You can dress up some stories with newfangled angles, but many melodramas still cling to the rudiments of ancient soap operas, even fairy tales. The brave new world of fertility clinics and reproductive politics becomes the backdrop for "Sorority Surrogate" (7 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime, TV-14), an old-fashioned "woman's picture" that can't make up its mind whether it's 2014 or 1952 — or a remake of Rumpelstiltskin.
Studious scholar and sorority sister Valerie (Cassie Steele, "DeGrassi: The Next Generation") finds her life overturned when her university scholarship is revoked. Apparently, her deadbeat dad claimed her as a deduction on his taxes and that fouled things up with financial aid. We later meet him passed out in a fleabag hotel. You'd think that one look at this loser's 1040 would probably result in a boost in Valerie's aid package. But why interject realism into a modern-day fable?
Faced with expulsion, Valerie decides to become a surrogate parent for an infertile couple who are so nice that they're called the Darlingtons. The tragedy of their childlessness is compounded by the Darlington matriarch, Maureen (Mimi Kuzyk), a wicked stepmother-type who lords over her barren daughter-in-law like Joan Crawford on a rampage.
The imperious Maureen becomes Valerie's nightmare after the doting Darlingtons die in a car crash.
Maureen holds the purse strings to Valerie's surrogacy agreement. As Valerie grows closer to term, she becomes increasingly attached to the unborn baby and loath to let it fall into Maureen's cold clutches!
Don't go confusing "Sorority Surrogate" with a good movie. But it's a surefire refutation of the notion that they don't make 'em like they used to.