Review of "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles" on Lifetime From The TV MegaSite

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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

"The Lizzie Borden Chronicles" review by Suzanne 3/23/15
Premieres Sunday, April 5 10/9c on Lifetime

This is a limited-run series (what they used to call a miniseries) sequel to the original movie "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" from last year. Both star Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall as Lizzie and her sister Emma. Otherwise, the cast is all different.

In the first movie, we see how Lizzie's dad and step-mom were killed, after she had gotten in trouble with them for stealing. She was arrested and tried for the murders but found not guilty. At the end of the movie, after a party, she confesses to her sister that she did kill them, and her sister leaves.  Some of the movie was not based in fact, but in real life, Lizzie and Emma did have a fight after a party, and they never spoke again. Emma moved away.

However, I guess the ratings did well, so they made this follow-up, which seems to be completely fictional. Lizzie and Emma are still in their parents' house, and struggling financially with their father's debts.  Their never-before-mentioned brother returns and wants to get his share of their dad's money. A mysterious, handsome Pinkerton man is there to investigate the original murders. Someone finds a dead baby's skeleton. Lizzie continues her murderous ways.

I guess it's supposed to be kind of like "Bates Motel", but it's not nearly as well written. Things don't really make too much sense; it's sort of all over the place. Also, since it's based on a true story, it's a bit disconcerting that they've decided to change so many things. I'm not saying it's boring. Lots of stuff happens. I'm just not sure that I care all that much. Lizzie was a lot more sympathetic in the first movie, when we didn't know for sure if she did it, or why. Turning her into a crazy b*tch doesn't work. Her sister seems completely naive and clueless.

Things get more interesting in the second episode. We feel more sympathy for Lizzie; she's somewhat of a feminist. Her character evolves. I can't say too much for fear of ruining the plot. It's a fun ride and has a lot of good actors in it. I wouldn't say it's good TV, but it's better than the original movie and the characters are much more fleshed-out.


The Lizzie Borden Chronicles delivers an intense and fictionalized account of actual events and people surrounding Lizzie’s life after her controversial acquittal of the horrific double murder of her father and stepmother in 1892, when the exonerated figure lives a life awash in newfound celebrity. But when numerous people close to Lizzie – ranging from her half-brother to Broadway luminaries and the head of the criminal underworld -- start to mysteriously die under brutal and strange circumstances, legendary Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser, Good Will Hunting) becomes determined to prove her involvement in their ultimate demise. Emmy nominee John Heard (The Sopranos) will portray William Almy, the business partner of Lizzie’s murdered father Andrew, while Lizzie’s half-brother William will be played by Andrew Howard (Hatfields & McCoys).

Premieres Sunday, April 5, at 10pm ET/PT

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