This is a pimping post for my newest obsession, Pretty Little Liars. I just finished marathoning the first half of the first season all the way through and I've got to say, I'm addicted. This is going to be a post explaining why people should also be watching this show too, and Part 2 of season one returns on January 3rd of 2011 so what better chance of getting caught up? There are no spoilers here, just a generic description in getting people at least somewhat interested.
Pretty Little Liars is teen drama-mystery based on the young adult book series by Sara Shepard that airs on ABC Family. It centers around four girls who, a year after their best friend and Queen B of the clique, Alison, mysteriously disappeared, was found dead and are brought together by someone sending them messages from an anonymous source called "A" that is stalking them/threatening to reveal their deepest most darkest secrets that they thought only their deceased friend knew. These four friends stick together in trying to understand who "A" is while trying to survive whatever drama is surrounding their little secrets. This also includes certain unmentionable scandals that they witnessed/were part of/are happening in their daily lives, and some personal secrets that they aren't sure they are ready to admit or confront just yet.
Drama also happens with character relationships, whether it be family and friends or romances, and there are quite a few romances involved which can be a messy web in itself, but it doesn't really get ridiculously overbearing in that department. Mostly the drama and mystery mix really good together to make it interesting to watch.
In shows character interaction and development is pretty much key, there has to be chemistry and growth otherwise it's not really worth watching if we keep going around in circles with the same-old dramatics. With Pretty Little Liars, they did a great job with introducing us to our four main characters without going down the road of shallow teen drama-ville like other shows have done. Instead, they've given us four wonderful actresses portraying these characters, all of them adding a different kind of flavor to their role and all giving us a chance to really look into what is going on in their lives and seeing the interactions with each other, and see how they once were through flashbacks to how they are in present day and how they deal with what is happening. There's also life-changing incidents that make each character learn and grow, and sometimes with surprising results. Not that saying they don't do stupid things now and then, but nothing is black and white and these girls realize it through the mystery they're in the middle of.
There's also the supporting cast as well, introducing secondary characters and recurring which also play a huge factor to the show, all which are portrayed with equal importance as our main characters are. There are even surprise actors popping up that I didn't even know that they were also appearing on the show (Holly Marie Combs from Charmed plays one of the main girl's mother; also Bryce Johnson from Popular as the detective running the investigation, Bianca Lawson as Maya, Ryan Merriman also makes an appearance as well as the author of the Pretty Little Liars books makes a brief cameo in one of the episodes).
The opening title sequence is singularly one of my favorites because it has that creepy-yet-beautiful vibe to it, combined with the imagery. It's short but gorgeous. The song is called "Secret" by The Pierces.
Granted not many shows tend to handle sexuality well, and sometimes it's not done in ways everyone can agree on which is understandable. However in my opinion, Pretty Little Liars does deal with the subject of sexuality in more or less a respectful manner.
One of the characters is dealing with her own sexuality on the show and it's a confusing time for her. She even admits out loud that she thinks there's something wrong with her. I think there's a natural and realistic portrayal here of teenagers trying to understand their own sexuality, and it is a really confusing and complicated time for them because there's the heteronormality society has placed on us, and in that fictional small town of theirs there's even more pressure from the parents who often are stereotypical in their "wants" and "expectations" of their children to be accepted by their community. One of the important themes specifically in some episodes is with being honest with oneself, being true in finding out who they are and this girl really is trying to figure that out. One of the things I liked about this is later on one of the other friends finds out (through a message from "A") but accepts it with open arms and tells her friend exactly that, and I think that's a lovely thing to witness.
It's not entirely perfect, but I think the accepting of bisexuality without it being for the "shock factor" but more about this is who that person is regardless, is a big step up.
Mystery and intrigue disguised as a teen drama, but it's not your typical teen drama kind of show. It's a mixture of being Veronica Mars and Twin Peaks with the murder mystery of their best friend, complete with flashbacks and unraveling the secrets and mysteries of solving this puzzle, and also adding some Gossip Girl drama with the anonymous "A" who keeps sending them messages and stalking their everyday lives and the other sorts of drama that happens with their family/friends and the relationships they have. There are certain things that are slightly expected from this kind of a show, like romances and triangles and things that can seem cliche, however the mystery makes up for it and there are definitely some twists and turns you wouldn't expect.
If anything, this show is entertaining and will keep you guessing and wanting to piece the clues together. If this is the kind of show you're interested in, even mildly, then I highly suggest you check it out. It's definitely worth it.
Now I'm off to start watching The Vampire Diaries, because everyone is recommending it and I hear it's awesome.