Lifetime’s new drama “The Lottery” isn’t based on Shirley Jackson’s short story that many of us read in middle or high school.
Instead, this one is more closely attuned to “Children of Men,” the 2006 film starring Clive Owen and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. And for good reason. Timothy Sexton, who co-wrote “Men’s” screenplay is creator, executive producer and writer of “The Lottery,” which premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on Lifetime (Time Warner Cable channels 54, 211 and 1211).
The premise is similar, with women no longer giving birth to children. The population declined drastically in 2016, and in 2019, only six kids were born worldwide. It’s now 2025 and government-backed American scientists have successfully fertilized 100 embryos. A national lottery will be held to decide the surrogates.
Like “Children of Men,” the Lifetime drama is a thriller. The story focuses on one of the scientists (Marley Shelton), who is dismissed from her job after the successful fertilization. The government, apparently, found her to be too much of a wild card.
The other storyline involves a recovering alcoholic single father (Michael Graziadei), whose son was one of the last children born. He comes under heavy scrutiny, with the powers-that-be questioning his ability to parent his son.
The pilot is a little uneven. There’s a villain (played by Martin Donovan) within the government, but his agenda is extremely unclear, and the story of the recovering alcoholic dad seems to have little connection to the lottery. Still, the premise is intriguing -- a “what if” kind of science fiction story that makes you think. Grade: B
Across the remote
* Cote de Pablo’s next project is scheduled for TV and on CBS. The former “NCIS” star will be a part of “Dovekeepers,” a miniseries executive produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, to air in 2015. It’s based on Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about four women in ancient Israel whose lives intersect at the siege of Masada.
* Production begins in two weeks on the hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory.” Or will it. The series has yet to sign stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galeci, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg to new contracts. Stay tuned.
* Sean Hayes has landed a new gig after NBC canceled his comedy, “Sean Saves the World.” The former “Will & Grace” star signed on as a series regular on the CBS comedy “The Millers.” He’ll play Kip Withers, Carol Miller’s (Margo Martindale) new best friend.
* In other casting news, Sam Waterston (“Law & Order,” “The Newsroom”) is be a part of the Netflix’s upcoming comedy “Grace and Frankie” starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Taye Diggs, currently starring on TNT’s “Murder in the First,” will recur as an attorney during season six of “The Good Wife” (CBS), and rocker Courtney Love is joining FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” as Abel’s preschool teacher.
* A bunch of spring and summer shows are renewed. They are: “Catfish” (MTV), “Major Crimes” (TNT), “The Last Ship” (TNT), “Falling Skies” (TNT, for a fifth and final season), “Orphan Black” (BBC America) and “Broadchurch” (BBC America).
* “Glee’s” last season will feature 13 episodes, airing in consecutive weeks, beginning at midseason.