WarningMight contain spoilers.

A lovely show that starts out quietly: a little cute, a little lacking in production values, unfortunately focused on vomiting, and with a realistic-looking cast instead of glistening movie stars. But it grows more confident with each episode and quickly reveals its true self: sweet, funny, inspiring, heartfelt, and engrossing. I enjoyed its distinctly British–South Asian heritage, like the bits of Hindu-Urdu woven in here and there or the Punjabi song at the end of the fifth episode—it’s a refreshing change to have those elements be a natural part of the story rather than an afterthought or a pointed inclusion. While I can’t say I found the eponymous band’s music pleasing, per se, I don’t think that’s what matters. Every beat and note throbs with emotion, supporting and elevating the story.

Amina is a bit bland, not having much to her apart from guitar skills. Those around her are more interesting, including her parents. Sarah Kameela Impey’s performance as Saira is a tour de force. Lucie Shorthouse’s performance as Momtaz is frankly astonishing, considering that all you can see of her face is her eyes. Ayesha could easily have been a boring stereotype but the careful writing and Juliette Motamed’s honest performance demand your attention and your feelings (especially when she falls in love). Bisma is pleasant but unremarkable as a character.

Ahsan appears to be a vapid object of lust at first, but he has his own inner life, doubts, more than a little awkwardness, and an endearing, fundamentally good nature. Abdullah is a cleverly-designed foil for Saira—the two of them are absurdly sweet and hilarious together. So are Bisma’s husband and daughter hilarious. Aiysha Hart turns in a consistent performance as Noor, who first seems justified in her resentment, given that Amina hides everything from her, but later shows herself to be just as bound by convention as anyone else. Even Zarina isn’t a caricature, just a person doing what she thinks she needs to and being fair as she understands the term.

The finale is simply fantastic, though Ayesha doesn’t receive much attention and the sequence with Momtaz at home is peculiar (as if they both wanted and didn’t want to show her face). The music is much the same, but the concert as a whole is excellent. It has a unique, extraordinary ambience. Amina arriving at last is such a triumphant moment. Her panicked shout of Sparta! at the end is amusing, heartwarming, and stirring.

I can only hope there’s more to come. I have to imagine there will be complications. Lady Parts were upset that Zarina’s article portrayed them as hating their religion when they unambiguously do not. Do their fans understand that?