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Pretty Little Liars Review: This Summer's Guilty Pleasure

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It looks like I've found my guilty pleasure for the summer.

Granted, there were a few things wrong with this week's pilot episode of Pretty Little Liars. But this new ABC Family drama isn't meant for anyone seeking the next Emmy winner. It's classic escapism, and it's hard to imagine anyone tuning in last night and not being curious to see where the series will go next.

In order to review the episode, let's go through each of the main characters we met...

Aria: As someone who watched Lucy Hale on Bionic Woman, portraying the show's little sister, it's almost disturbing to watch her so grown up. Then again, it could be more troubling: I could be the teacher that just made out with her.

Probably the most well-rounded of the core four on the premiere; she seems legitimately torn up about Alison's disappearance and her dad's infidelity. Who wouldn't react to such events by making out with the cute, older guy at the bar?

Hanna: I'll be interested to see more of her as the picked-on friend in flashbacks. Upon first glance, she came across as the typical, self-centered queen bee... but the show hinted at there being a lot more to this girl, considering her one-sided relationship with Alison and the issues she appears to have with body image.

I'm Here, Bitches!

Emily: Hard to put a finger on this character right now. She was rushed into a strange friendship with new neighbor Maya, including clear hints at there being more than just platonic feelings on each side. It would have been nice to have developed each of these gals more before going there, but it's a pilot episode. The show is clearly trying to throw as much as possible as viewers so we'll stick around.

Spencer: Similarly, her storyline with her sister's fiance seems rushed. We saw him on screen for about two seconds before he just started giving Spencer a massage.

But this did tie in nicely with the secret Alison supposedly knows about her friend, and that was an appeal of the episode all-around: Alison didn't just send each girl a message. She referred to specific incidents from the past or character traits that leave us curious to learn more.

And, seriously, what is the Jenna thing?!?

With veteran, older actors on board (Laura Leighton, Chad Lowe, Holly Marie Combs), I've also confident Pretty Little Liars will give us layered adults that serve as more than just sounding boards for their kids.

We already saw that with Hanna's mom, in the most overt example of the show trying to shove too much down our throats at once. Couldn't it have found a more subtle way to hint at Mrs. Benson trading sex for her daughter's freedom? Perhaps Hanna finding the detective's badge in the bathroom the next morning? It was rather ridiculous to have the pair just start going at it in plain sight.

Still, as I said before, many premieres throw a lot out there in order to set up characters for viewers. This episode offered up enough juicy nuggets and intrigue to give it Series Recording status on my DVR.

How about you? What did you think? Check out a few Pretty Little Liars quotes from the pilot and comment away!

A: I'm still here, bitches. And I know everything. | permalink
Wren: You probably have a fluid build-up in your bursa sack.
Spencer: You probably say that to all the girls. | permalink
Spencer: You know what they say about hope. It breeds eternal misery. | permalink
Emily: We all know she's dead, right?
Aria: Right. I just never heard anyone say it. | permalink
Spencer: She's gone, but she's everywhere. | permalink
Maya: If you're a big jock, does that mean you'd kill me if I smoked a little weed? | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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In the series it is Ali's twin and the parents don't no because they r seriously identical and Ali acted enough like Alison and Courtney always said I'm Ali I'm Ali

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i'm only seeing this show just for the suspense/thrilling part. Well for the rest..nah! are they really 16-yrs old? I guess it will be much better of they are in college. it is not a good show for teenagers.

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THIS. IS. MY. FAVORITE. SHOW. EVER. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!!! I WOULD NEVER SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT IT! I RECOMMEND IT TO YOU! I CANT WAIT UNTIL THE SEASON FINALE TONIGHT! I HOPE THEY MAKE ANOTHER SEASON....MAKE THAT ANOTHER 40 SEASONS. ;)
BEST. SHOW. EVER.

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This show does have some bad acting and if I was at home would probably not watch it, but I am hooked and I watch it every Wednesday online at work! I just get confused about what the BIG SECRETS ARE....

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i pretty much started watching this show.. only because it was the director, of the Vampire Diaries, and i needed a new show til the vampire diaries comes back on.. and IM ADDICTED. i gotta say this is just a phenominal show.. and now i actually REALLY wanna read the books |:

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I was a huge fan, but now im slowly not loving it. I think the television show is terrible. The actors dont look anything alike, the storyline is all messed up and its just so frusturating! I like the books though, and I just finished Wanted. Omg, was that a crazy ending or what?!

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I'd be lying if I said this series was good. On the contrary, the show is not pretty bad; it's atrocious! Pretty Little Liars lacks focus; the direction is poor; the script is weak and the acting is awful; Even the styling - clothes, hair and make up are out! Also, what's with the weekly cliffhangers? Are they even?
With many of the better shows on break now, I hoped and prayed for good replacements in the interim. No such luck it seems.
Persons Unknown is equally lost. It suffers almost the same ill fate as Liars.
I think the only saving grace of a new episode of this mystery cum supernatural genre may be The Gates. But even that is a tad weak.
Thank God True Blood is back.

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can we get a forum and caption contest??? PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE :D we'll soon be below Vampire Diaries in the right side list hah!

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I also thought there was waaay too much goin on..that could have been 4 episodes! but I get it..they wanna grab the audiece and they also wanted to sell it to the network..anyway, I likedthe show and hope it keeps up..

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ok according to the books..it really is Ali. the dead body is of her twin sister..but that makes me wonder how d hell did their parents not notice which one is dead and which is alive. theyre their own kids! anyway not to spoil anything but so far it's a good series, minus the slight confusions!