Our love of Lifetime Movies is well-documented here on Persephone. One of the big losses of my new living abroad lifestyle was the loss of these cheesy, melodramatic, overwrought TV movies, which were a weekend staple at my house. It was to my delight that I discovered a virtual slew of old-school, based-on-a-true-story LMN movies secreted away in the depths of Amazon Prime Instant Viewing. And I was going to let my subscription lapse! Not anymore, bucko. They’ve got my money for another year.
A Prime membership is required to stream these offerings for free, but several of these titles are also available for downloadable purchase, if you have a couple of bucks to throw away.
Prime has, in addition to some modern classics like An Officer and a Murderer, Drew Peterson: Untouchable, and Deadly Honeymoon, a surprising selection of older TV movies available to stream, many of which are not available elsewhere. Following is a short selection of LMN-style movies to spend your Saturday nights with. Get out your moscato and your Twizzlers:
After Growing Pains, Meredith Baxter made her bread-and-butter as a staple of the made-for-TV-movie genre. Here, she’s Amanda, the mother of Dana, a young woman discovered carrying on an affair with Amanda’s best friend’s husband. Ooh, the sentence is just as jumbled as the plot! (1995)
Wonder Woman stars as a social worker who investigates a baby-selling ring that steal children from teenaged mothers and traffics them on the black market. God bless Lynda Carter, national treasure. (1981)
Remember when women were guilted into thinking that going back to work meant having to entrust their children to potential Satanists at their local daycare center? Or black widows? Or the vengeful widows of their dead gynecologist, who killed himself after they pressed charges for sexual harassment? Good times. Here, Olivia D’Abo is the Swedish nanny who is secretly a witch or a Satanist or something equally evil, attempting to steal her employer’s child (a young Elizabeth Moss) for some nefarious ends. I cannot wait to rewatch this one. (1992)
Technically, this predates LMN, but Lifetime Movies is often code for “made-for-TV-movie,” so I’m including this gem anyway. Cloris Leachman(!) stars as a woman who learns her husband has contracted an STD from the teenaged girl he’s been shtupping on the side. Cloris Leachman! (1975)
Given NPH’s current career, it might be hard to remember that until he showed up in Harold and Kumar, most people were only familiar with him as the young Doogie Howser, MD. Like many other actors of the ’80s and ’90s, NPH used the TV movie to try to broaden his appeal. In Stranger, he appears with Teri Garr as a teenager who suffers amnesia after a car accident. Entertainment Weekly describes this as a “wet melodrama,” which sounds just about perfect. (1991)