Preview: PETALS ON THE WIND

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Move over, Andi “The Bachelorette” Dorfman, ’cause you ain’t the only chick with issues competing for our attention tonight! Make room for Cathy Dollanganger, aka the brother-loving, mother-hating, revenge-seeking heroine of PETALS ON THE WIND, the Lifetime movie sequel to FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC airing this eveningt at 9 p.m. EST.

If there’s one downside to this camp fest, it’s that the network — which greenlit PETALS about six seconds after seeing how well its predecessor performed — didn’t think to make it a mini-series. Instead, it jumps forward 10 years (explaining why the young leads had to be recast), skipping one of the more twisted sections of the source material, which is truly saying something given the creepy tale spun by author V.C. Andrews.

For the uninitiated, FLOWERS was the tale of four children locked in an attic by a mother desperate to inherit money from a dying father who believed her marriage to her half-uncle had not produced any children. While locked away, the older siblings, Christopher and Cathy, wound up having sex, while younger brother Cory was killed by poisoned donuts.

Yeah, it’s that kinda story.

In book form, PETALS picked up the story immediately after the three surviving children escaped from Foxworth Hall and wound up being taken in by a kindly doctor, Paul Sheffield. Of course, this being “that kinda story”, the doctor had his own twisted past in which his cheating drove former wife Julia to drown their only son. So of course, wounded birds Paul and Cathy became lovers… even as she continued to pine for her hunky brother.

Seriously, you have to read this book.

Anywho, the Lifetime version bypasses all that in favor of jumping forward 10 years to focus on Cathy’s relationship with a fellow dancer, Julian, with some major issues of his own.

Unlike the 1987 version of FLOWERS, which made the sequels impossible to tell by killing off Cathy and Christopher’s self-absorbed mother, Corrine, the Lifetime versions remember that at heart, this is a story about the dysfunctional relationship between the two women. As such, the sequel is all about building toward the inevitable confrontation between Corrine and her daughter… and, of course, setting the stage for the third book/movie in the series, IF THERE BE THORNS.

But never fear. Returning scripter Kayla Alpert, a huge fan of the source material, makes sure Cathy and her brother find time for a little inappropriate affection.

It is, after all, that kinda movie.

Richard M. Simms watches way too much television and, as executive editor of Soaps In Depth, actually gets paid to do so. You can chat with him on Twitter @dispatchesFTC.

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