June 9th, 2010
03:39 PM ET
“Pretty Little Liars” is like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” - a group of best friends trying to make it through high school. Of course there are subtle differences between ABC Family’s new series and the 2005 flick: One of the girls goes missing and they don’t all share the same pair of pants, as far as we know.
The pilot episode of “Pretty Little Liars,” which is based off the books of the same name, begins on a dark and stormy night in a small town called Rosewood. Like all teenage girls, the five best friends - Aria, Hanna, Spencer, Emily and Alison - were spending the night drinking and sharing secrets in a barn. Upon waking up the next morning, Aria - played by Lucy Hale, who starred in CW’s “Privileged” (which in my opinion should still be on the air) - realizes Alison is nowhere to be found.
The girls went their separate ways after Alison’s disappearance, but one year later, each of them is brought back together again by some creeptastic messages.
When Aria returned to Rosewood from an extended vacation in Iceland with her family, we find her popping into a dark bar to grab some food, meeting a cute post-grad in the process. Turns out he’s recently accepted a teaching job (if that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is), but Aria doesn’t own up to still being in high school. If she had, perhaps the two wouldn’t have wound up making out in the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Hanna successfully (or so we think) steals a pair of designer sunglasses while Emily crushes on Maya, the girl who moved into Alison’s old house. (Things we know about Maya: she asks a lot of questions and breaks out the weed when her parents are out.)
Last but not least we come to Spencer, who spent the majority of the pilot ogling her perfect sister’s new boyfriend Wren, who seems to be ogling right back at her.
We eventually find out that the cute post-grad Aria got to know in the bar bathroom is her English teacher (you’re all shocked, I’m sure). After an audible “Oh crap” from Mr. Fitz (a.k.a., the cute guy from the bar) and a whole lot of curious stares from Aria’s classmates, she receives a text: "Maybe he fools around with students all of the time. A lot of teachers do. Just ask your dad. –A.”
One flashback later and it all makes sense: Aria and Alison caught Aria’s dad cheating on her mom in the back seat of his car last year. Alison had to have sent the text, because who else would have known?
The eerie messages and telling flashbacks keep coming. Emily, who shares a brief and awkward kiss with Maya, later finds a note on her locker: "Hey Emily! I've been replaced. You've found another friend to kiss! -A."
Then Spencer receives an e-mail from A: "Poor Spencer. Always wants Melissa's boyfriends. But remember, if you kiss I tell.” It seems this isn’t the first time she has lusted over one of her sister’s boyfriends. In a flashback, Alison threatens to tell Spencer’s sister the truth, at which point Spencer threatens to tell everyone about Jenna. So many secrets! Jenna who?
Hanna, who eventually gets booked for shoplifting, also receives a text message: “Be careful, Hanna. I hear prison food makes you fat." Thanks to Hanna’s mother, who seduces an officer in order to get her daughter out of trouble, Hanna won’t be going to prison.
This is where it gets even stranger: As Emily is walking home she sees flashing lights surrounding Maya’s new house. Alison’s body was found in the yard.
The four friends come together at Alison’s funeral, and afterward huddle outside the church to talk about the cryptic messages they’ve received from “A.” A detective walks over to let the girls know he plans on solving Alison’s murder.
The episode ends with a final message to each of the girls: "I'm still here [expletive], and I know everything. -A."
What did you think of “Pretty Little Liars?”
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