Chasing Life: 11 Reasons to Binge It Now on Netflix

ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin
ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin

The warm summer weather may be here, your favourite TV shows have all went on hiatus and you should be getting outside and enjoying yourself right? Well if you’re anything like us here at The TV Junkies summer also means hunkering down on the couch and binge watching. It’s a time to catch up on all those great shows you may have missed out on during the regular season.

The good news for TV fans is that one of our favourite shows of the past year has just arrived on Netflix, giving you the perfect choice for your first binge watch of the summer season. On Saturday, the ABC Family/ABC Spark drama Chasing Life came to Netflix (sorry Canada, it has yet to hit Netflix Canada) and it’s entire first season is available — all 21 episodes.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show’s premise, the drama stars Canadian Italia Ricci as young twenty something April Carver, a reporter in Boston who seems ready to take the world by storm, that is until she’s diagnosed with leukemia. But April won’t let cancer stop her from chasing her dreams, and with the support of a strong family and friends she fights back and continues to live her life.

We here at The TV Junkies were big fans of the show’s first season and are excited that more people will get the chance to check out the drama before it returns August 17 for Season 2. But don’t just take our word for it, we’ve got 11 reasons why Chasing Life should move to the top of that Netflix queue and become your first binge watch of the summer. Check them out below:

It’s realistic

April has cancer and as everyone knows the disease is awful. Chasing Life portrays April’s struggles in a realistic manner that never sugar coats just how horrible cancer can be. But the show also does so without being melodramatic. Cancer is never used just to get a good cry out of viewers. Will there be tears? You betcha! But there’s also hope in the way that April finds out who she truly wants to be and what she really wants out of life because of her journey and struggles with cancer. She’s just started living her life and already faces the end of it. Chasing Life’s portrayal of a cancer patient can be terrifying at times, but it’s always real and it makes experiencing the happy times all the better for April and viewers alike.

Italia Ricci

The Canadian actress is great as April. She can handle the emotional moments we just talked about, as well as turn around the next minute and be a total goofball with other cast members. With a lesser actress in the lead role Chasing Life wouldn’t be nearly as good and Ricci is someone we think we’ll be seeing on our screens for many years to come.

Not your typical love triangle

For most of the first season April was torn between two men, sweet co-worker Dominic (Richard Brancatisano) and the charismatic son of a gubernatorial candidate, Leo (Scott Michael Foster). But before you go and roll your eyes at the thought of yet another love triangle know that Chasing Life’s twist is a unique one and one that makes it hard to pick one side or another. Like April, we spent most of the first season switching between:

Team Dominic

Dominic has it all, he’s sweet, ridiculously good-looking, down to earth and really, really likes April. We’re with April, it’s hard not to love Dom when he’s looking at us with those big brown eyes!

But then there’s …

Team Leo

Played by Greek alum Foster, Leo Hendrie may seem like an elitist ass at first, but he was one of our most enjoyable characters of last year. As more and more layers of Leo were revealed we, along with April, couldn’t help but fall more and more in love with him.

April & Beth’s Friendship

April has a really rough road ahead of her with her disease, especially when it comes time for chemotherapy treatments. Thankfully, she always has one constant in her life, best friend Beth (Aisha Dee). Beth is always there with a shoulder to cry on or able to provide a good laugh to put a smile on her best friend’s (and our) face. When things get rough we know we can always count on these girlfriends to give us a much needed laugh.

Grandma Emma

Chasing Life has also blessed us with another one of our favourite characters on TV: Grandma Emma! Played with just the right amount of sass, snark and wit by Rebecca Schull, Emma always leaves us wanting more. She always knows the exact right thing to say, not only her granddaughters, but also her daughter Sara (Mary Page Keller). You’ll be hard pressed to find a cooler grandma out there on TV:

She’s pretty much cooler than all of us, and she always leaves us laughing with her great one-liners. There’s one thing for certain, we can’t get enough Grandma Emma in our lives.

Sisterly Love

April’s relationship with her younger teenage sister Brenna (Haley Ramm) may have started off a little rocky. They were close, but not super tight. However, one good thing to come out of April’s diagnosis is that the relationship between these two sisters has grown and become stronger than ever before. It’s great to see each of them lean on each other for support through cancer or just life in general.

Brenna and Greer

Brenna’s relationship with her fellow classmate Greer (Gracie Dzienny) has been one the best parts of Chasing Life’s first season. When Brenna met Greer, a lesbian, and later dated her, she became one of television’s most unique representations of LGBT teenagers, refusing to identify or label herself as one team or another. Despite that lack of labels, Brenna was routinely drawn into Greer’s orbit and the development of their relationship, and having to overcome multiple obstacles along the way, has been one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects to watch unfold through Chasing Life’s first season.

A cool mom

We’ve all seen shows with an overbearing mother that becomes increasingly annoying and hard to watch. Sara Carver is not that mother. While Sara certainly worries over April, and is still figuring out just how much “mothering” a young twenty something still needs when diagnosed with cancer, there’s no doubt that Sara loves her children and would do anything for them. She’s also taken Brenna’s struggles with school, her sexuality and with other family members in stride. Sara is the kind of mom we’d all like to have.

Important Life Lessons

April may be the one with cancer but every character on the show is affected by the disease and they are all learning important life lessons because of it along the way. Lessons such as the fact that none of us, cancer or not, know how long we’ll have left on Earth. We should cherish each day and live life to the fullest, for you never know when it’ll be your last.


So there you have it, all the reasons why we hope you’ll make Chasing Life your first binge watch this summer. Go ahead, give it a try and be sure to let us know what you think. Enjoy!

Chasing Life returns for Season 2 on ABC Family and ABC Spark on August 17. Season 1 is available on Netflix now.