If you’re looking for a holiday rom-com wrapped into a 30-minute series, you’ve found your match in Dash & Lily. The Netflix series, based on David Levithan and Rachel Cohn‘s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares books, follows two high school teens who pass a notebook back and forth in New York City without ever meeting.
Dash (Austin Abrams) is a disenchanted grinch. Lily (Midori Francis) is the opposite — she’s shy yet optimistic and overtly happy about the holidays. However, when they find themselves both spending Christmas alone, they connect by sharing dares and desires through a notebook passed around the Big Apple.
“In the beginning, Dash is a very cynical person. I don’t necessarily categorize myself in that way, but on some days, I can relate to that a bit,” the This Is Us alum, 24, says in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “I am a bit older than him, and I feel like that plays a big part. I’ve had those extra years to be able to figure things out. I think he’s still trying to figure out himself.”
The eight-episode show was filmed a year ago in New York City, when everything was still open. In a way, it provides a sense of comfort for viewers.
“I think it gives, perhaps, nostalgia for what we love about the country and what the world was like a year ago,” Abrams adds. “It adds a certain kind of light and warmth that heightens everything.”
The show also includes a very diverse cast and story lines that everyone can relate to — something star Troy Iwata, who plays Lily’s immature brother, Langston, couldn’t say no to.
“When I read the script, there was this queer, mixed character whose main arc wasn’t an identity crisis. Langston is gay, mixed and unapologetically proud to be both and our show does such a beautiful job creating a world where that’s embraced and celebrated,” Iwata, 29, says. “It’s very refreshing. Dash & Lily doesn’t ignore the common struggles that unfortunately are common in those communities, but it shows that we are so much more than that.”
Dash & Lily is produced by the team behind Stranger Things, 21 Laps, as well as Nick Jonas‘ company Image 32. Jonas, 28, serves as an executive producer while Brad Siberling, Fred Savage and Pamela Romanowsky each direct.
For more from Abrams and Iwata, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
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Dash & Lily drops on Netflix Tuesday, November 10.
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