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on January 14, 2008
...so addicted was I to the next turn of the plot!

"Lilies" follows the lives of the Moss family, led by Nelson "Dadda", comprised of son William (Billy) and daughters Iris, May, and Ruby. Mrs. Mary Moss has been dead approximately 15 years and Iris, the eldest, has become the lady of the house. Dadda works as an amateur veterinarian and herbalist. Iris creates confections and sells them to a local sweets store. May is in service to the nouveau-riche Mr. and Mrs. Brazendale. Ruby, William's twin and the youngest, just starts into peddling women's corsets at the beginning of the series.

The Mosses live in the early 1920s in Liverpool, and their lives are mirros of the times. The influx of jazz music and the popularity of the silent films persist throughout; the beginnings of social change through contraception and women's suffrage figure into it as well.

Religious differences and class distinction also play large roles. Dadda, an Ulsterman, is vigorously Protestant, and his sons were raised in his church--elder son Walter having perished in action in World War I.
The Moss daughters were raised in their mother's Roman Catholic faith (although their names would hardly have been given Baptismal approval for the era of their birth -- the 1890s -- by any Catholic priest, as none of them are saints names). On more than one occasion the division of churches causes issues within the family. Young Rev. Malachi Melia, the pastor of the girls' parish, plays a large role in many episodes.

The daughters are the central figures in this series, given its title from a toast made by Dadda that, while the bulbs he'd planted in the little garden on Portugal Street as a newly-married (and very young) man never prospered, he'd been blessed by "my girls, who are my lilies".

Iris is common-sensical but harbors a yearning for her own marriage and motherhood. The unlikely-named Domingo appears the perfect match--until a secret dismantles Iris' hopes and dreams. May, who initially seems as sensible as her elder sister, ends up in the midst of high drama with her employer, becoming pregnant by him. Ruby, the feistiest of the trio, becomes entranced by the social movements of women's liberation and embraces vegetarianism, even as her own dreams of swimming for the British Olympic team are dashed early on in the storyline.

Billy is a sad soul, having witnessed Naval action at the Battle of Jutland, only to be sent home, a victim of post-traumatic stress. Dadda is a man desperate to keep his family together, although his own violent temperment makes for some of the clan's worst problems. Toward the end of the series Dadda attempts to introduce his new romantic interest, Myrtle Bird, to his offspring, but she is soundly rejected--this was the only time I found Dadda sympathetic, as Miss Bird was more than appropriate for him and very clearly a good match for him.

"Lilies" truly offers it all--suicidal thoughts, adultery, bad marriages, sexual identity, class struggle, religious tension--except for a juicy murder, it covers a vast panorama of human conditions, struggles, tragedies, and, ultimately, victories.
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on October 18, 2007
Having seen Lilies first on Amazon UK, I got it as soon as the American version came out, and I am so glad that I did!

Lilies is a wonderful BBC period drama about three working class sisters (Iris, May, and Ruby Moss) as they adjust to life after WWI in Liverpool, England. The oldest daughter, Iris takes over the role of the sisters' late mother, cleaning while cooking for both the family and a local bakery; May works as a maid for a rich household, but dreams of being a movie star; while Ruby spends her days selling corsets.

Lilies doesn't let viewers down in its entertainment value: The script is packed with secrets, family and class conflict, forbidden love, attempted suicide, hidden desires, and much more, all taking place at a time when society was beginning to move into a new mode that was both more free and liberal. Not to mention the acting is first-rate and the characters and storylines are extremely well-developed.

Don't waste a moment before you go out and get this series. It is addictive, and you will not be disppointed!
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on February 14, 2008
Lilies is an excellent show that follows the lives of 3 sisters in the 1920's in Liverpool. Along with their crusty cantankerous (and at times somewhat abusive) father, traumatized war vet brother Billy, and various other characters including a hot parish priest, these sisters struggle to survive and make ends meet in post war Ireland.

I was immediately entranced in the film, I loved the characters and the scenery and couldn't wait to find out more about them. My only complaint is that the BBC is not making a season 2.
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Lilies is a stellar period drama- the story centers around a lower income family in post WW I England. There is Dadda, the patriarch of the Moss clan, who is a widower [his wife Mary having died 15 yrs earlier], his oldest daughter Iris, second daughter May, and twins Billy and Ruby. There was another son Walter who had died during the war. Together, the Moss family live through one crisis after another.

The center of the series is the lives of the three sisters - Iris is the oldest daughter who is selfless in her devotion to her family. She is the substitute mother for the Moss family, and apart from making sure the house is taken care of and meals cooked, she also works for the local bakery, making chocolates and other confectionery. But Iris secretly yearns to be a wife and mother, and have a family of her own, something that comes within her reach when she is courted by the conjurer Domingo, who appears to be the perfect suitor, but who harbors a secret that shatters Iris' dreams of domestic bliss. Iris also forms a close friendship with the parish priest who acts as confidante and friend to the Moss family, particularly Iris.

The second daughter May works as a maid for the rich Brazendales. Mrs. Brazendale yearns to be a mother, but suffers one miscarriage after another. Mr. Brazendale appears to be a charming gentleman, and May, who harbors dreams of making it into the pictures finds herself drawn to him, resulting in an affair that brings initial happiness, only to result in May's shattered dreams, and tarnished reputation when she finds herself in the family way.

The third daughter Ruby is feisty and fiercely opinionated. Ruby's dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer are shattered when she suffers an injury and she then becomes a corset saleswoman. Along the way, Ruby becomes fascinated and drawn to an upper class woman whose ideas of modernization, vegetarianism, and notions on sex enthrall Ruby.

Ruby's twin brother Billy finds himself having a phobia of water after narrowly escaping death in the Battle of Jutland during the war. He also suffers from survivor's guilt and battles his confusion about his sexual identity.

The father Dadda Nelson is an intriguing character and played to perfection by the actor portraying him. He is at once a proud and loving dad, but can also become abusive and unyielding when his authority is challenged. Fiercely protective of his position as patriarch of the family, he detests any flaws in his children, failing to recognize the flaws in his own character.

This mini-series is truly engrossing. Each episode has a well-woven plot than transports you into the lives of the Moss family and their travails, and the attention to period details [the setting is post WW I] is authentic and wonderful. The score is beautiful as is the cinematography. The cast is simply excellent, there wasn't a performance I disliked, both main and fringe characters.

I have been a long-time fan of period dramas, and I have to say that Lilies truly is a gem that needs more exposure. I was very disappointed to find that there wasn't a Series 2 and hope they will come up with one soon for there are lots more stories to be told about the Moss family. Highly recommended!
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on April 10, 2013
This is a film about a motherless family living with the indignities of poverty. There's a reason why this ran for one season only. It really sucked and some of the characters were not likable at all. The ones who were likable were dragged down by the weight of the endless problems the other family members seem to bring on themselves.

The entire film is comprised of one depressing story arc after another not to mention the disgusting scenes, i.e. father beating his pregnant daughter, this same daughter giving birth on all fours howling like an animal while her own father pulls the baby out from behind her~~Dadda's really good at this~~, another daughter is shown her husband's badly disfigured burnt genitals, animals being chopped up, etc. It goes on and on. The disfigured genitals or what's left of them weren't explicitly shown but were left to the viewer's imagination aided by the view of his badly scarred body. There was a horror movie quality about these scenes.

In hindsight, this film was probably intended to be a satirical dark soap opera not meant to be taken seriously, but laughed at given how the Irish are treated and ridiculed at the hands of the BBC producers. We're supposed to laugh with them as they poke fun of the Irish once more. If you think this is a romantic, sympathetic story because of the title, *Lilies*, think again. If you want to be depressed and disgusted by a low class Irish family living in 1920s Liverpool, and don't mind going slumming, see Lilies.
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on July 19, 2008
I can't say enough good things about this series. The story lines are compelling and the acting is terrific. The series focuses on the lives of the Moss family and is set in post-WWI Liverpool. Living in the Moss household are the 3 daughters, the widowed father, and the surviving son, Billy. The father is of Irish descent (indeed, I think he's an Irish immigrant). He is hard-working, capable of great sentimentality, and wants to hide the extent of the family's financial difficulties. He is both loved and feared (with good reason) by his children. He is passionately Irish - marching in annual parades that are part commemoration of Irish/British battles and part implicit political protest. The youngest son, Walter, who lied about his age in order to go to war, died shortly after entering the war. Billy, the older son, served in the Navy during the war, but after a naval disaster, was released because he had a nervous breakdown. He has to cope with his fears, shame and the community's perception of him as a coward. (In the aftermath of the First World War, the psychological effects of battle were poorly understood.)

The Lilies are the 3 Moss daughters, Iris, May and Ruby. All 3 are intelligent and passionate young women who love their family. However, they demonstrate their passion in different ways: Ruby, Walter's twin, is hot-headed, impulsive and idealistic. Her outbursts are at times quite funny. May dreams of being a famous actress; her naivete and subsequent despair lead her into folly. Iris, who is the eldest daughter, seems buttoned-up much of the time, but she too has passion. She wants to find a purpose in life beyond taking care of the household and making chocolates on a piece rate. She has a strict sense of morals and is a devout Catholic whose strongest non-family friendship is with Father Melia.

Other recurring, important characters are Frank, Father Melia (the young priest of the parish), the Brazendales (May's employers) and the young Austrian butcher. Some characters who appear only in one or two episodes are pivotal; these include Dominic (episode 2) and Marianne Parks (episodes 6 & 7).

There are some very surprising story lines, but given the historical context and the particular characters involved, the story lines are believable. There are a couple of scenes that may be too realistic for some viewers, but you can easily fast-forward through them.

Finally, the closed captioning DOES work. It's just that you can't do it through your DVD remote. You have to set the closed captioning on your TV and use the TV remote. You also have to wait a couple of minutes for it to kick in. I didn't realize this and watched the whole series without captioning, but there were several lines of dialogue I had to listen to more than once. However, when I watched it again with my sister, she went through her TV remote & got the captioning to work. I just now tried it again on my TV. It didn't seem to work at first, but I played around with closed captioning on TV channels; once I got it to work there, I switched to the DVD and it worked just fine.
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on December 2, 2007
Unfortunately, only 1 season of Lilies was made, but what a season it was. I loved this series and would highly recommend this to any lover of period drama. I couldn't wait to get home and watch more...and I even took the time to write this review...
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on February 16, 2008
Other reviews have outlined the story behind Lillies so I will not bore you by repeating it. Just to say of all the BBC and Masterpiece Theater Productions that I have watched with great relish and enjoyment over the years absolutley none have been of the calibre of Lillies. The casting is perfect - the acting excellent and the story unlike anything I have seen before. And it is not just a technical masterpiece - it is charming and filled with wit, humour and pathos. It is truly brilliant. I, too, await the sequel.
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on June 27, 2013
I can confidently say that this is my absolute favorite television series, ever (that is not a light statement, as I closely follow Doctor Who, Sherlock, Downton Abbey...). I have watched these 8 episodes so many times I have them almost memorized, but I still catch something new to love every time I see it. The fact that this show was cancelled is something I will never be able to accept. I gave this to my mom for Christmas, and she actually cried, even though it's available in our local library and she had it upstairs at the time anyway. Seriously, watch this series.
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on May 25, 2013
Some reviewers complained that this series is "dark", but I think it was just realistic!
I enjoyed this series very much. I love the family, how they disagree, fight, but still manage to stick together.
This is not a "period piece" with lots of pretty dresses and love letters. It is nitty gritty life stories.
It is worth watching.
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