The Lottery: Baby Jackpot

Dr. Alison Lennon checks her phone for information about The Lottery.
The Lottery (Photo: Philippe Bosse / LIfetime)

Lifetime tries out science fiction with the pregnancy dystopia The Lottery. Is it a winner or should you scratch it off your list?

Show

The Lottery, Sundays at 10pm on Lifetime.

Premise

The Lottery is a tale of conformity gone mad dystopic look at a world where the birthrate has dropped to zero. The infertility pandemic began in 2016—this story takes place in 2025, where there are only six kids who are six years old. Dr. Alison Lennon (Marley Shelton) has managed to successfully fertilize about 100 eggs, but the government has stepped in to take over her lab and bring the embryos to term. A lottery will be established to determine the surrogates who will house the embryos, but there are a lot of medical ethics questions floating around. For example, Kyle Walker (Michael Graziadei) is the father of Elvis (one of the six kids) and one misstep has the government down his throat.

Pedigree

Timothy J. Sexton, who wrote the screenplay for Children of Men, is one of the writers and an executive producer. There’s also some talent from Hostages (hmmm), Prison Break, and CSI.

Who is The Lottery For?

There are a lot of comparisons that can be made about this show. Children of Men is definitely in the show’s DNA, but it also feels like the flipside of Orphan Black (sans clones…as far as I know) or the inverse of Torchwood: Miracle Day. If you liked T:MD, you’ll probably have an interest in The Lottery.

What Works

The basic premise is strong, even if the execution is somewhat shaky. The story takes place far enough after the inciting incident that the story is not overly concerned with why the birthrate dropped, though that question still hasn’t been answered.

What Doesn’t Work

The entire pilot is pregnant with clichés, from the scientists taking it personally, the government consolidating power (that goes all the way to the top! BUREAUCRATS!), and six-year-old Elvis being infantilized to the point of being extremely irritating. The pilot also does a lot of jumping around in the “It’s five years later, it’s three days earlier, we’re in Balitmore, we’re in Pittsburgh” sense that makes shows like The Event and Lost incredibly irritating.

Verdict

Watch the pilot. The Lottery has enough potential that you may find that you can get on-board. I found it way too similar to T:MD and would prefer not being disappointed again.

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv
  • Aaron Mucciolo

    We should do a ranking of flashback- or Pulp Fiction timeline-based series. The cliches abound, but sometimes it’s done fine (Lost) and sometimes I’d say it even adds a lot (1st season of Damages).