Lizzie Borden Chronicles – “History Be Damned”

15 Jan


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.

facesThe 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”


Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Theatre & Film, TV


3 responses to “Lizzie Borden Chronicles – “History Be Damned”

  1. Daughter of Anarchy

    January 17, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    I will actually watch the show. It’s entertainment. It’s not as if Boardwalk Emoire or Inglorious Basterds were historically accurate. One of my favorite authors EL Doctorow wrote historical fiction.

    I think at the end of the day it gets Lizzie back in the news and gets people talking about her case. The show will succeed or fail based on how good it is, I think.

    I can’t imagine a large audience watching a show about Fall River’s history. Lizzie, for good or ill, is whet draws people in.

    • phayemuss

      January 22, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      Ahh, but it’s NOT about Fall River history. To compare it to Boardwalk Empire (an HBO series) and Inglorious Basterds (a Quinten Tarantino Oscar nominated film) is beyond the pale of righteousness. Indeed it will draw attention to Lizzie Borden but only in a way that fosters misinformation about the life she led post Trial and false characterization of the woman she was. The producers don’t give a fig about any historical accuracy. They didn’t even film it in the U.S., let alone show images of the real home at 92 Second Street which the viewing audience can relate to as it’s so prominent on the internet. I maintain it will be low-brow entertainment for those who like their true crime dramas bloody, sexy, and historical accuracy be damned. Hence, that’s why I say they might as well have called it “The Lizzie Schwarz Chronicles” – they could do voice over promos: “The story of a sexually repressed Victorian axe murderous who got away with killing her father and mother and kills again, and again.” I would have no problem with that at all. 🙂

  2. Daughter of Anarchy

    January 23, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    You may be right but where it was filmed doesn’t reflect on the quality. The History Channel did their Hatfields and McCoys show outside the United States in Europe because they couldn’t afford to stage it in the United States. That was a great show.

    I’m older so I remember shows like the untouchables which took great liberties with history. Even the feature film did, Frank Nitti wasn’t thrown off a roof by Elliot Ness played by Kevin Costner. He took over Al Capone’s rackets in Chicago.

    I get your point though, this may be much more Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (terrible movie) than the Untouchables, but I will still give it a chance. I love the period and am fascinated with Lizzie. There’s apparently a whole subgenre of literary fiction surrounding Lizzie, some rooted in a semi reality, others where she’s fighting Cthulhu demons with an axe in comic book fashion.

    If however the show is terrible, the fact that it’s fiction (or accurate, which it’s apparently not) won’t matter.


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