In the US: Sundays, 10/9c, Lifetime
Did you know the world’s fertility is slowly decreasing? No one’s exactly sure why, although chemicals, particularly those with oestrogen-like properties, that have been flushed into the ecosystem is among the more likely suggestions. Of course, with the world’s population heading for 7 billion and likely to hit 9.6 billion by 2050, it’s not exactly an immediate global issue, even if it does affect some people quite deeply.
But imagine what would happen if by 2020, suddenly everyone, everywhere stopped being able to have children and no more kids were born at all. What would that be like?
Well, lots of people have already had a go at answering this question. Margaret Attwood projected a similar future in The Handmaid’s Tale, which effectively imagined what would happen if Islamic law were implemented by a Christian US.
PD James's The Children of Men, adapted by Alfonso Cuarón and Timothy J. Sexton as a movie starring Clive Owen, imagines a similar dystopian future for the UK in such circumstance, albeit one that's more fascist than theocratic.
All of which is bleak - way, way too bleak for basic cable, let alone Lifetime, home of very fluffy female-friendly fare such as Army Wives, Devious Maids, Drop Dead Diva, The Client List and Witches of East End. So I can’t imagine that when Sexton re-pitched Children of Men as a TV series, he did it without thinking it might need to be toned down a bit and made a bit more hopeful.
Certainly, given his co-producer partner is ‘practising friend of popular science’ Danny Cannon (CSI, Eleventh Hour), edginess was out of the question for Sexton's The Lottery. Within the first 10 minutes of the future extinction of humanity being announced, scientist Marley Shelton (also Eleventh Hour) has already come up with a viable treatment that fertilises 100 embryos.
Now science being largely a collaborative subject and this being a highly urgent issue that the whole world needs solving within the next 70-100 years, you’d have thought the most obvious coda to all this is that Shelton would then have been working with other scientists around the US and the world to perfect her technique and get a new baby boom underway. Meanwhile, those embryos would be being implanted in the most genetically and physically hospitable environments: their egg donors.
Except that wouldn’t be very dramatically interesting, so instead, brace yourselves. First, US President Yul Vazquez (The Good Wife, Magic City) wants to keep the discovery secret and impregnate 100 female soldiers with the embryos. Just like that. Because women join the army to have babies.
But then chief of staff Athena Karkanis (The Border) is hatching a cunning plan to 'give the nation hope’ - a lottery, with 100 lucky winners being given the chance to have a child. And then we add on a conspiracy theory to make it all just a little bit sillier.
Here’s a trailer.