Haven't I seen you somewhere before . . . ?

I watched a movie last night on Lifetime (which I find myself doing a lot less than I used to, for some reason). This was a romance based on a novel by top author Linda Lael Miller. A woman on the run jumps into a car and drives until it breaks down and gets a job in a diner, cooking, and she finds herself drawn to a handsome rancher. But the danger follows her.

As I watched the story I immediately thought of a Lifetime movie I saw earlier this year, this one based on a Nora Roberts novel. A woman wanting to escape bad memories drives until her car breaks down and gets a job in a diner, cooking. In the town she finds romance, but the danger follows her.

Now, I know there are only so many themes in romance, but damn! These movies were produced around the same time. The Nora Roberts adaptation was done specifically for Lifetime. Comments on the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) said the Linda Lael Miller movie was made for cable, but didn't name Lifetime specifically, although it has that network stamped all over it. But why make such similar movies at the same time? It didn't help that both female leads in the films were blondes, the men dark-haired. These are two prolific authors. Why not purchase the rights to stories not so similar?

Which brings me to why I don't watch as much Lifetime as I used to. The movies all seem the same, picked from a handful of plots. Woman-with-evil-husbands. Woman-with-promiscuous-or-otherwise-troubled-daughter. The supernatural. Woman-being-stalked-by-obsessed-man. Woman-having-extramarital-affair.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't complain. The lack of absorbing TV is probably good for my writing.


shelia said...

I'm a Lifetime movie watching junkie. I've seen both movies in question and they are very similar. The question I have is how do we get more of our stories on the screen to be produced for Lifetime or anyone of the other cable shows. I know BET did some of the Arabesque books a few years ago; but nothing since. I did approach the production company who did Nora's for one of my books, but it was more romantic coomedy than romantic suspense, so they passed. I'm wondering if the publisher is the one who need to be pushing to the network or production companies? If anyone knows let me know :)

Yasmin said...

Oh wow I read a similar story by a black author which I LOVED...didn't realize that there were so many storylines on the same theme out there. :(


Donna said...

I call Lifetime "the victim network." Every once in a while they'll have movies that are really good (such as "Why Did I Wear Lipstick to My Mastectomy"). But most it's about dumb women doing dumb things with even dumber men.

Their series are better. I really liked "Strong Medicine" and "Army Wives" is the best thing since "Desperate Housewives." At least the characters are intelligent but flawed.

Better movies are found on TNT or TBS.

As for the lack of color in their choice of films, they did one starring Jenifer Lewis called "The Return of Jackie Brown" or something like that. It was a spoof on all those "comeback" documentaries. I haven't seen anything starring a black woman since and they've never rerun it. And BET movies are so doggone cheesy, it's painful to watch.

bettye griffin said...

I'd love to see a film version of one of your books, Shelia. Not only do I adore romantic comedy, but it would certainly be a nice change from all those woman-in-jeopardy themed movies Lifetime shows!

bettye griffin said...

Yasmin, the woman-in-jeopardy is a common theme in romance novels and, correspondingly, in movie adaptations of these books. If the book you read also has a woman driving until her car breaks down in a small town and getting a job cooking and meeting a new love interest, that would really be weird.

But the repeated theme in books is okay with me (although I wouldn't want to read three books so similar). What I can't understand is why the network brass chose to produce the movies so close together (the Miller movie has a release date of 2006; I believe the Roberts movie came out in 2007). A little variety would be nice.

Donna, I always wondered about that Lipstick/Mastectomy movie. Isn't that the first thing they tell people going for surgery: No makeup and no jewelry? But I digress.

I haven't even been able to get into any of the Lifetime series since Any Day Now went off the air (it had a black producer, and I found many of the storylines intriguing.) And I did see that hilarious "mockumentary," Jackie's Back!. Jenifer Lewis was so perfect in that.

And I agree about BET's low budget showing in the films it produces.

Thanks, ladies!

Yasmin said...

If the book you read also has a woman driving until her car breaks down in a small town and getting a job cooking and meeting a new love interest, that would really be weird.

Hey Betty my heroine didn't drive...she took the bus...but ended up in a small town as a cook and met a new love interest...but she went on to explore the world before settling down with him in the sequel. ;)

Patricia W. said...

Donna pretty much said it all. Gave up on Lifetime movies some time ago.

I too would like to see more Black romance novels put on screen, especially if they have comedic elements, although I could go with romantic suspense too.

bettye griffin said...

Yes, that was funny about Donna nicknaming Lifetime "The Victim Network."