Thursday, July 17, 2014
Near future dystopias have been all the rage in multiplexes lately it is surprising it has taken this long for it to make it to the small screen. Since the future dystopian movies are like comic book movies for the fairer sex, it should not be surprising that Lifetime got in on the ground floor. And they are really hitting at female fears with what went wrong in the near future: In The Lottery all women become infertile. As the opening scenes describes: “In 2016 there was an alarming drop in worldwide human birth rates. No specific cause could be identified. In 2019, only six children were born. They were the last ones. Every effort to reverse infertility has failed.”
See, every young woman’s nightmare. But here is the thing; the show may be the first project Lifetime has ever done that can actual appeal to dudes too. Except instead preying on possible dystopian fears for women, the world that The Lottery lives in is a utopia for men. Seriously, a future where even chubby dudes with receding hairlines can get to hook up with absurdly attractive doctors because if you also decent from Ethiopia, you are extremely fertile (oh yeah, dudes are still fine in the future, it is the woman’s uterus that is the problem; there are even billboards plastered everywhere that says, “Sam wants you to donate sperm”). Seriously, sex is so prominent in this future there are beds inside the bars because people cannot even be bothered to spend the time to drive home. Awesome, if not kind of extremely unsanitary.
The Lottery picks up in 2025, so those final six kids are now six years old. One of course is raised by a single dad who has to be getting more action than even your average chubby Ethiopian with receding hairline. And though there are no kids under six (sorry kindergarten teachers, you are now out of work in this near future) at least there are now televisions inside gas pumps and virtual treadmills for those who what to feel like their outside without actually having to be outside. But do not fret women of the future, Marley Shelton was able to fertilize one hundred embryos (of course the chick from Sugar and Spice plays the smartest doctor in the world).
So why The Lottery? As you can probably guess the show is not based on the short story you probably read in school about the dystopian future where kids are stoned to death. No, the president, facing low poll numbers and a possible recall (apparently you can also recall the president in the future too; wait until the Tea Party hears of this idea) has decided to host a lottery where the one hundred women of America will get to carry one of the embryos to term. Yeah, Lifetime is really going hard at the female viewer. But I am just watch for the thought of the future where I can easily hook up with any random hot chick with a ticking biological clock without fear she would actually get pregnant barring some miraculous super sperm. But in all seriousness, this is the best project from Lifetime that I have seen yet.
The Lottery airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I can be stubborn, stuck in my ways, and fear change but no one is more stubborn than the Amish who shun fancy things like electricity. Now I have to admit the about ninety percent of what I know about their culture I learned from “Weird Al” Yankovic. Then the other ten percent was half an episode of Amish in the City which probably not the best representation. As the latest Lifetime Movie, I am not sure if Expecting Amish is a better representation of the culture.
One of the aspects of the Amish life I learned about Amish in the City was a rite of passage Amish young adults take where they live in the modern world and after a month they decide if they want to come back and be baptized in the church or stay in modern civilization and be shunned (which was the basis of the show). It has a name, but it long and weird and I am too lazy to look up the correct spelling so let us just call it Amish Spring Break.
Amish Spring Break is the basis of Expecting Amish where AJ Michalka (Cow Belles) and her three Amish buddies go to Los Angeles where they are amazed by self closing car doors and toaster ovens. They are so naïve they are even enamored by One Republic, just wait until they get to hear some real music like The Clash. How the Amish are able to afford such a swanky LA pad goes unexplained, but I guess when you are not spending all your money on disposable income on iPads, Playstations, or even groceries because you grow and kill your own food, it is easier to save a nest egg.
Then the Amish go to a college party to party like it’s 1699 with the “faithless” including Jesse McCartney (Beautiful Soul). Since this is a Lifetime Movie, it from there can go one of two ways: they can be roofied and taken advantage of or fall in love with a modern boy who teaches her there is more to the modern world than toasters and computers. (Granted the ultimate Lifetime Movie, both would end up happening.) But with a title like Expecting Amish, the result of the trip to Los Angeles is fairly obvious. Then, of course, hilarity ensues (well depending if you take Lifetime movies serious or watch them semi-ironically).
Expecting Amish premieres Saturday at 8:00 on Lifetime. Two more Lifetime movies premiering this month includes Guilty at 17 premiering on Sunday at 7:00. It is a thriller starring Erin Sanders who co-stars on Melissa and Joey. She plays 17 year old Traci, who falsely accuses a teacher of sexually harassing another student. When the teacher commits suicide and Traci finds out the teacher was really innocent, she confides in a substitute teacher who places both of them in danger when she takes matters into her own hands. Also there is The Chocking Game premieres on Saturday, July 26 at 8:00. Based on the YA novel called Choke by Diana Lopez, Freya Tingley (Jersey Boys), Peri Gilpin (Frasier) and Alexandra Steele (De Grassi) star in the drama that follows a teenager who flirts with disaster after being introduced to the "game" of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain to get high.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
In a time when zombies are all the rage, it should be commended that Lifetime went with a witch themed token sci-fi show instead of jumping on that bandwagon or even trying to restart the vampire era. (with that said, I am looking forward to FX’s The Strain, the first vampire themed form of entertainment I have watched since the series finale of Angel other than Let Me In.) But was Witches of East End any good? Not really, but again, I am just a dude, and the show does fit in well to the Lifetime esthetic and is back for a second season this weekend.
In the end of last season, the witches failed to keep the portal to Asgard from opening and the viewers last saw a glowing light on all of the titular witches. The new season starts off a couple days later and naturally everyone present lost their memories of whom, or what came through the portal. But do not worry, you will learn who, came through by the end of the episode and it will be exactly who you think it was (hint: it was not Loki).
Unfortunately the boring Abercrombie boy is back, but he is just slightly more entertaining the season after possibly killing off his brother at the end of last season, again, that mystery will be solved by the end of the episode and you will not have to wait long for that answer. Ingrid continues to be the most interesting part of the show (by most interesting, I mean only interesting except whenever Tom Lenk (who also appeared on the previously mentioned Angel) pops up which thankfully he does in the premiere). This season it sound like she is going to try to be more adventurous this season.
Witches of East End airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Witches of East End on iTunes.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Ten years ago Desperate Housewives debuted and quickly became the guiltiest guilty pleasures of all time. There was an interesting mystery about a suicide, dark underlining humor, and of course, Eva Longoria in her underwear almost every week. Once the mystery as to why Mary Alice killed herself was solved, the show had a hard time coming up with a storyline as gripping (the second season featured some weird kid in the basement storyline that may or may have not been totally cribbed from The Goonies) and the show slowly went downhill. I gave up on the show right around the time a tornado hit Wisteria Lane.
By the time Desperate Housewives was winding down, creator Mark Cherry was reading a spinoff not on any of the main characters but on guest star who works as a maid for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. ABC passed on Devious Maids, but Lifetime, possibly looking for a buzzy show that was part Desperate Housewives, part modern day Downton Abby, to counter their appearance of being the cheesy ripped from the headlines channel decided to pick it up. Much like its predecessor, it features character with plenty of secrets and dark humor.
And of course the show resolved around a murder mystery. The series premiere featured a maid being murdered and her boyfriend being charged. Naturally he did not do it because that would make a boring show. It turned out the suspect’s mother became the latest maid in the area to spy on the dead maid’s former employers in hopes to uncover who really killed her predecessor. Unfortunately the other four maids on the show had storylines that were not nearly as interesting. There was the maid who caught her employer in bed with a man who was not her husband. The maid who wanted to be a singer. And the mother who did not want her daughter to date the son they worked for.
By the end of the season, the murder mystery was wrapped up in a nice bow with the real killer “confessed before killing himself.” The aspiring pop singer was propositioned to be the beard for her employer in exchanged for a record contract. The daughter maid started packing after her mother lied to her about her boyfriend. And the cliffhanger resolved around the maid who slept with her employer getting arrested by ICE with his wife looking on with a smile on her face.
The second season naturally starts off in 1999. What happened fifteen years ago? Murder of course. Back in 2014, it has been three months since the first season finale. Two of the maid have moved on up to the east side. Carmen is enjoying her life as a beard (granted Odessa is not). Marisol has gone to cleaning houses in Beverly Hills to living in one and now has a devious maid of her own who seems to be even more devious than last year's maids. Rosie is seeking asylum in hopes staying in the country. Zoila and Valentina are still estranged because of the deception. And of course the Powell’s, who remain the most entertaining characters on the show, have a new maid, their sixth in the series (and may quickly be in the need of a seventh whom you will recognize).
Despite the opening, there really is no new murder mystery yet (we the viewers can guess one of two things that happened). The Stapports seem to be gone with nary of a mention. There are some bombshells, but mostly of the run of the mill nighttime soap kind. But hey, at least there are no creepy kids in the basement.
Devious Maids airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetimes. You can stream past episodes on Hulu. You can also download Devious Maids on iTunes.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Up to now I have reviewed a couple Lifetime series, but let’s be honest, the bread and butter of the channel are ripped from the headline original movies and remakes so I thought I would give one a review. Their latest ripped from the headline movie is actually comes from the headlines in the 90’s, the 1890’s. Even if you are unfamiliar with the story of Lizzie Borden, the title Lizzie Borden Took an Ax kind of explains it all (Spoiler Alert!: she did not become the world’s first lumberjack).
Lizzie Borden was one of the first media murder suspect sensations, the OJ Simpson of her time, a Sunday school teacher accused of brutally killing her father and step-mother with the titular murder weapon. The trial was front page news with an outcome never a given. Questions still remain to this day as the CSI team was not as thorough as they are today. Back then detectives would have suspect reach out their hands so they could inspect for blood splatter. Though vague throughout most at the movie, the movie does take a definitive stand at what exactly happened at the end.
Picking up the ax for Lifetime is Christina Ricci (Addams Family). While Billy Campbell (who stays in the time period after last year’s Killing Lincoln) plays the lawyer whose main defense is that women are not capable of such a heinous crime. The movie is overdramatic and exactly what I thought a Lifetime movie would be. But I will give the movie points for the completely out of place soundtrack of modern blues-rock songs like the appropriately titled Psychotic Girl by The Black Keys.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax airs Saturday at 8:00 on Lifetime.
Thursday, October 03, 2013
The Witches of Eastwick, the last of which did not last a full season on ABC just four years ago. This based on another book of the same name released just two years ago.
The show follows a modern day witch, Julia Ormond (last seen in a ballroom with Roger Sterling) who has been “cursed” with immortality. But the rub is that though she stays timeless, her children keep on dying as a part of the curse, the same two children are born again right after they die because as Salam taught us, no one likes witches. So in their most recent incarnation, Julie has decided not to tell her daughters about their supernatural gift.
And then in the span of days, one daughter Jenna Dewan-Tatum (the short-lived The Playboy Club) wishes her soon to be mother-in-law to chock on an appetizer only for it to happen making her think she has some special power, which she does. While the more skeptical daughter, Rachel Boston (American Dreams) jokingly performs a fertility spell she got off the internet to help a co-worker get pregnant, which shows up with a positive test the very next day. Oh yeah, and a dude crawls out a painting in their house. Things get more complicated and secrets harder to hide when Aunt Mädchen Amick (Dream Lover) the more wild-child sibling and has the more humorous “curse”, who has not spoke with her sister since the seventies, which was long before her niece’s latest incarnation
Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons. He only gets a line or two in the Pilot but hopefully he pops up for longer in future episodes. As you may have not noticed, Lenk is the first guy I mentioned because like most Lifetime shows and movies, this one is populated with boring actors cast straight from the Ambrocrombie catalogue and as so boring they could very well just be reanimated poster cut-outs (this is a show about witches so it is possible).
But as the third Lifetime that I have given a try, Witches of East End was the most entertaining by far. And at its best it could rival Ironside for the best new hate-watching show of the fall. Unfortunately for both shows, there is plenty of good shows on this fall, there may not be any time to hate-watch anything unless you want to save it for the holiday repeats or next summer.
Witches of East End airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime. You wil be able to download Witches of East End on iTunes.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Even though I was not in its target demographic, I have to admit I did watch Desperate Housewives. Hey, Eva Longoria spent quite of bit of time in her underwear. Plus the show was cheesy fun with a dark undertone; the show did start off with one of the characters committing suicide in the quiet suburban town. After two or three season, not even Eva Longoria’s underwear could keep me watching as the premise got stale. My sources tell me that Devious Maids is a Desperate Housewives spin-off (but not in a Frasier vein where a main character gets their own show but in a Just the Ten of Us kind of spin-off where a random guest star sets off the new series). The show ended up not getting picked up by ABC but ended on Lifetime.
Considering that again I am not really in the demographic that watches the network for woman, I still gave Devious Maids a try because, well, it features the equivalent of five Eva Longoria’s in their underwear, nary an old housewife among them, even if not of the cast members are attractive as Eva and barely reach her beauty cumulatively. Much like its predecessor, Devious Maids stars off with a death, but this time it is murder but the deceased does not end up narrating the show. And if you think the guy with the bloody knife they find staggering out of the room is actually the murderer, you obvious do not watch enough television.
It is a bit odd that the big murder mystery is already solved within minutes because let’s face it; none of these girls are Veronica Mars. Sure some of them have bigger ambitions than cleaning toilets, and one has a very huge secret, but solving a conspiracy is not something any of them I suspect could uncover. The maids range from one that is told by a potential employer that she sounds like she went to college (Ana Ortiz, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son) but coming from the upper crust of Beverly Hill that actually comes off as an insult. Another is an aspiring pop star (Roselyn Sanchez, Rush Hour 2). While one (Dania Ramirez, Rush Hour 2) want to bring her child stateside while she raises some rich chick’s kid. Lastly there is the single mother (Judy Reyes, Scrubs) who tries to keep her daughter from hooking up with the boy whose sheets she washes.
One big problem Devious Maids has is its humongous cast, like HBO huge. You have the five maids and the five families that they work for making for a main cast of fourteen actors (thankfully one of the houses is usually unattended), that lead to some confusion early on of who is who, and who is working for who. But like the early seasons of Desperate Housewives the show is quick witted with an in-depth murder mystery with rich people, The Powell’s, who steal any scenes may be even more devious than their maids who are quick to ask the police who will clean up the mess after their maid was murder. The only question now is how long until the show falls off the cliff creatively like its predecessor did. Hopefully we can get one entertaining season out of it.
Devious Maids airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime. You can stream the show on Hulu. You can also download Devious Maids on iTunes.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
In a measure of full discourse, I should mention I am a straight man so in my lifetime, I have managed to avoid the Lifetime network. I think it is somewhere in between the local sports network and MSNBC (natch). I am not entirely sure, but I also think the Lifetime Movie Channel (which I think are affiliated with each other) is among that tier of three digit channels I never go into (which begs the question why am I paying so much for cable when I watch less than twenty of the a thousand channels I have, but anyway).
But recently Lifetime was kind enough to give me access to their screeners so I decided to check out all they have to offer (I fear I will be spending the weekend watching all the Lifetime movies they have to offer including Restless Virgins starring Switched at Birth’s Vanessa Marano premiering this Saturday) one of which is the second season premiere of The Client List. Since I did not have time to watch the entire first season, I watched the eight minute recap video embedded below:
R Kelly was on the show!?! Please tell me on the show she is having an affair black midget that cannot control his bladder while married to Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire. I am actually excited to watch now, let move on to season two.
It dawned on me while watching the second season premiere that this may be the first time I have seen anything with Jennifer Love Hewitt in it since Heartbreakers. Actually, has she even been in anything since Heartbreakers besides Ghost Whisperer? It is amazing to think how Love went from the hottest thing on the planet for a year and half to just completely drop off the cultural zeitgeist.
I really cannot talk much about the actual second season premiere because like many advanced viewing, I am forbidden by the network from reporting any big spoilers, and there is a pretty big plot twist at the start of the episode (which opens where the last season ended with a state trooper getting out of his patrol car) and that plot carries through the entire episode. I can tease that someone quits The Rub, another finds love, there is an unintentionally funny training montage set to Kelly Clarkson, and someone actually utters the line, “You’re really going to blow the clients away, pun intended.” I can also sadly report that Bridget does not have any run-ins with any black midgets. Oh well, maybe next episode.
The Client List airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Client List on iTunes.