Real talk: When I first learned Lucy Hale had signed on to a show about a girl with cancer, I was not feeling it.
There have already been tons of teen cancer romances (e.g. The Fault in Our Stars) and they all really hit a nerve with me. As someone who’s seen cancer up front (my dad died of the disease when I was only 14), I can tell you that cancer is in no way romantic or entertaining.
So when I watched the premiere episode of Life Sentence all I thought was ‘thank god!’
The show is literally the complete opposite of everything I expected it to be, starting with the plot. The pilot starts off with Stella (Lucy Hale) finding out that she’s not in remittance, but fully cured of her cancer. This is obviously completely shocking because she had pretty much been given a death sentence as a child and had been living like it ever since. She spontaneously married her boyfriend of six months and used up all her parent’s money to go to Paris.
So when she finds out she’s cancer-free, all hell breaks loose. It turns out everyone in her life has been hiding secrets from her because they didn’t want to worry her, and when she finds out, all hell breaks loose. Her family is messed up and even her relationship is in danger.
The pilot was unexpected, and in the best way possible. And the cherry on top? The Pretty Little Liars star is just as charming as ever. Lucy has such an ease about her and she’s fun to watch on screen. It’s no wonder she was the first to land on her feet post-PLL (although fellow alums Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish have a PLL spinoff in the works called Perfectionists).
As for Lucy, she’s just psyched to be a part of the show. She told EW,
“I read [Life Sentence], and it was a no-brainer … I loved the whole idea of taking the story that we’ve all heard of someone living like they’re dying and turning it on its head and giving this girl a second chance at life. To me, it was really interesting that a 23-year-old almost has to be reborn and figure out who she is.”
I’m psyched to see where this show goes, and so relieved to finally see a show that isn’t romanticizing cancer.
Check out the preview for the next episode of Life Sentence, which airs Wednesdays at 9pm right after Riverdale.