June 8th, 2010 by thetvchick
In the small town of Rosewood (just outside of Philadelphia), secrets abound. Four girls (Aria Montgomery played by Lucy Hale, Hanna Marin played by Ashley Benson, Spencer Hastings played by Troian Bellisario and Emily Fields played by Shay Mitchell) were the best of friends, brought out of their unpopular status by it girl Alison DiLaurentis to become queen bees. During a sleepover in middle school, Alison goes missing, and nothing is ever the same. The girls drift apart, but Ali is always in the back of their minds. The series premiere of Pretty Little Liars (based on the amazing book series by Sara Shepard) takes places years after Ali has disappeared. Aria returns from Iceland to find her friends have changed. Hanna is now the most popular girl in school, with Mona Vanderwaal by her side (Mona used to be a huge nerd). Spencer and Hanna are friendly with each other, but not friends. And Emily seems the most unchanged, but she still thinks about Ali all the time. Maya St. Germain (played by Bianca Lawson who is kind of too old for this part), moves into Ali’s old house and she and Emily become fast friends.
But nothing is ever as it seems in Rosewood, and throughout the episode, each girl gets mysterious forms of communication from “A.” Is it Alison? Who knows! (Well, I do since I read the books but I won’t be sharing that info) Each note or text contains a secret that only Alison knew, and she threatens to tell all. The girls are admittedly freaked out, but don’t come together until the end of the episode where they all get a text from “A” at the same time. What lengths will the girls go to in order to keep their secrets? Is Alison alive? Was there more to their old friend’s disappearance than they could have imagined? And then there’s the Jenna thing…a secret they have all sworn not to tell anyone.
Pretty Little Liars is full of drama, mystery and intrigue with a dash of high school thrown in there. But it isn’t just the girls with secrets, their parents hold some secrets of their own. Byron and Ella Montgomery (played by Chad Lowe and Holly Marie Combs), and Ashley Marin (played by resident TV bad-ass Laura Leighton) are hiding some things of their own. I have been dreaming of a TV series since I picked up the books years ago, and the series premiere of Pretty Little Liars did not disappoint. It followed the first book pretty closely which sets my hopes and expectations high for the rest of the season. The only flaw I saw was the age of Bianca Lawson, who plays Maya St. Germain. But since the show mainly focuses on the girls, and she’s just a guest star, I don’t see it being a huge issue. Of course with any book series, you have visions in your mind of what the characters look like (especially since Shepard is such a descriptive writer), and I’d say that Hanna and Aria fit their roles perfectly. Emily and Spencer are great as well but I think Ashley Benson and Lucy Hale are Hanna and Aria personified. Sasha Pieterse plays Ali (mostly in flashbacks of course) and I enjoyed her too.
I applaud ABC Family for picking up Pretty Little Liars, because it’s not a show you would typically find on their network. It certainly has the same demographic as their shows but in general, it’s a bit more risque than their usual choices. If I had to compare it to another show, I would say it has shades of Veronica Mars in it (which is a huge compliment). The girls aren’t solving new crimes on a daily basis but they are trying to get to the bottom of a big secret that has been haunting them for years.
Be sure to tune in tonight at 8 pm to ABC Family for the series premiere of Pretty Little Liars. And remember, never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret.Tweet