I’m back! As I was getting towards the end of my The Vampire Diaries reviews I was thinking about what shows I might want to do next. For a while I was planning to do The Originals but felt like I needed a break from that universe. I thought about a few others, I even started one that I ended up abandoning. I was waiting to feel particularly enthusiastic about something before fully committing to the next re-watch project. During my break I binged through all 7 seasons of Pretty Little Liars and got completely reabsorbed in the amazingness that is that show. I never thought this would be a show I would want to cover. First there are so many episodes, and this show goes through so many twists and turns, some good, some bad. I just didn’t think I would be able to get through it. Especially considering that until a week ago, I had never even finished the show. Though I have seen the first 5-ish seasons many times, I had never made it all the way through. It wasn’t even my intention when I started watching it again but something made me keep going and I am so glad I did. After finishing, I didn’t want to leave it so I thought of ways I could keep it going without it getting stale.
I randomly started watching PLL while I was in college. I had heard of it for years, but had always laughed it off as a dumb show. I mean it’s called Pretty Little Liars… And it was on ABC Family, which was only just beginning to make its own content. But one night I guess I just decided to give it a shot. I binged through whatever seasons were on Netflix at the time pretty quickly and then caught up with the current season through some shady websites. However, when it got to the time jump in Season 6, I gave up after a few episodes. I didn’t care for the direction the show was going and decided to just stop watching. But for years to follow I did multiple rewatches of the first 5 seasons. The time jump is kind of jarring and it took some time to find its footing, but once it did it was pretty delightful. Keeping up a show like this for 7 seasons is not an easy task and I am overall pretty impressed with how well they did.
Every time I watch this show I love it even more. I appreciate it more. It is the kind of show that requires multiple viewings to really appreciate and understand everything that is happening. When I first watched it I was hooked, but thought that it mostly went down a lot of rabbit holes and red herrings that ultimately didn’t matter. But through my many rewatches I realize how it all really does fit together, for the most part, which is not easy. Most shows like this start with one mystery and then come up with new enemies throughout to keep it fresh. All seven seasons though of Pretty Little Liars is basically one long story. The enemies sometimes change but they are always connected to the previous ones in some way. Seeing how all of the many threads come together is sometimes rewarding, and sometimes makes your mind go a little crazy.
The main reason that I fell in love with this show is the four lead girls. They are all likable, and ultimately good people who are flawed and often forced to make hard choices. The chemistry between the four leads is fantastic and I feel like I could just watch the four of them interacting forever. All of the main actresses are good too and are perfectly cast. Most importantly, they are all truly friends. Despite many attempts to divide them, the threats they face only strengthen their bond. They aren’t catty with each other. Even when they do get in fights, they get over it quickly because they just don’t want to be fighting with each other. Though romance is a big part of the show, they aren’t all boyfriend swapping constantly. Which happens on most teen shows. They each have their on-and-off main relationship throughout the series (with the exception of Emily). There is one, lone example of a shared boyfriend late in the series, which almost made me stop watching the show altogether. Just because I had praised the show for so long for not doing that exact thing. And it was obviously not going to last, so why bother? But I can’t think of any other show that centers around a group of female friends that doesn’t have them stabbing each other in the back and fighting over boys. It is a very female centric show. Women almost always have the power, even in situations where that wouldn’t typically be the case. The music of the show heavily features female vocalists.
And of course there is Alison DiLaurentis, the missing/dead girl that no one liked. Other shows have had teen murder mysteries where the dead teen had a lot of secrets. But I can’t think of any where the girl had been hated by almost everyone in town when she was alive. But of course once she is dead they act like it is such a tragedy. I love watching the Liars come to terms with their complex relationship with Alison. And how many people are happier with her gone.
It is an intricate mystery that does a great job of building a feeling of distrust for literally every character that isn’t in the inner circle. It is part teen drama, part horror film, and part psychological thriller. It is also completely bonkers. In the best way. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is of higher quality than a lot of its contemporaries. There are so many different ways to look at it. It is truly a unique show. There is just something weirdly fascinating about it.
These posts will not be episodic reviews. I will do about 3 episodes per post (the first to come out this Friday) and it will be more about tracking the plot with some fun things thrown in as well. The main goal is to track how all the mysteries fit together and what questions do/don’t get answered ultimately. And to just appreciate the show for what it is in general. Since the goal is to track consistency, I will not be getting too much into spoiler territory, but I will write it assuming you have watched the episodes at hand. I may also allude to future things when I think something is foreshadowing but won’t be too specific.
If you are obsessed with PLL and are looking for more content I have to give a shout out to the Bros Watch PLL Too podcast which I am obsessed with. If you want to watch PLL through a whole new, ridiculously fun, lens check them out. They go through each episode with a fine tooth comb, more than once. Though I would like to say all my thoughts about PLL are based on what I have come up with myself, I am sure their commentary has seeped its way into my subconscious.