HOLLYWOOD—Someone brought up this series and it got me thinking; damn that was some great television. I’m talking about the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars” that premiered back in 2010. At the time it was a series that as an adult I could not get enough of it. The writing was so sharp, the narrative so enthralling and you had four characters that were so fleshed out and constantly evolving and growing that it was simply fantastic TV viewing from week to week.
Let me just say this, it is hard to find a TV series that is just a guilty pleasure. They just don’t make series like that anymore. With the growing threat of AI (artificial intelligence) people don’t believe in original ideas or actually coming up with something that is unique and one of a kind. Let me take that back, true writers do believe that, which might explain why the Writers Guild of America has been on strike for close to a month at this point with no end in sight.
Back to “PLL” as many of us that coined it, the series followed Hanna (Ashley Benson), Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Spencer (Troian Bellasario), as teens who are being threatened by someone coined ‘A.’ This villain was a mysterious one who kept their identity hidden for a number of seasons and it was all entangled in their BFF Alison DiLaurentis who vanished one night and was believed to be dead, only for the audience to discover after a series of seasons that Alison was actually very much alive and hiding from the elusive threat who tried to kill her and wanted her to stay dead.
I think what worked so well for the series that appealed to so many not just youngsters and teens, which was the target audience, was that each episode found a way to uncover a new secret or twist that would lead to a bigger secret and turn of events. I never watched a series that had a cliffhanger at the end of each episode in a way that made you want more. You wanted to know what was going to happen next week; you attempted to connect the dots and clues to figure out who the threat was. I will admit season one was stellar. Season two fantastic, especially when we discovered who was behind that black hoodie.
Yeah, I do believe this series made the notion of a black hoodie a dangerous fiend. When ‘A’ was revealed I wasn’t stunned, but I kind of was, but that reveal only led to bigger shocks for season three, which was absolutely amazing for me. That fourth season delivered the biggest bomb of them all as our four heroines discovered their bestie, Alison, was not dead, but very much alive. Everyone on the series was a suspect and that was a testament to solid writing. I will admit, once we got to the fifth season the series was starting to lose a bit of its steam. The fifth season was ok, but it became apparent the series was losing its steam as we entered the sixth and ultimately the seventh and final season that culminated with a reveal that some people liked and fans of the series couldn’t fully comprehend.
Sometimes it’s a good thing to end a series when you realize there is not much more to go with it. Yes, you might want to capitalize with the buzz and the momentum the series has, but the one thing I hate more than anything is filler episodes and as the season neared the end, “PLL” had a bit too many of those. However, any show with a level of mystery will always hook me no matter what especially if we have characters that are layered and EVERYONE and I mean everyone is a suspect, which “Pretty Little Liars” did so easy, but perhaps that is thanks to its creator and writer I. Marlene King. The books were adapted to the produce the TV series, and with the internet you have that desire to want to cheat, but nope, I didn’t I wanted to be surprised each week.
This show had a good way of making you know in your bones someone was guilty of being the culprit to only be hoodwinked the next episode or to be proven wrong. Yeah, there were clues plenty of them at times you needed a visual board to connect all the dots.
Now that I reflect back it’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since the series came to an end in 2017. I think that is the thing about good TV. When it is good you don’t want it to end, but all good things must come to an end. I guess that is the good thing about having streaming nowadays and TV box sets. If you give something a bit of time and go back and start re-watching you start to realize now just the lure, but the great times you had watching that series.
Damn, I’ve never done a re-watch of a TV series, but I think “PLL” might be on the list people. Will I be able to remember all the ins-and-outs of the series when I first watched it, do I remember how it ended, who lived, who died, who was suspect and such. Right now if you ask me, the answer is no, but I think that is the fun of revisiting “Pretty Little Liars.”