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    Netflix's "Dash And Lily" Is Exactly The Series We Need Right Now

    The perfect holiday escape.

    Dash & Lily is a new holiday romance series on Netflix, and it's just about the cutest show to be released all year.

    Still from Dash & LIly: Lily shows her Christmas Tree dress to Dash as they stand near a food table at a party
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    Based on a YA book series by Rachel Cohn (who also wrote an episode for the show) and David Levithan, the series is produced by Nick Jonas and Shawn Levy, with Fred Savage directing four of the eight episodes of Season 1.

    It's set during the holidays in New York, and is about two teens — the Dash and Lily of the title — who have never met but who form a friendship through a little red notebook.

    Lily stands on stage with fairy lights on the curtain behind her, holding a microphone
    Netflix

    Lily (Midori Francis) plants it at The Strand bookstore with scavenger hunt instructions in it, and when Dash (Austin Abrams) finds it he's immediately jolted out of his cynical comfort zone and responds in kind. The two pass the notebook back and forth through key locations and with the help of friends, daring each other to try new things and learning about each other (and themselves) along the way.

    While Lily loves the holidays and is shattered that her family has left her alone (with the exception of her brother) for Christmas, Dash lies to his separated parents for the express purpose of being alone.

    Dash stands in the street holding a red cowboy boot
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    They're complete opposites, but they bond over their loneliness and start to rub off on each other in really positive ways.

    It's all just so romantic. A book of dares, passed back and forth across New York City, centred around an iconic bookstore? It's tropey rom-com heaven — and it's also very funny.

    A close-up of an open notebook with blank lines drawn on the page and the words "a coded message. you can decipher it with the right books." handwritten on it.
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    Crucially, though, amidst the rom-com hijinks, the character development for Dash and Lily is allowed to unfold in interesting ways. Their growing feelings for each other — even when they haven't even met in real life — is a huge draw card, but their individual journeys remain important.

    And while watching Dash and Lily get up to adventures across the city is fun, one of the absolute best parts of the series is the supporting cast.

    Boomer sits in a booth at the pizza place he works at with his hands on a red notebook
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    Dash's friend Boomer (Dante Brown) steals the show, with his enthusiasm, loyalty, and sense of humor, and Lily's great-aunt Mrs. Basil E (Jodi Long) is a dramatic, iconic queen. Lily's brother Langston (Troy Iwata) and his romance with Benny (Diego Guevara) is also a sweet sub-plot.

    It's a world populated with colorful and mostly kind characters who ultimately want to help each other.

    Langston lies in bed while Benny sits next to him without a shirt on
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    The sets are clean and pretty and generally bedazzled with twinkle lights, the costumes are bright and vibrant, and the soundtrack is always on point. Packaged in eight episodes each with a runtime in 30 minutes, it's easy to smash through Dash & Lily in one sitting, and it's the kind of show that stands up to a rewatch (or two or 10).

    Here's the thing — Dash & Lily is cheesy and not entirely realistic, but that's exactly what's great about it.

    Lily wears a crown and triumphantly dance sin a crowd of people
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    Even for non-COVID times, it presents a shiny, idealized version of New York City and the holidays. And that's kind of the point.

    This is a modern fairytale, where the magic is found in other people (even when you're not connected in person) and hope can be conjured out of the darkest moments.

    Dash stands on a subway car full of people in Santa costumes
    Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

    Which is why it's exactly the cozy escape so many of us need right now.