Friends, we have witnessed the passing of a golden age. Lifetime is going mainstream, and that means the heyday of the frantically titled, wildly dramatic Lifetime movie—cousin to the Harlequin category romance and the dramatic true stories that packed the women's magazines of the 1980s—is gone. Alas, we hardly knew ye.
To send this beloved subgenre of melodrama off to its place in the cultural afterlife (that is, Netflix), the good folks at the Washington Post put together a frankly delightful oral history of the network. It reveals that all those wild plot lines about women and #teens in terrible peril were dreamed up in precisely the manner you'd imagined:
" 'Teens in jeopardy' was an incredibly successful genre for us," Interian said, detailing how a film like "Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life" was created in 2005. "We would literally sit around a room and talk about all the horrible things that could happen to teens, or what teens could do. Someone said 'What if a teen's addicted to Internet porn?' And we said 'Great!' "
But times change—in 2009, the channel was acquired by A&E, which installed a new boss focused on rebranding. Then came the Steel Magnolias remake in 2012: "I think 'Steel Magnolias' was when we realized we had an audience out there who wanted that kind of quality programming that was for them," the channel's original movies VP Lisa Hamilton Daly told the Post. Considering Hollywood's given up on everything but Oscar bait and 'splode-y movies catering to teenage boys, it makes sense, and it's a good thing if there's one more outlet out there, trying to make stuff women want to see:
"Oh my God, it's like a salvation," said Allison Anders, who earned an Emmy nod for directing the June Carter Cash biopic "Ring of Fire." "I can't even tell you how often — it's not just me, any woman director will have had years of this experience — where you go in and you meet on something and they love all your ideas and then they hire some guy to do it. [With Lifetime], it's so great."
Just do a little better than the Aaliyah movie, OK?