I'd like to start by saying that I have always been a fan of Lucy Hale. She was the main reason I tuned into Pretty Little Liars all those years ago.
Before her breakout role as Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars, Hale had a few memorable credits.
She was Robin Scherbatsky's little sister Katie on How I Met Your Mother Season 2 Episode 12, Justin's goth girlfriend Miranda on Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place and Lena Kaligaris's little sister Effie on Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants 2.
Hale was even a member of the main cast on two short-lived series: The CW's Privledged and Bionic Woman. She had one of those faces that you felt like you had seen somewhere, even if you couldn't place it. She felt like someone famous.
And when she became Aria Montgomery on ABCfamily's Pretty Little Liars, she became a household name. Aria was one of four leads on Pretty Little Liars, which was an ensemble show. She was one of four reasons for tuning in, one of five after Alison came back from the dead.
Ashley Benson has a few movies in post-production to come out in 2020. Troian Bellisario has done a few projects such as Feed, in which she both produced and starred. After Mitchell, Bellisario seems to have been the most successful post-Pretty Little Liars.
And of course Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish stared in the short lived Spin-Off to the original series: PLL: The Perfectionists.
After Pretty Little Liars, Hale was in a few movies, and that could have been her new path, but it seems she wanted to remain on the small screen. So she took the role of Stella Abbott on the CW's Life Sentence,
Life Sentence centered on a girl with a death sentence (cancer) who had been living like there was no tomorrow, only to discover that she was cured and was now sentenced to life. Clever, right? The show was too.
I thoroughly enjoyed Life Sentence. But apparently, I was one of few. It did badly in the ratings. News of the show's cancelation after just one season was met with disappointment, particularly by Hale herself.
While Hale had been one of many main characters on Pretty Little Liars, Life Sentence was her first time as the lead. She was the protagonist, not to mention the narrator of that drama, and for whatever reason, the performance she was giving was not enough for people to keep tuning in.
Hale's next attempt to lead a series was the Riverdale Spin-Off Katy Keene. Katy Keene showcases four twenty-something New York hopefuls, trying to make it in music (Josie McCoy), Broadway/Drag (Jorge Lopez), fashion (Katy Keene) and conning her way to legitimate business (Pepper Potts).
Many felt the show should have been focused on Josie as fans already knew her from Riverdale and had been foaming at the mouth fo Josie-centric stories for years. Her journey on Katy Keene is a difficult yet compelling one, and she is a difficult yet compelling character.
Jorge, who nobody who watched Riverdale would be familiar with, was an instant sensation among the fans. As Katy said, "You'll be obsessed with him." Jorge's story is one so rarely told yet so applicable to today's society. He's also just a very dynamic personality that you want to know more about.
We're learning more about Pepper, but it's hard to root for or even care about her when you don't understand her. And then there is Katy. Were it not for the mystery that is Pepper Potts, Katy Keene would be the least popular character in her own series.
Katy doesn't have the appeal that Josie and Jorge have. Her life seems bizarrely charmed in a "my perfect boyfriend proposes to me on Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 1 , and then I get to stay friends with him and sleep with a Prince" kind of way.
She's not unlikable exactly, but not as interesting as most of her friends. This wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that this is her show.
As of today, Katy Keene has neither been renewed nor canceled fo Season 2. According to The TV Ratings Guide, it is the lowest in the ratings of all WB produced CW shows and will likely only get renewed because the CW has been disregarding ratings of late when making renewal decisions.
Of course, some actors get lucky and do great on a long show and then never really strike that kind of gold again through no fault of their own. Sarah Michelle Geller and Alexis Bledel come to mind. Even coming off a big success, getting a show renewed is not easy.
But in the case of Hale, she had two shows that never made it out of Season 1, then she struck gold playing Aria for seven years, and has been unable to keep a show afloat since.
Life Sentence was a great show that didn't deserve to get canceled, and Katy Keene should have better ratings than it does, but the Katy character is what drags it down.
And these were the two shows where Hale was the lead. She should be propping them up. Instead, we'e left wondering, is Hale the problem?
In the case of Life Sentence, the show was a little old-school, retreading plots and cliches that were a little 1990s. Beyond that, the premise had an expiration date in the same way The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did.
That girl can only be a clueless fish-out-of-water for so long. Eventually, she either adapts or is just too stupid for it to make sense.
As for Katy Keene, a lot of viewers probably tuned in because they liked Riverdale, and Katy Keene is no Riverdale. It is the lightest and simplest of the shows in Greg Berlanti's empire.
Also, fans have wanted some solo-Josie time for so long that it would take a character as dynamic as Jorge to steal her spotlight. Whoever got cast as Katy would have had an uphill battle.
Lucy Hale is a talented actress and singer, but it seems like maybe she keeps picking the wrong projects. She needs something that will showcase her skills while focusing on an audience that wants to see her. Maybe The CW simply isn't the best platform for her.
Whatever the reason, a Lucy Hale lead show might not be the best investment of your time unless you're okay with it not making it to Season 2.
What do you think?
Is it Hale's fault her shows keep flopping?
Should she try piloting shows on another network?
Will Katy Keene see a Season 2?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Leora W is a staff writer for TV Fanatic..