An introduction to ‘Pretty Little Liars’


By Sonia Panesar, Contributor

I’m sure that quite a few of us watch ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, currently filming its fourth season. But for those who aren’t familiar, I think it’s about time those folks learn what they’re missing out on. Pretty Little Liars is based on the popular series of young adult novels by Sara Shepard, although the TV adaptation has strayed quite a bit from the original books.

Both the novels and the show unravel the events of one summer when a group of friends—Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell)—find one of their “best friends,” Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), murdered. After Alison’s death, these four girls start receiving anonymous messages from the unknown “A.” A knows all of the girls’ deepest, darkest secrets, and uses these secrets to threaten and manipulate the girls. Strangely, A knows all the secrets that they told Alison. The four girls then set out to discover who this A really is.

Throughout the series, things like additional deaths, betrayal, and revenge keep the plot flowing. Season one is the beginning of a roller coaster ride of drama, with the key still being trying to find out who A.

Let me step back a minute and further explain these individual characters. Aria Montgomery is a very subtle girl with a unique sense of style, who previously moved to the show’s setting (the fictional Rosewood, Pennsylvania) from Iceland with her family. Spencer Hastings is the genius and a jack of all trades, although her relationship with her sister Melissa does get messy. Hanna Marin is the dumb blonde, but with a great heart, previously suffering from bulimia. Finally, Emily Fields finds herself in one of the more complicated situations out of these characters, as she is a closeted lesbian—and A knows this.

While a good murder mystery is always fun and exciting, that’s not all the show offers. Pretty Little Liars tackles a lot of touchy subjects, like body image problems and closest homosexuality. All of these are subjects not just handled for the audience, but they’re also handled on a channel one would least suspect. If nothing else, it shows that even a major company like ABC (owned by Disney) wants to try to get teen audiences to better understand these issues.

Season three of Pretty Little Liars ended last Tuesday, so until season four rolls around in June, take some time to catch up on the re-runs. Pretty Little Liars is one of my favourite shows, for its drama and its melodrama, and hopefully I’ve convinced some of you to give it a chance now.