‘Life Sentence’ Review: Lucy Hale’s New Comedy Has Great Heart

Lauren Gallaway
of 5
Review Essentials
  • Lucy Hale is a fantastic lead
  • Elliot Knight is charming AF
  • Strong family dynamics
  • Tear-jerking moments
  • Current social issues

Lucy Hale’s (Pretty Little Liars) new series Life Sentence is set to premiere the first week of March on The CW. Life Sentence is a unique blend of comedy and drama. While it does deal with the biggest issue of all — death — it also deals with the toughest questions in life, like marriage, children, sexuality, work, and love.

In the premiere episode, which we will be reviewing here, Lucy’s character Stella finds out that after eight years of battling terminal cancer, she’s cured. In the blink of an eye, her life goes from picture perfect to completely chaotic. She discovers that her family has been keeping multiple secrets from her to keep her life happy before she died. What should have been great news actually causes her family to unravel and she’s left to deal with the mess.

The series is charming, funny, serious, somber and everything in between. The show doesn’t shy away from current topics like bisexuality, nor does it play into anything as a trope — well, maybe it does a little bit. Let’s jump into some non-spoiler thoughts about Life Sentence.

Lucy Hale is Delightful

Life sentence lucy hale

Stella feels like a role that Lucy Hale was born to play. Stella is sweet and petite and rocks an adorable pixie haircut. She wears Peter Pan collared dresses and listens to Sara Bareilles. She is the modern millennial woman — in some ways — in other ways, she’s the modern millennial girl. Stella has spent the last eight years battling cancer, which means she never really had to grow up. Her family throws her parties and sends her on trips to Paris — she leads a semi-charmed life, which is ironic because she’s dying.

When she finds out that she’s not dying, she assumes her charmed life will continue on as normal, but it doesn’t. The second she tells her husband and family the truth about being cancer free, the perfect glass castle that they have built around her starts to shatter. She finds out that her sister gave up her dream career to stay at home and take care of her. She finds out that her parents are in financial troubles because of her medical bills. She also discovers that someone in her family is actually bisexual and has been suppressing it for years.

Love is Stronger

Life Sentence Lucy Hale Elliot- Knight

While the glass is shattering around Stella, she could accept defeat. And she does, at one point. But where this plucky cancer dramedy decides to go is not expected: instead of leaving Stella alone and having her family completely fall apart, the show actually finds the silver lining in Stella’s life in her husband Wes (Once Upon a Time‘s Elliot Knight).

Wes has lied to Stella as well, about little things like his favorite movie (gasp!) and bigger things, like actually wanting to have children. He too has to decide if he wants to stay married to Stella, now that “until death do us part” really does mean forever. What he decides to do and how he decides to do it is quite charming. In fact, the whole show is charming. Are there some off-putting lines about a character’s sexual coming out? Yes. But on the whole, the show is exploring a very meaningful topic: how to enjoy the imperfections in life when you wanted everything to be perfect.

Life Sentence premieres March 7 at 9PM on The CW.

Lauren Gallaway
TV editor at FANDOM. Creator of The Marvel Report. Journalist, Comic-Con reporter, Podcaster.
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