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Lifetime’s The Lottery Channels Children Of Men: This Week’s Sci-Fi Television

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Lifetime isn’t a network that pops up here on GFR very often. Unless we’re making fun of it, and even that’s a rare event: it’s just not a place that has traditionally trafficked in science fiction. That’s changing this week thanks to a new series called The Lottery. There’s no relation to the Shirley Jackson short story you probably read in junior high. Instead it’s a dramatic thriller in the vein of Children of Men, exploring a world where women have mysteriously lost the ability to bear children. When a scientist manages to fertilize 100 embryos, the U.S. government seizes them and decides to implement a lottery to decide which women will get the honor of bearing the children that could help save the world.

The Lifetime comes by those Children of Men comparisons honestly. The series was created and written by Timothy J. Sexton, one of several credited writers on Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian classic. It’ll be interesting to see how he approaches such similar material in The Lottery, and Children of Men certainly set a high bar. If nothing else, The Lottery is the closest I’ve ever come to wanting to watch something on Lifetime, so that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

The Lottery premieres this Sunday, July 20 at 10/9c on Lifetime.

MONDAY

Under the Dome (CBS, 10/9c) — “Force Majeure”

When tensions in Chester’s Mill continue to rise as resources dwindle, Big Jim holds a census in order to forecast how long the town can continue to exist under the dire conditions. Meanwhile, a rainstorm brings much-needed water until it changes to acid rain, threatening the lives of everyone it touches. Also, Rebecca and Lyle butt heads over the reasons for the dome’s existence.

TUESDAY

Inside The Walking Dead: Walker University (10/9c)

The creation of the show’s ‘walkers’ is examined in this behind-the-scenes documentary.

The Wil Wheaton Project (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Wil Takes Manhattan”

Wil turns his attention to the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

WEDNESDAY

Extant (CBS, 9/8c) — “Extinct”

After Molly collapses and experiences a vision of her encounter on the Seraphim, Sam agrees to give her an ultrasound so she can learn more about her mysterious pregnancy. Also, Molly tracks down Kryger and he reveals the disturbing details of his own solo mission that the International Space Exploration Agency (ISEA) is keeping secret.

How the Universe Works (Science, 9/8c) — “End of the Universe”

The universe’s end is predicted.

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 10/9c) — “Is There a Shadow Universe?”

When we look up into the sky it appears we live in a universe that is filled with light. But scientists are now certain there is far more matter in the dark portions of our universe that we can’t see or touch. There’s something hiding in the shadows. Cosmologists agree that ‘dark matter’ has helped shape our Universe, but now they need to figure out what dark matter is. What’s going on in this hidden world? Could it have formed its own dark stars, planets, and even life forms? Could this Shadow Universe threaten our world of light?

THURSDAY

Defiance (Syfy, 8/7c) — “Put the Damage On”

A stalker comes after Amanda, raising concerns for both Nolan and Niles.

MythBusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Household Disasters”

The MythBusters test household myths: Could a vacuum cleaner explode while sucking up black powder? Could sunscreen scorch your skin? Could a piano crash through your roof? And finally could an exploding water heater extinguish a house fire?

SUNDAY

Falling Skies (TNT, 10/9c) — “Mind Wars”

Tom encounters two enigmatic strangers, who attack his family, then lead him on a violent odyssey. Meanwhile, Hal tries to find a safe place for the remaining Volm and 2nd Mass; and Lexi and Anne clash, triggering perilous consequences.

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, 10/9c) — “The 214s”

Scandal hits Cardiff Electric as the team finalizes preparations for COMDEX. Meanwhile, Bosworth makes a sacrifice for the good of the PC program.

The Last Ship (TNT, 9/8c) — “El Toro”

With Rachel close to a breakthrough on her vaccine, she, Chandler and XO Slattery lead a small team into the jungles of Nicaragua on a mission to find monkeys for her vaccine trials. While there, they find much more than they bargained for when they run across a former drug kingpin who will stop at nothing to maintain his stranglehold on his oppressed society. Chandler and his men find themselves in a huge moral dilemma over whether to eliminate this menace or take what they need and continue on with their mission.

The Leftovers (HBO, 10/9c) — “B.J. and the A.C.”

A holiday display goes wanting, sending Kevin scurrying to find out who is responsible. Tom and Christine run into trouble at a hospital and on the road. Kevin retrieves a surprise detainee from a neighboring police station, and receives unexpected visitors at home. The Guilty Remnant put its stamp on the holiday season.

The Lottery (Lifetime, 10/9c) — “Pilot”

Set within a dystopian future driven by a global fertility crisis, The Lottery reveals a world staring down the barrel of impending extinction as women have mysteriously stopped bearing children. After years of research, Dr. Alison Lennon (Shelton) and her team remarkably fertilize 100 embryos. However, her victory is short-lived when the Director of the U.S. Fertility Commission, Darius Hayes (Donovan), takes government control of the lab and informs the President (Vasquez) of the monumental scientific breakthrough. To determine which women will carry the prized embryos to term, Chief of Staff Vanessa Keller (Karkanis) convinces the President to hold a national lottery and a battle over the control of the 100 embryos begins. Michael Graziadei stars as Kyle, a recovering alcoholic and single father of one of the last children born in the country, while David Alpay stars as James, Alison’s colleague and lab assistant. Shelley Conn portrays Gabrielle, the First Lady of the United States.

Masters of Sex (Showtime, 10/9c) — “Kyrie Eleison”

Masters begins a new job at Memorial Hospital under Betty’s extortion terms only to discover that his boss insists he leave Virginia behind in favor of a handpicked secretary. Meanwhile, Johnson is torn between pressing Masters to rehire her and staying by DePaul’s side as her condition worsens.

The Strain (FX, 10/9c) — “The Box”

The four survivors begin manifesting strange symptoms, but Eph and Nora’s attempt to quarantine them is thwarted as the disinformation campaign begins. Meanwhile, in jail, Setrakian receives a surprise visit from an old — a very old — acquaintance.

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