ABC Family and MTV are both dishing out new shows to keep their ratings strong throughout the summer. To decipher which of these shows is awesome, totally fine, so-so, and gosh-darn awful requires viewing two-full episodes. So after two weeks of watching it’s fairly obvious that The Hard Times of RJ Berger is mostly so-so and occasionally borders on totally fine (usually when you’re half asleep and prone to easily laughing). However, ABC Family has hit a home run with it’s new show, Pretty Little Liars.
This show’s acting, lighting and plot are all ten times better than any other ABC Family show (particularly The Secret Life). And while the whole “being so bad, it’s good” thing is usually what makes ABC Family shows charming and addictive, this time they actually have good, strong material.
Pretty Little Liars follows four former best friends as they deal with the lost of their resident Regina George, Ali. A friend’s death is already hard to deal to with, but it’s worst when she’s a mean girl sending you threatening texts from the grave. On top of that all the girls have secrets. One is a possible lesbian who had a fling with the dearly departed Ali. Another once had an affair with her older sister’s fiance (and is doing it again, with a new guy). And another used to be a little on the heavy side and likes to shoplift.
In the first five minutes of the first episode the girls do some underage drinking and one of them disappears. In the next six minutes one of the main characters, Aria Montgomery, hinted to her father’s infidelity before going to a bar and starting a hot and heavy hook-up in the bathroom with a total stranger. At 5 in the afternoon. Without the help of alcohol.
Now that’s quality dirty, shameful teen television! It really makes you long for the days when Gossip Girl was on its game. Honestly if Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars started a competition (airing on the same night), Pretty Little Liars would win. Why? Because it has everything old school GG had (sex, drugs, phones) plus a murder mystery (and really great opening credits). Meanwhile GG has…Chuck Bass dying in an alleyway (Not very appealing).
Even Pretty Little Liars’ anonymous texter “A” puts Gossip Girl to shame. When the Gossip Girl sent out regular blasts she had to rely on the information she was sent from others. The Anonymous “A” waits for no one. They just KNOW everyone’s dirty little secrets! (And their texts are far more evil and witty than anything GG has ever texted or said in one of her weird voice-overs that leaves the viewer asking, “did she really just say that? what does that even mean?”)
And while Aria and the girls may not be uber wealthy or quite as wild as Serena on GG that doesn’t make it any less scandalous – it just makes it a little more grounded in reality. Because in real life when teen girls do bad things they don’t usually fly to foreign countries or plot social ruin in the Oak Room, they drink and have sex. Besides, Pretty Little Liars is less about scandal and bad behavior and more about suspense and mystery.
The girls are all beautiful, the clothes are cute, and the men are hot. Plus Piper from Charmed is Aria’s mother on the show which gives it bonus points. The show loses a few points for the whole “small town in Pennsylvania with big secrets” concept (Pretty sure M. Night Shyamalan covered that thoroughly). But it gets those points right back because ABC Family, formerly a Christian network, is really setting aside their roots and showing teen girls in relationships with men over 18. How sinful!
If you haven’t started watching Pretty Little Liars, you should. Two episodes in and I’m totally addicted!
ABC Family is really giving the CW a run for its money. We’ll see if that continues with the premiere of Huge, which looks terrible (must everything Nikki Blonsky stars in have the theme of “proud to be yourself, no matter what you look like” and require her character to have “sass” and say super “sassy” things about how proud she is to be herself?). And things could change again with CW’s promising fall line-up, which includes a Bring It On-like show featuring Ashley Tisdale.
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8p.m.
Do you watch PLL? Do you think it’s the new GG? Are you confused by GG‘s weird voice-overs too? Tell me in the comments!