A The Lottery Community
Lifetime (ended 2014)

Remember when summer TV used to just be reruns? Then remember when it was just a place for networks to dump some reality shows and burn off unaired episodes of canceled shows? I kind of miss those days! Summer is now a hotbed of new shows, and because the TV schedule has become an increasingly year-round deal, new shows are still rolling out left and right, as is the case with Lifetime's new dystopian sci-fi drama, The Lottery. Yes, you read that correctly: The network is venturing into (very) soft sci-fi territory to complement its more fantasy-driven offering, Witches of East End. But is The Lottery worth watching, or is it a bad bet? Read on to find out. 


What's The Lottery about? Is it an adaptation of that Shirley Jackson short story I had to read in school?

No, it is not an adaptation of that classic American tale of communal stoning. This The Lottery is set in a not-too-far-ahead future where no new babies have been born for about five years and civilization is starting to cru—


Wait. This sounds like Children of Men. Is this a TV version of Children of Men, or the book it was based on by P.D. James?

Well, kind of, but not really. It has the same basic premise, but whereas Children of Men was set around 20 years after human infertility began—by which time the world had become pretty horrible—The Lottery's circumstances aren't as dire (yet). In 2016, birth rates plummeted. In 2019, only six kids were born. It's 2025 when the series begins, and while things have certainly changed, they haven't reached the extremes of Children of Men. Plus, there’s still hope: A team of American scientists have successfully created 100 human embryos, and the government is planning to hold a lottery to select the women who will carry them—to hopefully be the mothers of the future of the human race (at least in the United States). Not everyone is particularly keen on this idea, however, and that's the driving force behind the show.


Who's responsible for giving life to The Lottery?

The show was created by Timothy J. Sexton, who was, you will not be surprised to learn, one of the screenwriters of Children of Men. I guess he's just really interested in this idea. Also behind the scenes are producers Danny Cannon (NikitaAlcatraz, Gotham) and Dawn Olmstead.

Leading the cast are Marley Shelton as Dr. Alison Lennon, the woman behind the project to create the embryos; Michael Graziadei as Kyle, the struggling single father of one of the six kids born in 2019; Athena Karkanis as White House Chief of Staff Vanessa Keller to Yul Vásquez's President of the United States; and Martin Donovan is Darius Hayes, a super shady power-broker type of guy. David Alpy, Shelley Conn, and J. August Richards also appear. 


When does The Lottery begin?

The Lottery begins Sunday, July 20 at 10pm on Lifetime. 



How can I tell if I should enter The Lottery?

If you like your science-fiction grounded in reality, with only a little bit of far-fetched/likely wholly inaccurate science to justify the premise, The Lottery might be worth checking out.


What elements of The Lottery has that new baby smell?

I’m very excited about the The Lottery's world. The U.S. government has shifted enough that the president can apparently be recalled by the opposition party. Women are required to undergo fertility testing, which appears to mean surrendering an egg for experimentation. The women whose eggs were successfully fertilized have no rights to said eggs. Selling fertility drugs is a crime. There’s also a seemingly omnipotent Department of Humanity. All together, it's some nice world-building that could end up saying something interesting about women's bodies and rights in today’s world. In a lot of ways, The Lottery's emphasis on female biology reminds me a lot of what I liked about Orphan Black before it got too bogged down by schemes within conspiracies within intrigues. I also like that the lead character, Alison, is something of a jerk.



And what about The Lottery has the stink of a used diaper?

Despite my enthusiasm for the show's ideas and premise, the pilot is rather airless. Performances are a little wobbly (Shelton, in particular, can't seem to find a consistent energy or tone), dialog comes off as stilted, and some of the plot mechanics are a little bit hazy, notably the reason Alison's boss Darius is so quick to fire her from the embryo project even though she's the person who's responsible for its success. There’s a potential reason, but the opening episode never connects the dots; the show just wanted Alison out of the lab, I guess.


So are you recommending this, or not?

I’m going with "yes" because even with its faults, I'm still very interested, and sort of excited, about the show's potential. Of course, it could also all come crashing down in Episode 2; it’s hard to tell.


Can I see a trailer?

Of course!



The Lottery premieres Sunday, July 20 at 10pm on Lifetime. 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/28/2014

Season 1 : Episode 10

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I've been watching since the pilot and I still like it. There are some stupid plots but enough to keep my interest.
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Trying to get through the 3rd episode.. overall it's not bad, just not great.

Although I did just realize that in this reality, the last teens have come to the conclusion that "we can just have sex, without protection and we're not going to get pregnant? Woot, count me in!!!"

Of course remembering back to being a teenager (all those years ago) it is those that don't want to get pregnant that always end up pregnant at the smell of it, so I gather in this reality the last 'teen's" parents are probably actively trying to get their kids laid at that one chance of it happening. :D
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WTF! how did it get SOOO boring in just 2 episodes??
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I watched episode 2 last night. It was watchable, but not great. I rated it a 6.0. At the end of the pilot, the government arrested the doctor. Giving us great tension, and suspense. But they hit the reset button, in this episode. Poor writing, they give us a conflict and confrontation, then just undue the entire thing this episode. :/

The father with his little boy, was another failure in writing. You knew he was going to get the insulin. You knew he would get by the roadblock. You knew the little boy wasn't going to die. No real tension. "I have an army buddy, who's going to hook us up with passports." LOL, Seriously? So soldiers know how to make/ acquire fake passports? A carrier general, who rose to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is not going to disobey a direct order, from the Commander in Chief. What is it with the Hollywood elitists, always wanting to depict the the US military as bad guys? A covert government agency, with a lot of power? Sure, it's a classic, but the military? Clueless. Fail.

I'll give this show, a few more episodes. The writing needs to pick up. But if it turns into a far left political propaganda piece, i'm out of here.

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I thought the pilot was interesting. I bumped up my rating a notch. As a pilot, it did it's job. It introduced some major characters, and showed us the general concept. Did a little world building. Laid out some plots, and gave us a general idea, where the story may be going. I rated it an 8.0.
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OMG Another of this junk plot seen this so story so many times!! Not watching this!
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Was interested enough to read the article. When I got to the sexual politics aspect of the show, which sounded a bit heavy handed, I decided not to bother with the DVR.
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It is LIfetime at some point someone is going to steal someone's baby.
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LOL you have no idea how quickly that happens within the first episode
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I would have watched if it was a take on Borges' short story masterpiece of the same name , but infertility, no thank you.
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Looks okay. I'm still miffed at Tim for low-balling The Last Ship--which is actually quite excellent--so I'll give this one a try. The jury's still out on Extant and the Leftovers, but I'm not ready to give up on them just yet. When is Amazon releasing The After--loved that pilot.
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Is it really worth watching? His pilot review left me well put off, someone else recommended it to me, guess I should give it a try? Must say it's more fool me as Tim's opinion is usually contrary to everything I think.
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When should anyone take seriously what Tin Tim has to say? The man is useless as a reviwer, you know that.
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Huh! So this is where Halle Berry got her baby... I knew alien babies could not real....
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Staff
HA.
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Hi Noel

No defiance review this week. It was the best episode of this season.
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Pageviews haven't been there. As for the best...eh. Was not my cup of tea at all. Almost did a discussion starter, but didn't have time. Hoping to do one next week.
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Thanks for the reply. I will be watching The lottery.
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Arghh!!! My love of Marley Shelton is in such a heated battle with my absolute hatred of Lifetime... My poor little brain is turning into scorched earth over this...
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if its on life time its going to be cancel after one season
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Eh. Not necessarily. While they have plenty of one season shows (what channel and network doesn't?), they've had some successes, too, including Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, and The Client List. Both Devious Maids and Witches of East End are in their second seasons.

The genre shift might be an issue, but I'm intrigued by Lifetime's decision to even go with this because of that.
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I'm still going to pass, but I appreciate you taking the time to sit through this and explain it to us. I look forward to finding out if you survived the season or bowed out early (I'm betting the latter based chiefly on it being on Lifetime).
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We'll see. It's got a 'Record series' on my DVR right now.
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Thanks, Noel. It's earned a 'Record Series' on my DVR as well. Of course, with the continuing absurd Sunday night quality drama pileup, it's not going to record until the Monday repeat! That might be a problem ratings-wise, even with lower basic cable expectations.
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I always forget that P. D. wrote The Children of Men. I seem to have a block when it comes to remembering her being the author of anything other than the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. I very much enjoyed the TV adaptations of those.

So a team of scientists has created embryos? Um, okay. That's a neat trick.

I literally don't know where Lifetime is on my "dial" so it's a given I won't see this. Still, I'm glad Marley found some work. She was good in Planet Terror and acceptable in the US remake of Eleventh Hour.
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At the very least, they get the zygote going, but they keep saying embryo. Again: Soft sci-fi
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Ah, well, "go" is the central part of "zygote," after all. Okay, I'll stop.

I suspect you may have put more science into your first sentence there than the entire show will. Zing!

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Now i've seen the trailer on you tube ,it's seems engaging. we'll see.
Why the lead is a jerk?
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She's a love 'em and leave 'em type. Also rude, sort of bristly and matter-of-fact. Type of character you'd see Dana Delany nailing without a second thought.
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not available!!!!
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… in your country ? I got the same annoying message trying to play the trailer.
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I've to watch it on you tube.It's OK.
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When doesn't Martin Donovan play a character who is super shady? That's like .. his role. In fact, right now he's in 'Rogue' as the shady deputy chief of the Oakland PD. He always does a good job in that role and Marley Shelton isn't too tough to watch (although it sounds like she may have some edges to clear off of this role). Cool premise. Never watched anything on this network so I think I'll give it a try.
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I actually like Shelton, too, but I think there's a real possibility she's miscast here.
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Not a hope it had me sci-fi but then after reading this and viewing the trailer not a hope in hell.
Don't get me wrong I'm all for sci-fi it's a nice escape from reality but anything with pregnancy/babies just puts me off big time.
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Well I advice you to open your mind a little, at least to check out Extant because it's promising and sci-fi enough.
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Well I have been watching extant and it so far does not encourage me to look forward to the following episode. I have sat through many sci-fi shows in the past and like I said the lottery is not (for me anyways) on my watch list. As I said before everyone had different tastes my mind is always open to new shows but for me first impressions are good enough for me and for me the lottery is a NO. sorry
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Odds of infertility being humanity's big issue in science/logic oriented future?.... Not so high. Basic lack of any familiarity with science for the show writers? Another 'sci-fi' I think I'll pass on.
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Well you should really update your knowledge. At least watch Will Sex Become Extinct (Through the Wormhole).
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Now I'm not sure Through the Wormhole would be my Science Go To guy, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Now, I believe the general idea for this episode, straight from IMDB is; "Every person who has lived was created from the genes of one man and one woman, but human reproduction is about to undergo a revolution. Technology is close to making children from two fathers, or two mothers. If this is the case, will sex become extinct?"
You think we'll be making test tube children from boys and boys, and girls and girls, and so on, but won't be able to get normal reproduction to work anymore? RIght subject, wrong direction. As the episode implies, our medical and scientific understanding of reproduction and genes gets better every day, an apocalyptic scenario where noone can have children is unlikely. A future where the beaurocracy artificially makes people infertile may be possible, but that's really another beast isn't it?
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Ever heard of AIDS and other sexual diseases ? Yes our knowledge grows but it also opens doors that make things even more complex. There're even theories that revolutionize science and change everything. The Sun used to revolve around Earth for instance. Moreover it's not because we know better that we can control better. The best example ? Our planet ! Environmental issues are at our door step. But let's go back to our reproduction system. It's not immune and evolve. For instance in the episode I mentioned it's well explained that the chromosom Y, that differences male (XY) from female (XX), is shrinking ! Of course its disappearance would probably be balanced by an evolution of our race but an other scenario could just be the extinction of men and even (wo)mankind. The whole point of science-fiction is to explore these endless possibilities even if these beasts scare us to death.
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Yes, shows where "the lead character is a bit of a jerk" always entice me to watch. Plus, the astute insight that somehow Orphan Black has veered off of a promising premise? I'm not sure about the show which sounds absurd and implausible about an investigation of themes about the nature of humanity that are only discussable because we've created a world antithetical to human nature, but I"m pretty sure I'm done with both it and this review.

Science fiction has to start with science and an basic understanding of humanity. Otherwise, it is just made up and can't be used to explore anything.
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This whole global infertility thing reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale.

I'll check The Lottery. Who knows? - It might be a good show. We'll see.
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Love sci-fi, but anything with pregnancy/babies just puts me off big time so undecided on this.
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I might try this show out once or twice. I love science fiction... but not just any old sci fi. I hope it's good.
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