Unfiltered Reality Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Ask me to pick one network that most closely sums up my taste in television, and the answer would be CW.
The network has graced viewers like me with the greats of Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 90210, The Carrie Diaries, and of course the most popular of them all: Gossip Girl (and this is just to name a few). Moreover, it hosts a pretty strong repertoire of Superhero dramas that I’d be sure to watch if it weren’t for the annoyance of adult commitments and there is only so much time in a day…(first world problems at its finest).
So when the network announced that it was launching a new show starring former Pretty Little Liars (Freeform) actress Lucy Hale, I knew I had to give a chance.
Life Sentence is about a young woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. For eight years, spanning from her diagnosis to her treatment, she lived everyday like it was her last. Except one day, her doctor informs her she has been cured (ergo the title: Life Sentence).
The premiere episode quickly delves into this reveal within the first few minutes, and the remainder focuses on the protagonist (Stella) coming to terms with the fact that she no longer has cancer and the repercussions her illness had on her family and husband. We soon learn that whilst Stella was making the most of her life on a daily basis and living adventurously, her family and husband made some light to serious sacrifices in order to ensure she was happy, as her doctor advised she had the best chances of successful treatment if her loved ones meant she was surrounded by positivity. Once Stella announced she is cured, the truth rather spectacularly avalanches out. The ‘perfect’ family is rather perfectly dysfunctional. Stella’s mom leaves her dad and begins an affair with Stella’s Godmother, while Stella’s dad can’t afford the second mortgage on the house. On the other hand, her brother has been using Stella’s diagnosis to guilt trip soccer moms into sleeping with him. The one who appears to have been the strongest form of support to Stella through her diagnosis quickly is revealed to be the one who resents her the most: her sister. She reveals she had kids (even though she didn’t want them) in order to give their parents something positive to focus on, and she gave up a scholarship to Columbia in order to take care of Stella. Lastly, her husband (who she’s only been with for 6 months) reveals he hasn’t been honest about who he is and his preferences as his priority was always to make Stella happy.
Quite honestly, you can watch the first look trailer if you’re not convinced by the premise and want the whole episode/above trimmed down to 3 minutes of video time. The trailer simply does not do the show justice because the trailer is essentially a recap of the first episode, but misleadingly makes it appear as it has just given the whole show away.
Life Sentence is not about a woman who has cancer and is living like she is going to die, Life Sentence is about a woman who suddenly needs to come to terms with the challenges of facing each day like she is going to live.
There is plenty for Stella to discover, and the many relationships that branch out from her means the show has plenty to work with and keep the viewer hooked. The program is quirky, whimsical, heart warming, and enticing.
Go check it out!