In all the years that I’ve been watching Lifetime — and I’ve logged my time with movies about the unwitting brides of serial killers — I’ve never fully understood what it is the network thinks women want.
Jennifer Love Hewitt in lingerie? “The Client List” returns at 10 p.m. Sunday for a second season of “happy ending” massages. Better, I suppose, than taking over a dead husband’s drug business (see “Red Widow”), but I’ll be happy when the economy picks up and TV’s women are once again able to find honest work.
Like watching TV for a living.
Does Lifetime think we’re looking for a belly laugh? “Drop Dead Diva,” the show about an aspiring model named Deb who dies and comes back in the body of plus-size lawyer Jane (Brooke Elliott), underwent its own resurrection as Lifetime uncanceled it, reportedly after reaching a better financial deal with Sony Television.
Good thing, too, since Season Four of “Diva” had ended with the spirit of the original Jane trapped in the body of Deb/ Jane’s own dead fiance.
Or, since “Drop Dead Diva” is often more touching than its premise might indicate, does Lifetime just want to give us a reason to reach for the tissues? There’ll be plenty of opportunities to do that tonight as “Army Wives,” which is filmed in the Charleston area, returns for a seventh season that’s bound to look different from the previous six.
“Wives,” too, had ended with a cliffhanger that looked for a while as if it might leave fans stranded permanently with an apparent problem on a plane carrying some of the show’s major characters and a phone call to the base commander that clearly wasn’t good news.
You may already know what happened, the Internet being a tough place to keep a secret, but all I’m saying is that there’s never been anything casual about the way actors leave “Army Wives.”
Unlike the military itself, where change is a constant, the series managed to keep its core cast, led by Kim Delaney, together for a long time while maintaining the sense that no one was safe, even on the homefront.
Delaney, who disappeared from the show rather abruptly last season, is one of several actors either leaving or scaling back involvement in the show.
This year brings a mix of returning cast members, including Catherine Bell, Wendy Davis and Kelli Williams, and new ones, including Brooke Shields, who’ll play a recurring role, and Jesse McCartney.
If what matters to viewers are the relationships that spring up between women (and men) of diverse backgrounds brought together by their spouses’ calling, then “Army Wives” should weather the transition.