Poking fun at its own reputation as a purveyor of melodramatic TV movies, Lifetime debuts a new reality-hybrid series titled “My Life Is a Lifetime Movie.” With a heavy emphasis on its trademark woman-in-peril motif, the show weaves flashy reenactments together with real-life interviews. More like great water-cooler gossip than actual true-crime material, the self-deprecating humor helps but doesn’t exactly distinguish the series from other examples of this genre, which is already prevalent on channels like Investigation Discovery.
Containing two stories in each hour, the premiere starts with the seemingly winning combination of sex and spies. “Lovely Little Liars” first looks at small town in Iowa rocked by accusations that Jodi Barrus, a popular female teacher, had sex with a student — a story that’s mostly just troubling, albeit filled with salacious sexual details.
The second half focuses on a woman who discovers her third husband is not a refugee rescue worker, as she believes, but in fact a Cuban spy. Both stories get stretched like a pair of ill-fitting yoga pants to fill out the hour.
Granted, everyone’s thought at one point or another their life would be great fodder for a TV movie. But while the concept is intriguing, there’s a fine line between sleazy fun and being convicted of a felony.
Lifetime has ordered seven episodes of the series, with upcoming titles like “I Married a Teenager” and “Prince Charming and the Swinger.”
If the idea succeeds, the network seemingly will have opened the floodgates to an inexhaustible supply of material plucked from the headlines — stories viewers can consume, for better or worse, in half the time it takes to watch an actual Lifetime movie.