Spoiler Alert: This show is just terrible.
For most of us morbid Gen-Y’s Christina Ricci is a goth culture household name. While most other girls were busy dressing in tutus and tiaras, fashioned after some Disney Princess, I was preoccupied with stretching a black wig over my blonde hair in preparation for my grade school’s Halloween parade. Wednesday Adams was my hero. So naturally 24 years later, I was excited to see her return to the dark side of cinema in Lifetime’s mini series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles which first aired earlier this month.
Truthfully I did not pay attention to the fact that it was indeed a Lifetime production until I attempted to watch it. When I first noticed the new Lifetime logo in the right hand corner of the screen, (yes I streamed it, who the hell actually watches things on real TV these days?) I tried to put aside my skepticism; after all it has been something like 12 years since I have watched anything produced by Lifetime.
It only took about five minutes of weird intros and jarring out of place music before my sister blurted out: “I can’t, I can’t watch this, this is so terrible.”
It is clear Lifetime was attempting to draw in new viewers, however the only horror in their attempt to produce a horror story ended up being how bad it is. But in faith that we might be able to find something redeeming in such a well-cast production, full of some of my TV favorites, we kept watching…
It only got worse. Nine minutes in and credits were still rolling. Eleven minutes in and the oddly inappropriate British punk music was still playing. Twenty-two minutes in and I still did not care about anything that was happening on screen. By the end of the show I was laughingly glad it was over. So I suppose if comedy was what was intended, well at least it wasn’t a total waste of time.
This production really had it all: Bad dialogue, inexplicably shaky camera work, (Who’s following these characters around? Who?!) characters you can’t connect with, awful music, ill-placed slow motion shots. It’s almost like someone somewhere took a class on What Not To Do While Making a TV Show, and did exactly that.
How? Why? How do things this badly written get made? Why do actors who could be doing so much better bother with something so poorly put together? I do not have the answers, but I truly wish I could explain that reoccurring phenomenon.
What I do know is that from the first episode to the second The Lizzie Borden Chronicles saw a drastic drop in viewers, and I can honestly say I was one of the many who did not even bother watching the second episode.
Lifetime was never my favorite anything, but they are now on my list of least favorite people to have ever produced a gore flick. No amount of fake-blood splatter, amazing costumes or Christina Ricci’s cute face can bring this brutally murdered story back to life.
Like Lizzie Borden’s long deceased parents, this show is dead to me.
This article was written by Alethea Cho, a writer at dusk magazine.