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Summer TV Preview 2014: ABC Family’s Chasing Life [VIDEO and PHOTOS] 


Warning: Spoilers Ahead

When I first heard about this show I think I remember it being described as The Big C for 20-somethings, which is both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. I didn’t end up sticking with The Big C for long, but I’m always curious to see how anyone deals with such a massive life change. Cancer is scary at any age, but to be diagnosed so young has to be devastating. But it might also force someone to live the life they want and do the things that matter to them. So, I knew I’d have to check it out. And after watching the pilot, I have to admit that I’m already all in.

ABC Family Synopsis:

One twenty-something’s life is about to change forever.

April (Italia Ricci) is a smart, charismatic and quick-witted twenty-something aspiring journalist. When not pursuing the latest scoop, April tries to balance her ambitious career with her family, which includes her widowed mom Sara (Mary Page Keller), rebellious little sister Brenna (Haley Ramm) and her grandmother (Rebecca Schull). We meet April at a pivotal moment in her life: she’s landed a fantastic opportunity to impress her hard-nosed Boston newspaper editor and an office romance with her super-sexy co-worker Dominic (Richard Brancatisano) is just beginning to blossom. In an unexpected twist of fate, April lands in the hospital where her estranged uncle, George (Steven Weber), works as an oncologist, and she learns the devastating news that she has cancer.

The series follows April through her journey in the face of this daunting revelation, during a time in her life when the challenges of finding love and success would be enough to keep any girl occupied. But April is determined to fight and refuses to give up her dreams and goals. Along the way, she’ll find new reserves of strength and passion within and discover that facing death may really be the only way to truly live.

The Cast


Actor: Italia Ricci
Character Description: See above.
TV Credits: You may recognize Italia from Cartoon Network’s Unnatural History or Comedy Central’s Secret Girlfriend.


Actor: Mary Page Keller
Character Description: A professional therapist and the widowed mother of April and Brenna Carver, Sara is beautiful, smart, good-hearted and fiercely protective of her family. Following the sudden death of her husband, Thomas, two years ago, Sara is nervous but finally ready to return to the dating scene. Her natural inclination to over-analyze relationships and behavior can sometimes cause tension with her two independent young daughters, and with her own new romantic relationships, but she always has the best intentions.
TV Credits: What hasn’t she done? Mary got her start in soaps and has recently guested on Scandal to Supernatural to Castle.


Actor: Aisha Dee
Character Description: April’s fun-loving but level-headed best friend and loyal confidant, Beth is a vibrant, young Australian-born girl in her twenties with a keen eye for fashion. Beth still works as a barista at the same coffee shop April left months ago to pursue her dreams, but she optimistically believes that the best is yet to come and is determined to enjoy all that her carefree life has to offer in the meantime.
TV Credits: Aisha starred in FOX’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter and has also appeared in Terra Nova and the Austrailan/British series Dead Gorgeous.


Actor: Richard Brancatisano
Character Description: Cultured and attractive, Dominic is the Arts and Entertainment reporter at April’s Boston newspaper. Dominic’s job gets him into all the coolest gigs in the city and his irresistible charm could get him any girl he wants, but he has his eye on April from the moment she sets foot in the office. Their flirtatious banter finally leads to what seems like the perfect date, but April’s illness threatens the possibility of a real relationship without Dominic even knowing why.
TV Credits: Most of this Aussie import’s work has aired Down Under.


Actor: Haley Ramm
Character Description: Brenna’s reputation as a rebellious teen who will always choose a party over homework has gotten her into serious trouble in the past. She continues to test the patience of her well-meaning mother, Sara, and envies the perfect image her sister April seems to effortlessly uphold. But inside, Brenna is struggling to discover who she really is, and she does deeply care for her family. Developments at home will lead her to open her eyes to new possibilities with love, friendships, self-confidence and trust.
TV Credits: Haley’s guested on many TV shows including Nikita and The Mentalist.


Actor: Scott Michael Foster
Character Description: The son of wealthy gubernatorial candidate Bruce Hendrie, Leo struggles with bitterness at living in his father’s shadow and being tethered to his family’s money. Leo has more in common with April than she might expect from their initial, rather unpleasant encounter, and as they get to know each other better, he’ll teach her a few valuable things about living.
TV Credits: You might recognize him from AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, ABC’s Zero Hour or Showtime’s Californication.


Actor: Steven Weber
Character Description: George is a pediatric oncologist whose connection to his brother Thomas’ tragic death two years ago has isolated him from the Carver women. When, in a twist of fate, he discovers April is sick, George must confront past demons to get April to acknowledge her illness and accept the treatment she needs.
TV Credits: He is the wind beneath my Wings (sorry, I had to). He’s also guested on such shows as Dallas, Children’s Hospital and Wilfred.

All cast photos courtesy of ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin.

TV Goodness Summer Preview Ratings System
Watch Live
Watch Later on DVR
Undecided — Need to Watch Some More
Not Watching at All

I’ve seen the pilot and I’m so intrigued. Can we talk about that ending!? Considering the subject matter, this could’ve been such a downer of a show. But it’s not. I like that we meet April just as she’s getting great opportunities in her professional and personal life. Her back story is complicated and interesting. I’ve got access to the next two episodes, so I’ll watch those before they air. But after that, this is going to be a Watch Live type of show. I can just feel it.

Chasing Life premieres Tuesday, June 10th at 9/8c on ABC Family.


Sneak Peek:


All photos courtesy of Seacia Pavao and Claire Folger.


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