‘The Goldbergs’ are Golden


Photo courtesy of ABC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

When I was younger, my mom lost me at the grocery store and had me paged over the store’s intercom.

Did I mention that I was 15 at the time? It was mortifying. She also used to embarrass me with her overwhelming use of coupons. I distinctly remember a time the grocery store owed her money. To a teenager, there may be no greater humiliation.

I share these anecdotes with you because similar situations were the storylines for recent episodes of The Goldbergs. The new ABC comedy is quickly shaping up to be one of the fall’s best new series.

Told from the perspective of 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone) and narrated by Patton Oswalt, The Goldbergs takes viewers back to the 80s and celebrates shoulder pads, Pac Man, big hair, and giant camcorders. A time before smart phones, Facebook pages and DVRs. But the series has more than just nostalgia going for it. Much like ABC’s excellent and underrated comedy The Middle, The Goldberg captures the innate hilarity and poignancy that come with day-to-day family life.

The fact that it is based on executive producer Adam F. Goldberg’s real childhood – and several episodes are capped off with actual videos from his youth – makes the series that much more relatable. As I mentioned above, in two recent episodes, it felt like Goldberg may have been spying on my family when I was growing up.

And did I mention that the show is funny? Laugh-out-loud funny. That, as comedies including Dads and The Millers have shown us this season, is not so easy to pull off.

In between the guffaws are nuanced moments. Last week’s episode saw eldest daughter Erica (Hayley Orrantia) accuse her stay-at-home mother Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) of never having a job. Beverly promptly went on strike and the show explored the intricate relationship between mothers and daughters both touchingly and amusingly.

The performances are top notch.  McLendon-Covey is giving a transcendent performance as the family matriarch. She should already be on people’s Emmy nomination ballots. And I’m particularly partial to middle brother (and perpetual underdog) Barry (Troy Gentile) and the Goldberg grandfather Pops (George Segal). Whether you’re currently a parent or were once a child (so pretty much everyone), The Goldbergs is the little jewel in the fall schedule you may have missed. I’m on a one woman campaign trying to get people to give this show a chance. Won’t  you join me?  A new episode airs tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Oh and if you’re going to buy something, check with me first. I probably have a coupon for it. That’s right. I’ve become my mother.

Are  you enjoying The Goldbergs as much as I am? What’s your new favorite show of the season? Talk about it below.

I originally wrote this post for Antenna Free TV’s list of shows to binge watch over the holidays. Check out their complete list here.

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 Paste.com.

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

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 Paste.com. (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!

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?

‘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.

A chat with Sarah Chalke



By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

We will be seeing quite a bit of the always delightful Sarah Chalke in the next few days. She’ll guest star on Grey’s Anatomy tonight (read TV Line’s story about her appearance) and her new series How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) premieres next Wednesday, April 3. In the ABC comedy, she plays a single mom whose finances force her to move back home.

From playing the second Becky on Roseanne to Eliot on Scrubs, I’ve always been a fan of Chalke’s work. When I was in LA, I had the chance to talk to her about her new series.

TV Gal: Why did you want to play Polly in How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)?

Sarah Chalke: One of the reasons I loved the part and wanted to do it because I could relate to it more than any other part I’ve played. [Chalke is the mom to Charlie, age three.] I feel like Polly at the bottom of it she just wants to be a great mom. She’s trying to balance her work and living with her parents and trying to date again and do all this but she just wants to be the best mom possible and I feel like every working mom can relate to that. You’re trying to balance it all and find a way to somehow enjoy it and you just want the best for your kid.

TV Gal: Does it feel different launching this show than it did when you launched Scrubs?

Chalke: As an actor you always feel like getting a pilot, the pilot getting picked up and getting on the air and making it, it’s lightning in a bottle. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. On Scrubs I got to stay with the same people for eight and a half years. When you do something like this and you have the same kind of chemistry and connection and just the enjoyment of the job at the end of the day that’s what matters to me. As soon as you become a mom, you realize what do I want for my kid? I want him to have a happy life. I don’t care what he wants to do. Just be happy. And you kind of realize, ‘Oh that’s all that actually matters in life. Just be happy.’ When you come across a thing like this where you have that rare situation, it just makes me that much more hopeful that it will go and that it will work. We had such a good time.

TV Gal: You are known for having finger toes. Will we see your toe dexterity on the show?

Chalke: We do an episode about my finger toes! I also date this one guy played by Reid Scott. His name is Hot Scott on the show. He ends up breaking up with me because of my obnoxious laugh so there were things about myself that definitely made it into the show.

TV Gal: You’ve been acting since you were a teenager. What keeps you in the business?

Chalke: I love that every day is different. I love working in comedy. I love working in dramatic stuff for shorter periods of time but as a job that could potentially go on for a long time I really just wanted to look at comedies because that’s for me the funnest way to go to work every day. I love getting to know different groups of people but more than that I love it when it continues and you actually get to really know them and stay with them for a while.

TV Gal: And you never thought about leaving the business and doing something else?

Chalke: I was 16 when I started working on the Roseanne show. It was the number one show at the time. I hadn’t really worked that much and I saw how private everyone’s lives had to be and how scrutinized they were and the paparazzi. It was this whole sort of world that I just didn’t know about and I thought, ‘Well if that’s the end goal if everyone just has to be driven in dark cars,’ it just seemed to me pretty terrifying as a 16 year old. That, of course, was balanced by it being the most amazing learning curve for comedy and the most incredibly experience to watch Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman and Roseanne and Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki that was an incredible gift to have that. The flip side of it was to see this other side of it and that was scary. I moved back to Canada after that experience. I thought, ‘I’m out. I’m going back to school. This is maybe not the direction I’ll go.’ But at the end of the day I just missed it.

TV Gal: How do you think J.D. and Eliot are doing?

Chalke: I hope they have a lot of babies. I hope they’re really happy. I think they are. Turk has probably moved in with them.

Is ‘Golden Boy’ Golden?

Photo: JoJo Whilden/CBS

Photo: JoJo Whilden/CBS

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Often when I sit down to watch a new series, I don’t read any of the press material associate with the show. I want to watch the show not knowing exactly what it’s about or who it’s from. Given my profession, that’s not always easy to do, of course, but it happened with Golden Boy, premiering tonight at 10 p.m. on CBS.

By the time the DVD arrived, I had forgotten what the show was about. But as I began watching the pilot, something about the grittiness of New York City, the cuts between scenes, and the cadence of the characters’ dialogue seemed very, very familiar. “This show, I thought to myself, reminds me of NYPD Blue.” Turns out that’s because it’s executive produced by Nicholas Wooten, who began his career writing and producing NYPD Blue.

I should pause now to issue my disclaimer: -We all know I love TV. But sometimes my relationship with a show transcends that of viewer/TV show. There are some shows that hold a particularly special place in my life.  NYPD Blue is one of those shows. (The other four are Cheers, Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Homicide: Life on the Streets). I loved NYPD Blue. I never missed an episode in its entire 12 year run. I still wonder what was the deal with Danny Sorenson and those paper clips. I still get chills when I think about the screen fading to white after Bobby died. I could talk to anyone for hours about how Andy Sipowicz is one of the greatest television characters of all time.

I tell you this because it means I’m predisposed to like Golden Boy. Anything that evokes the tone of NYPD Blue already is starting off in my plus column. Add in the fact that Greg Berlanti , the man behind my beloved Everwood as well as Brothers & Sisters, Political Animals and Arrow, is the show’s other producer and it almost feels like the pitch meetings started off with “We want to make a show that Amy Amatangelo will love.”

Theo James (aka the lost Franco brother) stars as NYPD Detective Walter William Clark, Jr. Seven years from now, Clark will become the youngest police commissioner in the history of the NYPD. The series flashes back to the present as we learn about Clark’s rapid and unlikely rise from rookie detective to commissioner. What we do know is that the seven years have not been kind to him – he looks and acts much older than his years. (Perhaps he needs to invest in a good moisturizer?)

CBS is the home of crime procedurals and what I like about Golden Boy is that the drama puts an interesting and innovative twist on the standard cop drama. Yes there’s the case of the week but it’s couched in the mystery of all that transpired between the present and the future. It’s a quirky set up that totally works.

Chi McBride co-stars as Clark’s partner Detective Don Owen. I can’t think of an actor who deserves for his series to be a hit more than McBride. He starred in Pushing Daisies, The Nine and Human Target –all great shows that were cancelled way too soon. Golden Boy should not be added to the list. The rest of the cast is also strong including Kevin Alejandro (who I still miss on Southland), Bonnie Sommerville (who starred in the final season of NYPD Blue) and Holt McCallany (Lights Out).

There’s been so much talk lately about the new shows that have tanked in the ratings including Deception, Do No Harm, and Zero Hour. But those were all bad shows. Golden Boy is a good show that could become a great one. I’m rooting for it to be around for a long time. After you watch the show tonight, let me know what you think.


ls ‘Glee’ Out of Ideas? Should we trust Claire on ‘The Following’ and other TV questions

CR: Bob Mahoney/FOX

CR: Bob Mahoney/FOX

By Amy Amatangelo ®

Here are my biggest TV questions this week:

1. Is Claire Matthews secretly one of Joe Carroll’s followers on The Following?

The first season of 24 changed me as a viewer. I trust no one now. No one. And just as Nina was revealed to be a traitor in the first season finale of 24, I don’t think Claire is as innocent as she seems. She was married to Joe. How is it that she suspected nothing exactly? Clearly The Following loves surprising viewers (witness the little menage-a-followers in last night’s episode). Could this be the big surprise of the season? Was Claire’s relationship with Ryan merely a ruse to distract him? I’m doubling down on this one – Claire is not what she seems. Who’s with me?

2.  Is there a more cringing inducing story line that Tina lusting after Blaine on Glee?

Honestly is Glee completely out of ideas? Shows always suffer when they’ve exhausted every possible romantic permutation and start coming up with ridiculous pairings. Finn kisses Emma? Blaine has a crush on Sam? The worst offense is Tina lusting after Blaine.  I still shudder at the thought of Tina putting vapor rub on Blaine and crying while he slept. It wasn’t sad and poignant. It was creepy and unsettling. Where did this even come from? I’m all for the underused Jenna Ushkowitz getting more screen time but this is not the way. Plus it exposes one of Glee’s worst offenses. Characters are completely and irrationally inconsistent. Why would Tina fall for a guy she knows is gay? And what exactly did Blaine have to apologize for? For being gay and not liking Tina the way she likes him? Glee doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time. But this story line makes no sense none of the time.

3.  Does Scandal need to go back to fixing other people’s problems?

You know I love how completely nuts Scandal is. The show is ridiculous in the best, most entertaining way.  But, even for me, last week’s episode was too much. The President is now a murderer? Sure everyone on Scandal pretty much exists in a gray area. Despite all the talk about Olivia and company being “gladiators in suits” and the good guys, we know that’s not completely true. They are the good guys only in the right context.  But I still don’t want the President to be a murderer.  And I didn’t quite believe that Abby would turn on David like that. It’s a dangerous game Scandal is playing – characters should be flawed, that’s what makes them interesting. But they shouldn’t be so flawed that we are unable to root for them anymore.  Scandal needs to take a break from all the conspiracy and the back stabbing and the murder. This week’s episode (Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC) skips ahead 10 months and begins Scott Foley’s guest star arc. The official press release for the episode says the team will be handling a new case. A few stand-alone episodes will do the show good.

4. Is there a more obvious story line than the doctors trying to buy the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy?

If it’s the settlement from the lawsuit that’s bankrupting the hospital, of course the doctors are going to try to buy it. Why did we have to spend three episodes getting to this obvious conclusion.  I’m finding Grey’s Anatomy positively tedious this season. Anyone who can name all the new interns without looking them up deserves some sort of prize. Because I call them Smash, Tina Majorino, the one I always forget about, annoying girl in love with Jackson and Lexie 2.0.

5. Is there a more annoying character on TV right now than Scarlett on Nashville?

She is so whiny and her accent is way over the top. I actually think I’m on Avery’s side which can’t be what the show intended.  Nashville is starting to become the show I hoped it would be but I always want to fast forward through the Scarlett scenes. Really the only time I want to listen to her is when she’s singing.

What do you think about what’s happening on The Following, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Nashville and Scandal? Talk about it below.

 Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Amy Hargreaves is Gail, the woman Tom hit with his car on The Carrie Diaries. She plays Carrie’s sister Maggie on Homeland.

Nazanin Boniadi was the public relations expert following Alex around on Grey’s Anatomy. We just saw her on Go On as Hannah, Carrie’s friend who went out with Ryan. She was, of course, Barney’s girlfriend Nora on How I Met Your Mother.

Abby Elliott is Ted’s new crazy girlfriend Jeanette on How I Met Your Mother. She was on Saturday Night Live for four seasons and, interesting fact, was the original Kate in Ben and Kate before the role was recast with Dakota Johnson.

Susan Misner is having a busy TV season. She plays Louis Canning’s wife Simone on The Good Wife.  Stan Beeman’s wife Sandra on The Americans. And she was on The Following last night as Ryan’s sister Jenny.  I also recognized her as Dan and Jenny’s mother Alison on Gossip Girl.

This one was bugging me for a while. Leah Pipes was the senior who wanted Rachel to be topless in her movie on Glee.  She was Katie in the short-lived CW series Life is Wild.

Quotes of the Week

“I’m like the Joan Cusack character in the romantic comedy of your life.” Mindy to Jamie on The Mindy Project.

“Little choke doesn’t like caramel and also he’s dead.” Laurie about why the Latin Kings didn’t accept her gang initiation cake on Cougar Town.

“Child stars go downhill no matter how good they are. They could star in a Spielberg movie and still end up playing the nutty mom in some sitcom,” Virginia to Sabrina on Raising Hope in a nice little shout out to The Goonies.

“I’m a squirrel. You’re a nut. Winter’s coming and I’m going to store you in my cheek girl.” Schmidt to CeCe on New Girl.

“That’s for cancelling My Name Is Earl,” Burt as he kicked the NBC executive on Raising Hope.

“I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love. Don’t you want that too?”Olivia to Edison on Scandal. Oh Olivia, my dear, sweet Olivia, you need SO much therapy.

“Do you think she’ll still like me now that I’m dead?” Chris after suffering food poisoning on Parks & Recreation. 

“I think you should stay and I think we should fight.” Pam to Jim on The Office.

“Rayna, I’m done talking.” Deacon to Rayna before kissing her in the elevator on Nashville.

“Not everyone in here looks like they are on the CW. Some of us are more PBS.” Artie on Glee.

What do you think about what’s happening on The Following, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Nashville? Talk about it below. If you’ve seen a familiar face or heard a great quote, let me know through my comment page. And don’t forget to follow my blog by entering your email in the upper right hand corner. That way you’ll always know when I have a new post up.

‘Monday Mornings’ – Not a Good Way to Start Off Your Week

Monday Morning

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

You’ve seen Monday Mornings, premiering tonight at 10 p.m. on TNT, before – ER, Grey’s Anatomy pick a medical drama, any medical drama.  Except Monday Mornings is much more depressing and so much more affected. The new series, from executive producers David E. Kelley and Sanjay Gupta, who wrote the book the series is based on, is exhaustingly melodramatic.  Ex-haus-ting. The action moves in excruciating slow motion. There are close ups that make no sense whatsoever. The actors contort their faces into exaggerated expressions as if playing to the last row of the theater.There are bizarre distractions that take you out of the action. (Ving Rhames spends the first two episodes with glasses on his head. They could hang out with the hat Maria Bellow wore on Prime Suspect last year.)

The title of the series refers to the morbidity and mortality conference the doctors have every week. Except on Monday Mornings, it’s not a place for the doctors to share their experiences and learn from their mistakes. The conferences exist so the chief of surgery, Dr. Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina), can berate and humiliate his staff.  Dr. Hooten is so nasty to his colleagues that it’s hard to believe it when he’s nice to his patients. (Also watch how much time the show spends on Hooten pouring a glass of water. Again –ex-haus-ting.)

The rest of the doctors are all types we’ve seen before – they’re pretty, they’re stressed, their personal lives are a mess and they care deeply about their patients. You could drop them into another medical drama and they could just keep going (if that could happen I’d send Jamie Bamber’s Dr. Tyler Wilson to Grey’s. He’s the only doctor I’m interested in seeing again.)

I must call attention to Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim, who will look familiar because he played Mike’s dad on Glee). Dr. Park is a brilliant neurosurgeon who speaks in broken English.  When a patient asks him for advice, he says “Not do. Die.” He mixes up clichés and gets words wrong. It’s played for laughs but it’s offensively stereotypical.

Kelley is known for pushing TV boundaries – this is the man that gave us the dancing baby and Denny Crane.  But Monday Mornings is trite and no amount of medical intervention can bring it back to life.  After you’ve watched Monday Mornings, let me know what you think.