Saturday, December 6, 2008


I kept it a secret because I didn't want to write a partial review when I wasn't done that would only cover some of it. Anyway, a few days ago I discovered the miniseries Lilies on YouTube. I'm not sure this entry is going to make sense as I only finished watching it but a few minutes ago and tears are still rolling. This is the best miniseries I've ever seen. If I were honest, I'd say this is the best original drama I've ever seen. I've read all the reviews on both Amazon UK and and absolutely nobody praises it for its originality in so many words : Heidi Thomas, the screenwriter (and the reason I started watching this because she's the one responsible for I Capture the Castle, Ballet Shoes and Cranford) created and wrote Lilies and didn't adapt it from a book, it's an original creation. Now how many miniseries do you know which aren't adaptations ? I mean it : take a minute, think about it. This woman's a genius, it's such an unusual script.
Lilies follows the lives of a family of three sisters, a brother and a father in Liverpool in the 20s. The plot summary given by IMDb describes it as "tough, sexy, funny and heartbreaking". Reading that, I thought "yeah, yeah, as if any show could be all of this".
I was so wrong. I found myself bursting with laughter and crying my heart out in the space of 10 minutes, I was rooting for every relationship and each member of the family broke my heart at some point or other. Disturbing at times (the Amazon review talks about an "uncompromising approach" and I agree with that, it's a rewarding show in that you can sit back and enjoy but you will be surprised and more than once) it contains some of the most touching moments I've ever seen on television. I don't even know what to say about the casting, it's so perfect. Everybody - even the secondary characters which aren't really secondary because they appear and reappear and become part of their, our lives - was so incredibly good I thought it just wasn't possible unless the characters had been written with the actors' own personalities in mind.
I missed Lilies when it was broadcast but I knew when watching these eight episodes that this first series would be the only one. The BBC didn't commission a second season for reasons nobody can understand. The end still makes sense and in a way I'd rather it ended now and left us 8 pitch perfect episodes with not one line out of place, not one character out of place, not one setting out of place, not one piece of music out of place than go on and disappoint because nothing could ever top such a strong debut. A pearl.