Posts Tagged ‘Pretty Little Liars’

Review – The Lying Game (Episodes 1-5)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Having everything, including a family who loves you, doesn't automatically make you a better person....

Synopsis:
If Ringer is twin swapping for adults (why it is on the CW I don’t know), then The Lying Game is twin swapping for teens. Sutton Mercer is rich, pretty and a bitch. She recently discovered that her parents lied about her adoption and decides to find the truth. She discovers she has a twin sister, Emma during this search. Emma is a foster kid, trapped in the system with a creepy “brother” who wants to sleep with her. Emma does a runner to Sutton after the brother tries to blackmail her into sex. Following? This is like the first 7 minutes. Sutton has a lead on their supposedly dead birth mother, and convinces Emma to swap with her so she can find her. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:
Nature vs nurture.
Teenagers having manufactured problems.
Twists and turns.
Adrian Pastar from Heroes.
Some very interesting choices for supporting characters (Tyler Christopher from General Hospital!)
Twists and turns.
Emma’s development.
Everyone lies (I sound like House).
Awesome sound track – got to the be the same guy who does TVD.

Minuses:
Sutton is a bit of a one trick pony.
Doesn’t seem to be a lot of grey to the characters – white hat/black hat.
Char has potential to be a really strong and interesting character, Kirsten Prout can act the socks of others in this show but hasn’t had the opportunity as yet.

For a bit of teen drama, this is much better than Pretty Little Liars, but I don’t think it will be as popular as it isn’t quite as OTT  and salacious as PLL. A fun 45 minutes of escapism each week – and we all know how much I love a teen drama!

#threeteenpandas

Review – Pretty Little Liars – Salt Meets Wound (S01Ep12)

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I wanted carbs but instead find mum's whoring money.

This week:
Hanna is out of the hospital. Hanna discovers her mother is a bank robber. Mona throws a party. Ezra gets blackmailed by Noel. Aria continues to be stupid.  Maya meets Emily’s family. -A. finds the $$$.

Pluses:
Ezra finally waking up and smelling the coffee (I still want him gone though).
Emily’s dad.

Minuses:
How Emily’s mum deals with her daughter’s sexuality.
The amount of lying that goes on in this show.
Mum’s a criminal? Ok – moving on.
Hanna’s mother’s explanation.
Why would you hide thousands of dollars in lasagne? Surely they have a house safe.

This was a terrible episode on every level. It is the same old same old every week. -A. sees something. -A. impacts their lives and the girls thinks everyone is -A. #yawn What is happening with Aria’s parents? Hasn’t her dad noticed her staying out late all the time?

#oneovermadeuppanda

Review – Pretty Little Liars (S01Ep11) – Moments Later – Mid-Season Return

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Hi, My name is Ezra and I am a ephebophile, but this show says it is OK because we "love" each other.

Synopsis:
At the mid-season cliffhanger we had:
Hanna was hit by a car – driven by -A.
Erza and  Aria (teacher and student having an affair) are seen by someone in his car in a compromising position.
Hanna’s mother steals a bag full of cash from the bank where she works.
Emily and Spencer find a tree that suggests that Alison (the dead chick who was a real bitch) was involved with Ian (who was going out with Melissa but also cheating with Melissa’s sisters, the aforementioned Spencer).
Noel wants to go out with Aria.
Chris was arrested by the police after Emily told Spencer and Spencer told the police.
Emily is exploring her sexuality with Maya.

Are we all following?

This week:
Hanna lives (gasp what a surprise) but has made an incorrect assumption about -A (again). The friends find out that Aria is hot for teacher. Hanna breaks Justin’s (?) heart in a bitchy manner. Spencer get s a surpise. Aria lies to Ezra (the ephebophile teacher) to keep the relationship going. A tree goes missing. Fall out from Emily’s sexuality.

Pluses:
Alison in the hospital as a candy-striper. (I have read the books now and this scene is big moment in the scheme of things! I won’t say more).
Nice misdirection on -A.
The scene with Emily’s parentals discussing her sexuality.
The clue how that together, the four girls know what happened to Alison.
The look on Noel’s face when he finds out his assumption was incorrect.

Minuses:
I have said it before and I will say it again, but all the women in this show make the most stupid decisions!
When the friends find out about Aria and Mr Fitz they don’t seem that concerned – Spencer even suggests it is “hot.” It is actually a crime.
The elopement.
How quick they swing from suspect to suspect for -A.

It has been a month since I watched the last episode, and I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Yes, to learn from their mistakes, the girls have to make them, but can we get a good choice every now and then, or even some recognition that they are learning? The entire “hot for teacher” arc was boring after 5 minutes, and now it is nothing more than annoying distraction – I wouldn’t want to be the actor for that role, as I think he will be looking for a new gig soon… I can only hope.

Interestingly, when I was checking out some torrents for this, there were lots of comments from Australians (I am assuming girls) asking if the torrent was legit and that they wouldn’t be looking if GO! wasn’t “fast tracking” the show 2.5 weeks after the air date in the US.

#twoandahalfoverstyledpandas

Review – Nikita – All the Way (mid-season finale)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Excuse me while I break out while chained to the ceiling. Thanks. Bubybe.

This week:
Alex takes the final step to becoming an Agent. Capture for Nikita is the only way out. Alex proves how far she is willing to go (All the Way). Flashbacks and home truths.

Pluses:
The suspense was pretty solid for most of this episode.
Good use of flashbacks to underline the themes.
Excellent acting.
Very strong development for all parties.
Michael protecting Alex.
Alex.

Minuses:
The breakout scene by Nikita was pretty lame.
Now I have seen Pretty LIttle Liars and re-watched Season 1 of Vampire Diaries it is hard to look at the Inquisitor the same way. (HA – I just looked up the actress and it turns out she isn’t in Pretty Little Liars but too much plastic surgery will make all 40+ B actresses look the same.

Now I can usually tell what is going to happen in Nikita – but it isn’t overplayed so I don’t mind. This time round I got caught completely by surprise. People’s choices and how those decisions played out took me off guard. I said a while back just how manipulative and “Division”ish Alex was becoming, and I understand why she did what she did, but I was expecting a “two birds with one stone” outcome. Kudos to the writers for that. I was also pleased we haven’t seen goody two-shoes CIA agent Ryan Fletcher again yet. Now that comms are down and Alex is live the whole series is going to change. I can’t wait – but am going to have to, as no Nikita till after Christmas.

#fourhotguntotingchickpandas

So Just Why Was Pretty Little Liars the #1 Tweeted Series for 2010?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Number 2???

Let’s be honest, there are better shows out there – True Blood, The Walking Dead, Mad Men etc and all except Mad Men made the Television Twitter Trend Top Ten for 2010, but just why did Pretty Little Liars come in at #2 over all the the highest rated series.

According to Mashable and Read Write Web, teens don’t tweet, however the demographic for this show is decidedly teen with over a million teen viewers watching our over made up band of “heroes,” with a total weekly audience of 2.5 million – the highest ratings ever for ABC Family – coming in a whopping 41% ahead of its competition in the same time slot. Also, there has only been ten episodes of the show, so it isn’t like this is a cumulative effect over 22 eps, as the back half of the series is to be shown in early 2011 with season two (already green lighted and shooting to commence in January 2011) to hit the screens as a late Summer (US) show. Shows that are much more reflective of a tweeting demographic didn’t get up there, plus hugely successful shows such as Glee (can’t stand it) and CSI (peoples still watch that?) that came in located in the lower half of the list. If my pre-Glee blocked stream was any indication of the volume of tweets that must be required to come in at #6, I dread to think how many more tweets about Pretty Little Liars actually racked up.

I talked about the first two episodes of Pretty Little Liars a couple of weeks back and have since watched the entire front half of season 1.

This show is much more teen, tween and family orientated that HellCats, yet here in Australia on GO! it is shown at 9.30pm, with HellCats at 7.30pm. Don’t get me started on GO!’s idea of programming times (remember Chuck?) but I don’t understand why a show that is much more family friendly than HellCats is on after Vampire Diaries, a show with very young adult and supernatural themes.

Love that they are done as dolls - posable yet empty.

In the States however, it was on at an age appropriate time and racking up the ratings and as such the tweets. However it isn’t just the television show. Pretty Little Liars is taken from the very successful tween novels by the same name. Out of curiosity I did buy the first book from iBooks and found it remarkably well written. None of this unnecessary fluff that filled out JK Rowling’s later books, but crisp, clear writing with drama, suspense and real character development. It is also written for the parents who are reading with this children, leading to discussions about age appropriate issues, to ensure that their young girls learn from the mistakes of the main characters and have a strong sense of self worth so they can make the right choices. However it does all this without being preachy and a little bit salacious (as much as it can be with teens).

There are some major differences in the show to the books, but over all it stays true to the themes, plot twists, suspense and character development of the books. In my first review, I said it was intriguingly engaging crap. And to be honest, that does still hold true, but I can certainly see its appeal of the family market. Some times though I want to shake the females in that show until they demonstrate some sense.

Every cliche is in this show. Every single one. From the student having a relationship with her teacher, to the fat girl now thin and popular, to the step siblings having a technically not incestuous relationship, sister in love with her sister’s boyfriend, and let’s not forget the divorce storyline and “sexual tension” between some of the parents. Add into this a mix of Gossip Girl style texts knowing all their deepest and darkest secrets and you can see why this show is so popular.

We are pretty, but also dirty and naughty.

But being popular isn’t enough. If Twitter is about sharing information in real time (which according to Read Write Web teens are not want to do) why is Pretty Little Liars Tweet Rating so high? Some of the tweets tell the answer as they are a direct reflection of not only the books but also the show’s style – cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. A lot of the tweets were watchers hypothesising on what they think might happen, given their knowledge of the books and what has happened in the show. There is also an awful lot of discussion about why characters made the choices they made – whether they agree with the decisions or not – and this reflects nicely back on the books – encouraging the readers to learn from the mistakes of the characters to make the right choices. And of course, there is a fair bit of discussion on what is being worn. Looking at the most recent few pages of search results it is filled with tweet after tweet of how they can’t wait for the show to return on Jan 3rd (US release). That is one loyal fan base.

So the buy in from those watching and therefore tweeting is higher than other shows. Anecdotally, if I love a show, I tweet I am watching it, jump on the occasional discussions regarding it on twitter but that is about it, and I certainly don’t keep mentioning the show in my tweets (I am just too verbose to fit it all in), however these tweeters do and the amount of retweets is just insane.

Finally, it should be noted that I don’t actually know anyone who watches Pretty Little Liars. According to gomiso, none of my friends watch it, and it has been very slow on the uptake with viewers who use gomiso with only 120 people following (compared to the 2k+ Fringe follwers). Also, from people who read my first review of Pretty Little Liars, a whopping 83% came from the US. Now I know my blog is read predominately by Americans and Europeans but even for HowManyPandas that was pretty full on – but then given the lack of suitable time slot for the show here in Australia it isn’t that much of a surprise that there is little to no interest here.

So if we all believe Twitter is the temperature gauge to what is “so hot right now” to quote Mugatu, we should all be turning on Justin Bieber and watching Pretty Little Liars. For a deomographic that doesn’t tweet, they sure have an impact on trends.

PS. Anyone know where I can find top trends in Australia for 2010? Will even accept LMGTFY.com responses.

PPS. The Last Airbender came in at #6 on the top ten tweeted movies – I bet 99% of those tweets were about how bad this movie actually was.

Review – Pretty Little Liars – 1st two eps

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Not overstyled for a day at school at all, no sir.

Review encompassing the Pilot and The Jenna Thing One of the first things that comes to mind when trying to explain this show is that it is a combination of Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives (I have never watched a whole ep of DH so I am surmising here) for a teen market.

There is an underlying sexy feel. The promos and in some ways the credits set the scene for a show that overly sexy and therefore wholly inappropriate on one level as some of the characters are underage and on the other hand intrinsic to the show’s success.  It sees beautiful main characters discovering who they are, coming to terms with that they have done, making bad choices (and I am assuming the fall out of said choices) as well as dealing with the death of their friend (who, from what I have seen of her, was a manipulative bitch).

Pluses:
Watching beautiful people with overdone makeup and styling deal with unrealistic problems (it is funny – so positive though on a serious level it should be a negative).

Minuses:
So far all but two of the male characters have acted disgracefully towards women – not a good message we are sending to our audience.
The glaring hypocrisies.
The overdone characters (I had a blind friend and she didn’t bash the floor loudly every second with her stick).
Obvious plot choices.
No originality.
Since when are you allowed to have your phone on in a class let alone not on silent.

For all those negatives, it was kind of enjoyable to watch. It isn’t Vampire Diaries enjoyable, and it isn’t Gossip Girl annoyingly unrealistic – it is kind of in the middle. So even though I thought it was pretty crap, it was intriguingly enjoyable crap.

I want to see the English teacher get done for sleeping with a student and sent to jail. I want the girls to realise their best friend was a complete bitch. I want the women in the show to stand up and say – I won’t disrespect myself or my gender anymore. I want the women to say to the men – stop being total dicks and I no longer respect you vs you are sexy and I can’t help myself or I am too in love to know better.

I am not sure how long this interest will last – I have 8 eps to buy yet – so we will see how my interest wanes or grows – if it wanes out of existence I might just wait for the eps to continue to spool through on GO!

In an aside, it also seems that only ppl with awesome bone structures and pouty lips settled in the town of Rosewood – as I am yet to see an unattractive person, even in the background.

PS. GO! Twitter team – your twitter promo was stupid. ‘nuff said


#twoandahalfpandas