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


Editor Rating: 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+.


Hannah's problem is just like blair..
similar too mucH?
except the actress doesn't come close to leighton.
leigh is far more beautiful.


Spencer looks too old. The only character that looks the same from books and movies is Aria, except for the yak bag and handmade bras


i was SUPER excited for this premiere...but i think they kind of ruined it with finishing THE WHOLE first book in the first episode. THAT was kind of nuts, but i get why they had to do it so not too many people would get confused and change the channel. if they continue at a slower pace i think Pretty Little Liars could be the IT show of the summer! keep it up! ( p.s. i read the books... and to those who read it, they might think it's going too fast which means nothing to build up to...)


i smell GOSSIP GIRL only dark side! lol but its fine!!


Well they should have changed that thing with Hannah's mom and the police officer, they don't have to stick to the books, there's place for improvement too....


As a reader of the books, I thought it was okay. Kind of boring, kind of rushed, but I think that was necessary to get things going. I think next episode will be better. The one thing I thought was really strange was how rushed Emily and Maya's relationship was - they met each other eight hours ago and all of a sudden Emily's all "Oh Maya I was so worried about you!"? Oh, and your criticism of the scene with Hanna's mom and the police officer - that scene was actually very accurate compared to the books, so that didn't bother me.


oh wow, the first time i heard they are going to make a series out of this. i am so watching it. I thought the episode was so rush since everything is just so crunched up. I know what happens in the story (since I read all the books, turnover ending! LOL) but i'm intruge seeing this seeing it as a series. these girls have alot of problems for sure, but not the bitchy ones you see on gossip girl. I always thought American life was always llike that. The jenna thing kinda got out of hand. They explained why she was blind in the first place in the book. hopefully it gets resolve. Is this season only 10 episode. So they making 10 episodes for each book?


And they can leave out that guy saying "I saw two blonde girls in the woods" and that's it. It's not a big deal. And maybe Emily's mom will not be racist on the show but rather uptight, close minded and homophobic. It's not like her being racist is a major plot


Megan the song was not specifically made for the show. What do you expect? And it's just a song... which I think fits the show... although it was already used in GG so it's not original


I was very dissapointed with last night episode, and that was just in the first two minutes. Not only did they totally screw up a quote in the theme song: "two can keep a secret if one of the is dead" when the real quote is three can keep a secret if two of them are dead" you know this if you at least read the first book. But like Taylor said Spencer is supposed to be blonde, and emily is supposed to be a redhead and not at least half african american i mean cmon her mom's COmpletly racist twoards african americans!

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Pretty Little Liars Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Ezra: I'd like to know more about you.
Aria: I'd like to know more about you, too.

Friends share secrets. That's what keeps us close.