Netflix delivers an early Christmas present with “Dash & Lily” (review)
December 1, 2020
During the winter season, I always tune into the Hallmark channel to fuel my holiday entertainment addiction. However, this year, I found my fix fulfilled with Netflix’s latest streaming release. Based on the YA book series by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, “Dash & Lily” delivers the picture perfect Christmas in New York romance decked out in full holiday cheer.
The festive eight-episode TV rom-com focuses on two teenagers stranded in New York City by their families during the Christmas season. Lily (Midori Francis) is a romantic for all types of holiday cheer while Dash (Austin Abrams) is a Christmas cynic, failing to see a reason for the season. Their paths cross when Lily leaves a notebook in The Strand bookstore, inviting the book’s finder on an adventure of dares. After stumbling upon the book, Dash takes on her challenge and the two begin passing the book back and forth by leaving it in key locations, creating mystery by keeping their identities a secret. Throughout each episode, the Christmas dreamer and the realist learn not only about each other, but also about themselves.
Premiering on Nov. 10, the Netflix series has had generally positive reviews, even racking up an 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With only eight 25 minute episodes, the show has a binge factor that makes it short and sweet. Produced by Nick Jonas and Shawn Levy and directed by Fred Savage and Brad Silberling, the project has pretty big names tied to it’s credits. While leading players Midori Francis and Austin Abrams may not be household names, their endearing performances will definitely have you searching up their Wikipedia pages to learn more.
While Francis and Abrams were great in their roles, the supporting cast tied the series together. Dante Brown as Boomer was the humorous, enthusiastic best friend, bringing just the right amount of balance to Dash’s Grinch-like mindset. In Lily’s corner, there was Troy Iwata as older brother Langston who’s romantic subplot with Benny (Deigo Guevara) was a cherry on top of the already sugary, sweet story.
The show not only encapsulates the Christmas spirit with dazzling New York City lights and decorations but also with a stand out, festive soundtrack. With featured songs like “River” by Joni Mitchell and “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, the music sets a winter wonderland tone that wraps audiences up with holiday cheer.
For a YA television rom-com, the writing surprised me. Normally in television and movies based around teenage protagonists, the scripts can seem out of touch or as though they are trying too hard to appeal to the average high school student. However, in “Dash & Lily”, the script is more relatable even without pushing things like memes or TikTok references. It’s refreshing to watch a show that doesn’t force itself onto a teenage audience and can even tailor to other age groups as well.
While the show is quite predictable with basic rom-com clichés, the saying goes “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. The rom-com formula still works seeing as viewers continue to eat up all the Netflix original love stories. As December quickly approaches, “Dash & Lily” is a feel-good binge watch that puts viewers in the mood for the holiday season.