New Lifetime show more than 'television for women'
Remember when Lifetime was strictly “television for women” full of sappy, romantic made-for-TV movies?
Those days are clearly over with the premiere of a drama unlike anything Lifetime has ever done before-a thriller with both political and sci-fi undertones that could change the way we look at Lifetime for good.
“The Lottery” is set in 2025 in a world where no babies have been born in six years and dating partners are based more on fertility possibilities than on looks or personality. But after years of research, Dr. Alison Lennon (Marley Shelton) has finally found a way to fertilize 100 embryos. However, just as soon as she does, the director of the U.S. Fertility Commission, Darius Hayes (Martin Donovan), swoops in and takes over her operation, firing her from her job. Lennon won’t go quietly, though, and decides to find her own way of creating life, enlisting the help of her lab assistant, James (David Alpay), who is still part of the lab. However, the commission has no intention of letting Lennon ruin their plans and they start to take drastic-and mysteriousactions to stop her.
In the White House, Chief of Staff Vanessa Keller (Athena Karkanis) convinces the President that the best way to handle the 100 embryos is to have a lottery to choose which women will carry them to term. But it’s possible she may have her own interests more at heart than the President’s. Plus, she also has to deal with Hayes.
Meanwhile, the commission is hassling Kyle Walker (Michael Graziadei), the father of one of the last six children born. The government has taken a very big interest in the child’s well-being, which causes Walker to take some drastic action as well.
For much of the hour, “Lottery” just kind of floats around without giving any real sense that it’s going anywhere. The unique concept almost seems too much for the show to handle because there just seem to be too many details. But in the last 20 minutes everything finally comes together as the show kicks into another gear thanks to a sinister plot twist and a boost in the action. And like any good thriller, the seemingly unrelated stories find a clever way to converge, opening up a host of possibilities for future episodes.
“The Lottery” is a radical departure for Lifetime, but it’s a good one that could open up a lot of new programming avenues for a network that just used to be the therapy you needed to have a good cry.
“The Lottery” premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday, July 20 on Lifetime.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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