It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but with Christmas time comes cheesy, new media in an attempt to get everyone excited for the holiday.
Though most of the films and television shows end up being a flop, Netflix's adaption of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s novel Dash & Lily is the perfect binge watch to get you ready for the spirit of Christmas.
From Be More Chill creator Joe Tracz and directors Brad Siberling, Pamela Romanowsky and Fred Savage, Dash & Lily follows the two titular characters: Dash (Austin Abrams), who hates Christmas and generally has a snarky attitude, and Lily (Midori Francis), who adores Christmas and only spends time with her family and is looking to get out of her comfort zone. When Lily leaves a red notebook of dares in a library to see who will find it and play, Dash is quick to take the challenge. The two get to know each other through the notebook and their lives begin to get complicated.
Abrams and Francis are the front runners of the show and completely nail the performance.
For Abrams, it’s refreshing to see him in a character you can root for after his performance in This Is Us and Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. Though his character resembles the troubled but loveable Henry in Chemical Hearts, Abrams’ performance of Dash perfectly resembles a screwed up teen with familial issues who thinks he’s much more mature for his age but is really just an immature teen.
Francis, on the other hand, radiates positivity, kindness and light. She’s the picture-perfect performance of an innocent, awkward teen who isn’t actually perfect and is just trying to be awkward to be “charming,” but is legitimately uncomfortable in her own skin, all while trying to be her own person. She’s brilliant, kind and the best choice for the role. Not to mention the chemistry that flows between them is quirky, quippy and not over the top. The subtlety makes it a much more accurate depiction of a teen love story.
The supporting cast, namely Keanna Marie as Sofia, Dante Brown as Boomer and Troy Iwata as Langston, are also really well chosen. Brown brings this innocent, fun-loving energy to the performance, counteracted by Marie’s sultry, sweet and seductive character style. Iwata is what every girl wants in an older brother, with his own issues yet boundary-pushing advice.
Most importantly, the show has a lot of great representation without calling attention to it. The Asian representation comes from Francis and the rest of the actors playing her family, as well as the references to their culture that don’t call attention to themselves. In addition, there are several LGBTQ+ couples throughout the show, including Langston and his boyfriend Benny (Diego Guevara).
In an interview with People, Francis said “It was incredible because this was the first time that I’ve really even been on a set or in any kind of production where they took the time and care to make sure that every single Asian actor on set was of Japanese descent. And in a time when you’re just lucky if they get the general vibe right of the race, it meant so much that they really took that time.”
The series cinematography by Eric Treml, the production design by Jennifer Dehghan, the art direction by Annie Simeone and the set decoration by Amy Beth Silver were all fantastic. People could watch the show just for the beautiful production alone, as it’s so lovely to put in the background during the Christmas season. The fact that the content is enjoyable is just a lovely bonus.
If you’re looking for an easy watch with around a three-hour total runtime for all eight episodes, Dash & Lily is the way to go. There’s even a Jonas Brothers cameo, so with a lovely mood and fantastic acting, what’s not to love?