Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Dash & Lily is a series created by Joe Tracz and is based on the young adult series Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Released on Netflix, the series is comprised of eight episodes that last approximately 30 minutes per episode.
Dash (Austin Abrams from the series Euphoria) is a cynical and snarky teenager who detests Christmas, especially since he had his heart broken by his ex-girlfriend Sophia (Keana Marie). Lily (Midori Francis from Good Boys) is his polar opposite — she absolutely loves Christmas, with all of the joy and happiness that the season brings. That is until she finds herself alone for the first time ever for the holidays when both her parents and grandfather decide to take impromptu trips.
Now how does one manage to not be alone for Christmas? Well, if you’re Lily you leave a red notebook in one of the most popular book stores in New York City in the hopes that a random stranger with a like mind decides to take you up on a dare.
What I really enjoyed about this series is the fact that the two leads managed to create the most bizarre form of onscreen chemistry that I have ever seen without physically meeting each other for almost the entire run of the series. It makes the story different and unique in a good way, plus it adds a bit of spice to the mix as it is not your typical syrupy, sappy, Christmas-themed plot.
The backdrop, however, is your stereotypical Christmas in New York, which in itself sounds like an inherently magical setting whenever people describe it. Looking in at the heavily-decorated store windows, Christmas trees and lights everywhere to be seen, blankets of snow in Central Park, and skating at Rockefeller Center, all seem like wonderful experiences. Even though I have never gotten the chance to see and experience these things myself, it made me especially sad and nostalgic to think how things wouldn’t be like that this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. By the way the bookstore highlighted here, The Strand, is sadly on the brink of going out of business due to said pandemic.
There is a sense of freedom that is highlighted from both Dash and Lily’s experiences through their dares that helps you to live vicariously through them, and it also pulls you in because they are both very relatable. They feel almost like they can be you, or somebody that you know or heard of when hanging out with your friends. They are both socially deficient in many ways and don’t fit in with the popular crowd. They are old souls at their core because they are both immersed in a world of books as their form of escape from the harshness of the real world and their hang-ups. I saw myself in Lily feeling like an outcast and being labelled as “weird” because your likes and ways of expression are different from everyone else.
This is the first holiday-themed series that I know of and it doesn’t only manage to incorporate all the classic tropes but also surpasses them. Through magnificent pacing and character development the writers have successfully made Dash and Lily become better versions of themselves by supporting each other and boosting confidence through written words.
The supporting cast is a meld of adorable quirky characters who each have a part to play in Dash and Lily’s journey. There are lessons to be learnt, hearts that are broken, and people that are disappointed, but through it all we are treated to an extremely engaging and binge-worthy addition to Netflix just in time for the holiday season.
So, grab your best friend/bae, don’t forget the hot cocoa/cookies, and proceed to sit back/cuddle up as you take your time and enjoy this one.
Alice’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more Christmas romance and my Hallmark Christmas Presents Part I: Four Merry Films, Four Mini-Reviews you can click here.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.