The Lizzie Borden Chronicles – Season 1

imageIf you were asked to create a mini-series based on a famous historical figure, Lizzie Borden is probably not the first name that comes to mind. Perhaps if it was based on one of the most infamous women in history, then you’d have something. And so it is that Lifetime and Christina Ricci offer us this "fictionalized" version of the events that take place right after Lizzie is acquitted of the crime of killing both her parents.

Lizzie and Emma simply want to put the past behind them, perhaps move away from the looks, the stares, the nursery rhymes. But there is a problem, it appears father was in debt up to his eyeballs and the collector is knocking. The inheritance Lizzie and Emma are entitled to is not only in jeopardy, but is quite possibly going to be wiped out. If this sort of thing keeps up, Lizzie and Emma will be out on the street. What’s a girl to do?

In this narrative, Lizzie is a woman who knows how to get things done and how to remove obstacles. It usually involves the business end of a knife, axe or pitchfork, but she gets things done. People who cross her path usually end up face down in the river. There is little doubt that Lizzie was behind the events that plagued her mother and father, but it’s highly unlikely that it started there and it’s for damn sure not stopping there.

While Lizzie is hard at work with her negotiations and business dealings, a Pinkerton has rolled into town looking to find out information about Lizzie. He’s been tasked with looking into the murders. What’s he going to do with this information and who hired him remains to be seen. But he’s a determined investigator and is soon piecing together a most interesting tale.

She’s not the only one of interest though. We have the crass and possibly abusive Innkeeper, his demure and kind hearted wife who seems to have taken a shine to the Pinkerton, the police who feel the rash of murders in town are a strange coincidence, the constable that has taken a shine to Emma, the drunken half-brother that’s swept into town looking for his cut of the Borden inheritance and the frequently inebriated playwright that is looking to Lizzie to back his next work, the prostitute with a heart of gold that Lizzie brings in off the street and the "henchman" that probably knows a thing or two about the Borden murders.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is a pretty amusing tale full of deception, deceit, close calls, narrow escapes, uncovered evidence, secrets from the past, forbidden crime scenes and lots of "missing" characters. Lizzie is calm and meek on the outside, but under that ruffled dress with the wide shoulders lurks a very calculated woman.

I actually found this show to be quite entertaining. In many ways it reminds me of Dexter with the heroine trapped in an inescapable situation, yet there happens to be perfect timing or the unseen exit. Lizzie is just one step ahead of her story and every time someone asks too many questions, we shake our heads. Every time it looks like she’s disposed of a problem, someone new crops up looking for the person she just dealt with. Even Emma begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem.

While it’s certainly an unusual topic, I quite enjoyed this series and wonder if we might be treated to a second season. It’s listed as a mini-series with only 8 episodes, but the ending certainly leaves the story open for continuation. I’d kind of like to see what Lizzie gets up to next. Will she actually settle down? Will she get found out? Dexter ran for several years, I don’t see why this couldn’t have a similar run.

For a Lifetime presentation, there’s quite a bit of hack and slash to this effort. We have flashbacks to the original murder scene and several of Lizzie’s other actions are replayed – in slow motion. Clearly not for the feint of heart, but then again, what part of Lizzie Borden gave you that idea?

I just watched the final episode, in fact, since the show just ended I watched all the episodes one after the other which made for exciting watching. There’s a lot of mixed reviews about this one, but I like it. If you’re looking for some campy thrill, I think this fits the bill quite nicely.

Here’s hoping to another mini-series or Season 2 or whatever they want to call it.

Of course, now I need to go watch the actual Lizzie Borden movie that Christina Ricci made. Seems I missed that along the way.

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