When the Lifetime Movie Channel aired “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” they had no idea the ratings would come in at 4.4 million viewers. That’s more than 3 times the viewership usually received on their formulated stories. Naturally, this sent the suits scurrying to turn it into a series which was going to be called “The Fall River Chronicles.”
I commented at the time there was so much more to Fall River’s history than just the Lizzie Borden story and it would be wonderful if they addressed that history, i.e, the mills and mill workers down in the slums contrasted by the mill owners, bankers and the like residing up on “the Hill”. A history rich in stories of the founding families who, for nearly 200 years, controlled Fall River and its “golden era” (the 1870’s) when cotton was King and Fall River was the Kingdom. But nooooooooooo. They opted to appeal to the prurient interests of knuckle-draggers as well as the mass audience that loves their true crime with lots of blood and gore. Alas, ratings equal sponsors and sponsors equal money and as with all things, it’s always about the money.
The collage above illustrates all the principle characters in the Borden case. They all have intriguing stories in and of themselves. Indeed, there are so many story lines to be told for each of those principles that it would could fill 8 seasons of programming let alone 8 episodes. However, the way in which the “Lizzie Borden Chronicles” is being dramatized by Lifetime they might as well call it the “Lizzie Schwartz Chronicles”. There will barely be a thread of resemblance to Lizzie herself in the way she looked and lived, let alone the people who were a part of her life. Instead, we shall see a psychopathic serial killer with wanton sexual desires played out against a threadbare tapestry of Victorian customs and costumes. Arrggghh.
Lifetime has committed to 8 episodes now and admits this series is not fact-based. Click HERE For some short videos neatly assembled and with their playing time, and with a few interviews I had not seen before, Click “Lizzie Borden’s Christina Ricci Talks ‘Satisfying,’ Expanded Round” on this same page.
Also, IMDB critic review already sees it for what it is – and “history be damned”.
I supposed there are many out there who knew from the get-go (as I did) that this series was going to be (and will be) crap. Don’t look for anything remotely like the truth or historical accuracy here. Accept it as your usual low brow television programming.
“Same World, Different Beast”