun to watch. But so far there’s still not that much to Juliette.
  6. Stop wasting Connie Britton: Britton is one of the best television actresses around. She’s managed to make me still care about Rayna amid bad writing and poor plotting. But my love for Mrs. Coach can only take me so far.

What do you think can be done to save Nashville? Talk about it below.

Earth Day Giveaway!

saving the ocean cod

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

I don’t often talk about world events in my blog. I figure you have plenty of other places to go for that news and commentary. But, as you know, last week was a very difficult week for the city I call my home. I feel so blessed that all my family and friends are safe and that none of them were affected by this tragedy. But, like so many of you, I cannot stop thinking about those who were not so fortunate. Those who lost their lives and those whose lives are irrevocably changed. My thoughts and prayers are with them and with the city of Boston.

I’m so delighted that I have something fun and uplifting to share with you today. Thanks to Chedd-Angier Productions, I have two copies of Saving the Ocean to giveaway in celebration of Earth Day. In this 10-part PBS series (click here to find where it’s playing in your area) , marine biologist and author Carl Safina travels the globe to talk with the people who are making a positive difference in the ocean and in marine life.

So often when we talk about the environment, it is in negative terms about all the things that are going wrong. Saving the Ocean takes a wonderful look at all the things that are going right.  Safina pets whales, plays with baby sharks, and confronts the deadly lion fish. He is always looking at the solutions and his enthusiasm is infectious.

We could all use something a little inspiring this week. In the comment section below, tell me what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day or the little things you do to help the environment. I will pick two winners at random from the comments. You have until Thursday, April 25 at 5 p.m. ET to post your answers.

Thanks and Happy Earth Day!