December 28th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
Four attractive and stylish teenage girls, a handsome young high school teacher, a blind classmate with a secret and a slew of destructive text messages sent by the deceased. If that’s not a recipe for a hit TV series, I don’t know what is.
With its August finale watched by more than 3 million viewers, “Pretty Little Liars” quickly claimed the title of breakout series of the summer. Based on the book series of the same name, “Liars” also nabbed the second spot on Twitter’s list of 2010’s most tweeted-about moments in TV.
Why, you ask, is a teen drama (on ABC Family, of all channels) getting so much hype? Because it’s awesome, that’s why.
“Liars” is a younger “Desperate Housewives,” with an eerily broad demographic of adults, 18 to 30-something, according to TV by the Numbers.
The June premiere, which marked ABC Family’s No. 1 series launch to date, introduced us to each of the main characters – including Alison (Sasha Pieterse), who died a mysterious death prior to the first episode. Sound familiar, “Housewives” fans?
Of course, there are differences: The girls live in a town called Rosewood, not on Wisteria Lane; they attend high school and homecoming dances, not work and conference calls; and they continually receive very personal, threatening messages from “A.” Drama, drama, drama.
It doesn’t matter that the acting isn’t exactly Oscar-worthy, or that the storyline is about as realistic as an episode of “Gossip Girl.” The show just sucks people in, so much so that you’d be hard-pressed to find a viewer who hasn’t turned to Google looking for answers. Some of our commenters even admitted to picking up the books in hopes of piecing the story together faster. Though, there’s a good chance the show will deviate from the novels.
I can’t lie and say there are never any cheesy, tween scenes that pop up - like when Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and her new boy toy randomly break out into song and dance in a country club kitchen. But the show always immediately redeems itself with a juicy new secret or two.
It also helps that each episode ends with a cliffhanger so intense you’ll stay put on the couch for 15 minutes contemplating next week’s events with your roommate. (You don’t have to admit to it, but I know for fact I’m not the only one who does that.)
For me, TV has been devoid of a show this intense since “Veronica Mars” went off the air in 2007. We need a little light-hearted mystery
“Pretty Little Liars” - starring Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell and Lucy Hale, all of whom were relatively unknown before “Liars” - returns to the tube on Monday, January 3.
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