New CW Dramedy 'Life Sentence' is an Eye-Opener

People always say “live life to the fullest,” or, “live today like it were you’re last.” Although it may seem cliche, we really don’t know that tomorrow holds until we get there. For Stella Abbott, the leading lady on the CW’s new television series Life Sentence, this just so happened to be the case. Played by “Pretty Little Liars” star Lucy Hale, Stella spent years knowing that she was dying of cancer. Along with the help and encouragement of her family, Stella made the most out of the brief window she had left. Showing flashbacks of Stella living her life to the fullest with a voiceover from Hale narrating her story, the show starts off in sentimentally stirring manner. From learning how to skateboard, dancing on stage at a concert, going skydiving, traveling the world, and falling in love, Stella is seen taking advantage of all that life has to offer. Then, within the first five minutes of the pilot, Stella gets the news: she's officially cancer-free. While at first Stella had to accept “certain death,” Stella now has to face an “uncertain life.” This fear of the future is something every person can relate to, whether or not they are sick. 

After years of Stella’s family focusing on making Stella happy and lying to her constantly in the hopes of not adding to her suffering, it becomes clear that they’ve all neglected themselves in the process. Her mother Ida (Gillian Vigman) is now realizing that she may love women, causing havoc in her marriage with Paul (Dylan Walsh). Stella’s older brother Aiden (Jayson Blair) lacks ambition, sleeps with soccer moms and makes money out of selling Adderall. To top it off, he even ends up getting a married woman pregnant. Meanwhile, Stella’s sister Elizabeth (Brooke Lyons) puts her dream of becoming a writer aside to take care of her family, including having children to give her parents something positive to focus on - which she now realizes she might regret. In the aftermath of the most joyous turn of events imaginable comes an explosion of family drama and secrets. Now that Stella is healthy and unqualified to enter the workforce due to her lack of a college education, she decides the best thing she can do is to be there for her family like they were there for her. With her free-spirited and bubbly personality, Stella radiates positive energy, which shines in her willingness to help them.

One of the most pivotal decisions Stella made during her time when she was living every day like it were her last was marrying Wes (Elliot Knight), a handsome Brit with whom she had a whirlwind fairytale courtship in Paris. They now have to go through the bureaucratic difficulties of being spouses from two different countries. When the couple prepare for an INS meeting to establish the legitimacy of their wedding, the two of them come to terms with how little they actually know about each other. However, as Stella and Wes continue to learn new things about each other, their companionship deepens as they work through the struggles of marriage together. The chemistry between the two is undeniable.

Throughout the show, there are many moments of genuine humanity. Between beating cancer, having an unclear vision on life, dealing with family drama, and coping with impulsive decisions made in the past, their fictional battles reflect our own. As Stella gives lengthy monologues about love and family in each episode, she reminds us about the important things in life. The show is an eye-opener, teaching us to be grateful for every moment because you never know what could happen.

Life Sentence is quirky, fun, and best of all it’s relatable. With a sentimental plot that’s full of drama yet comedic at the same time, the new dramedy series has it all. Don’t miss the next episode on the CW, Wednesday at 9 PM Eastern Time.