The Anna Nicole Story. Liz & Dick. This is the kind of “ripped from the headlines” celebutainment feature that stalwart cable channel “for women” Lifetime has brought to the masses—accuracy and subtlety be damned.
“Lisa refuses to play dodgeball because she is sad.” This simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking line is ripped from the wonkily drawn first season of TheSimpsons, in the episode “Moaning Lisa,” where the 8-year-old wunderkind suffers from a bout of depression.
Like Homeland, it’s closest cousin in the world of prestige dramas, new BBC drama The Honorable Woman placesa powerful-but-unstable woman in the midst of one of the great geopolitical crises of our time.
I got hooked on Devious Maidswhen it premiered last year a for good reason: I was excited to see so many Latina actresses in their 30s and 40s engaging issues of race, class, and gender within the soap opera formula. As part of the Lifetime Network brand, I didn’t expect deep and subtle storytelling, I expected fun, sexy, romantic, sentimental and overly dramatic camp. And I got it. While there was much to like about the women in the initial episodes, I became quickly disillusioned with the show.
Witches of East End is one of many current TV shows about supernatural phenomena. But unlike other shows that deal with otherworldly forces, Witches of East End—which is currently airing its second season on Lifetime—illustrates an important real-life history lesson: how one of society’s favorite ways to persecute women and justify violence against them has historically been to brand them as witches. The series reminds us how patriarchal cultures vilify women who are considered too capable or independent.
Saved by the Bell premiered 25 years ago this summer. We're sure to be seeing a lot of loving retrospectives of the sitcom about six friends in an upper-middle class high school, so I'm here to say that nostalgia has not made the show any more digestible. Instead, watching the show today feels like consuming a television relic.